Most people love attending a good luau, but planning the party is usually another story! Thankfully, when I was given the task to plan a party for eighty LDS women celebrating the 175th birthday of Relief Society, I felt overwhelmed.
For more information about my beliefs go here. or to understand the purpose of Relief Society- head here.
Fortunately, I was given a group of ladies to work on this party with me all who are dedicated, hard working and creative. Together we decided on the Relief Society birthday party theme: “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside” and the luau idea was born. The next task felt more daunting- what can we do with eighty people and what should we feed them on a tight budget? With such a large event with many moving parts I split the committee in groups and assigned different aspects of the night into four. 1.) Food 2.) Decorations 3.) Entertainment and most importantly 4.) Spiritual Enrichment.
This party would not have happened without these ladies!
Jaclyn (second to right) and I (far right) were over the food, Alise (second from left) was over decorations, Jessica (far left) who is also our resident Polynesian, was over entertainment. And others in the committee submitted and helped with the spiritual enrichment.
Feeding 80 People:
Let’s talk food first- what do you feed a bunch of women who inevitably are on some type of diet or have food restrictions. And yet, easy enough food to make in a large quantity without taking the entire party budget. So, with our thinking caps on the committee decided on Hawaiian Haystacks, fruit, rolls and a light dessert.
Main dish: Hawaiian Haystacks. (Recipe below)
A delicious rice meal topped with some fruit, vegetables and chicken sauce that is a crowd pleaser for even the pickiest eater. Jessica, who is Polynesian- has never enjoyed a Hawaiian Haystack… figure that one out!
We also had a variety tray of fruit in season and a roll as a side dish.
It was not a surprise how quickly the fruit was devoured. It was delicious.
And for dessert- we had the cutest pineapples… I mean donuts for dessert. Yum!
Alise- from mellieandlou was in charge of the luau decorations and she hit this assignment out of the park! How can you turn a church gym with basketball hoops hanging down and random bulky cabinets into a topical paradise? With amazing decor! Ummm she did!
Complete with a Tikki bar,
adorable pineapples all over the place,
selfie stations and more.
Tragically, the pictures do not do the gym decor justice and these are just a sneak peak of the adorableness from that night– head to mellie and lou to hear how she accomplished this tropical paradise with a little to no budget here.
Jessica gathered multiple children from our neighborhood and taught them two different musical numbers. The boys performed the traditional war cry dance- or the Haka. All the boys were adorable but seeing their strong warrior faces- so cute!
The rest of the children performed a hula from the song, “Pearly Shells”. If you ask anyone what their favorite part of the night is, they would tell you in a heartbeat that they loved watching the children perform.
It is always fun to have the “night off” as a woman and then to have dinner you didn’t prepare and chat with other ladies… oh it’s a dream! However, when it comes to Relief Society activities the purpose is to: 1.) strengthen and form new relationships and 2.) to leave spiritually fed. We first, asked everyone who entered the gym to wear a name tag and select a flower. The colored flowered represented the colored table to sit at. This trick hopefully brought people together that wouldn’t normally sit together.
Secondly, we had a guest speaker. She gave us her thoughts as a woman working in the women’s prison and choosing to– “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside”. Her thoughts were beautiful as she stressed to us to remember who we are- as Daughters of God and that no one can take that birthright away from you, even in a prison. That each day we have the choice to choose how we will react and respond to circumstances in our life. We need to choose to “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside”. She did a wonderful job.
Overall, our Luau party was a great evening. Delicious food, great company, adorable performances and hopefully the ladies left the luau feeling uplifted and inspired. Calling it a good night!
Happy party planning,