How to Plan An Elegant Tropical Themed Wedding Shower in 2021

When my lovely sister-in-law Kathleen asked me to be her maid of honor, I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate her. Because she was planning a small destination wedding in Hawaii, I decided to throw her a intimate tropical themed Wedding Shower in my Mother-in-law’s backyard.

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I’ve always enjoyed Wedding Showers. In the midst of all of the stressful wedding planning, it’s nice to stop and celebrate the people getting married. It’s a great reminder of the special love the engaged couple shares, and can be one of the most fun wedding events!

Here are all of my tips for throwing an elegant Tropical Themed Wedding Shower.

Tropical red, green and orange bouquet of flowers in a pineapple vase.

How to Plan an Elegant Tropical Wedding Shower

Decide on Venue and Guest List

The first step to throwing an elegant tropical themed wedding shower is to decide on the basics. You’ll want to coordinate with the guest-of-honor (or guests-of-honor if it is a joint shower) about the who, the where and the when.

Details to nail down are:

  1. The shower date
  2. The best time to start the party
  3. The venue
  4. The guest list

My sister-in-law requested a more intimate party with around 12 of her closest friends and relatives, so we decided to host her shower it my in-law’s backyard in San Francisco.

Depending on the number of guests you’ll invite you might want to also consider venues like a local restaurant, a club house or a winery.

Decorated table for wedding shower with tropical flowers, bamboo plates and pink cookies

Wedding Shower Invitations

After you decided when and where your event will be, and go over the guest list with the person of honor, the next step in the planning process is to send out invitations to the shower guests.

I like to use Greenvelope.com for digital invitations. They are elegant, classic and fully customizable. Unlike paper invitations, they save time and trees! You can browse all of their Wedding/ Bridal Shower invitations for a theme that best suits your aesthetic. For Kathleen’s shower I used this one:

Tropical Bridal Shower invitation with green palm leaves printed on it

Don’t forget to include the engaged couple’s registry information in the invitation!

Custom Party Favors

Because we had a small number of guests invited I had room in the budget for personal touches. I decided to order custom drinking glasses from my favorite one-woman boutique shop Kind Chaos Designs.

Custom Wedding Shower glass with hibiscus etched into it

What I like about having drinking glasses as party favors is that they double as glassware for the party. Guests can use their glass while they enjoy a party beverage, then take them home with them afterwards as a keepsake.

Jill at Kind Chaos had the good idea of ordering boxes to pack the glasses in for the guests to take home at the end of the event. I ordered these boxes from amazon.

Flowers + Centerpieces

The morning of the event I visited San Francisco Flower Mart to pick up some wholesale fresh flowers. If you live in the city, or near a city that has wholesale flower marts, this is the way to go. The quality of the flowers, the many flower options and the price will have you dancing with joy!

I was able to find tropical flowers like Birds of Paradise, Heliconia, Anthurium, Orchids and Red Ginger Flower. I also found some beautiful orange dahlias and palm fronds that I worked in to the flower arrangements.

Hawaiian flowers in a pineapple base

After I picked up my incredible flowers, I went home and hollowed out fresh pineapples to use as vases.

Tablescape and Decor

Since the shower I threw had 12 guests we decided to do one big table that would seat everyone. We ordered a table and chairs from Abbey Rents SF.

Abbey Rents SF party table and 12 chairs
Before
Tropical Theme Wedding Shower table
After

My Mom had a set of six white linen table clothes that she let me borrow for this event. I used two for the large main table and set up two smaller tables for food and drinks.

In addition to the pineapple flower centerpieces, I used palm fronds as table runners down the middle, and laid orchids along the palm fronds.

I then set the table for 12, with palm compostable plates and fancy pineapple cocktail napkins. I also put artificial plumeria hair clips along the table for guests to use and take home if they liked.

tropical wedding shower table decorations with pink tropical cookies, bamboo plates and cocktail napkins with pineapples on them

Food

The time of the party should dictate the type of food served. There are lots of different food options, but as a general rule of thumb, based on the hour the party starts, guests will expect to be served:

  • 9am- 12pm: Breakfast or Brunch Food
  • 12pm- 2pm: Lunch Food
  • 2pm- 5pm: Tea or Heavy Appetizer Food/ Finger Foods
  • 5pm on: Dinner Food

Kathleen’s shower started at 3pm, so I opted for an appetizer and desserts menu. Here are the menu items we served:

  • Chicken and Swiss Pinwheel Sandwiches from Costco
  • Veggie Platter
  • Hawaiian Maui Onion Kettle Cooked Chips
  • Fruit Platter
  • Deviled Eggs
  • An assortment of small desserts from Noe Valley Bakery
  • Jordan Almonds for the table

I also ordered personalized cookies from Flood and Frost Bakery in Half Moon Bay. They were an incredible personal touch and served as a dessert, a decoration and another party favor for the guests!

personalized cookies that read "Kathleen's getting Maui'd" with painted hibiscus and sparkles

Drinks

To go with the tropical menu I made a Sparkling Passion Fruit Iced Tea with equal parts Tazo Iced Passion Tea and Club Soda (and optional sugar sweeteners on the side.)

drink station with white tablecloth and iced tea dispenser

Music

Music sets the tone and helps create atmosphere. For our tropical themed wedding shower, I used the Amazon Prime Music app on my phone (connected to a small bluetooth speaker.) The Prime music app plays continuously without ads, and it lets you skip as many times as you want. I played the Hawaiian Spa Music Relaxation Meditation Ukulele Relaxation Music with Nature Sounds album in the background of the party.

Games

Typically Wedding Showers include two-to-three games to keep things fun and interesting.

It’s important to keep the guest of honor in mind when planning games. Everyone invited might not know each other, but they all know the person who’s getting married! Keeping the games centered on the happy couple will make everything more enjoyable.

Since we were throwing Kathleen a more traditional shower, I ordered a game pack.

Wedding Shower FAQS

What do you do at a Wedding Shower?

Traditionally the guest-of-honor opens bridal shower gifts in front of their close relatives and friends. It is a fun Wedding event to have before the big day. Usually the guests will play games and enjoy food and beverages.

When should you have a Wedding Shower?

Wedding Showers are usually held one to two months before the big day.

What’s the difference between a Bridal Shower and a Bachelorette Party?

According to proper etiquette, a bridal or wedding shower is a party before the wedding where the guest of honor is “showered” with presents and is celebrated. A Bachelorette Party is a smaller gathering typically including the Bride’s wedding party and closest friends. It usually involves a fun night out.

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