Making real flower leis for your luau outside of Hawaii and California

Orchid LeiI sometimes hesitate to give out my “secrets.” I am working on a luau in our newly planted tropical garden and coming up with “extra special touches” to make it memorable. In an effort to make every luau better, I will share one of my ideas.

I love real flower leis and I hate those itchy plastic things you get put on you at most luau type parties. So I started looking into getting flower leis for the guests. I found I could order fresh orchids from Hawaii and make my own. At a cost of $8 each, it was reasonable for the 10 I could make with the kit, but when you have 30 guests… I just wasn’t ready to spend $240 on leis when I could spend $240 on rum instead.

I have a vintage luau party book that tells how to make leis and it lists good flowers to use besides Plumeria and Orchids. Flowers you can get most anywhere. Flowers that won’t bleed into your clothes and last longer than those tropical varieties. The list is: carnations, stocks, jasmine, pinks, chrysanthemums, asters, pom pom dahlias, daisies, cornflowers and marguerites. I don’t know all these, but a florist does. Hmmm. Next problem. How do I get a lot of flowers cheap without being a florist?

The answer is Quality Wholesale Florists on Central near the Old City. I have not been down there yet, but I am assured I can get piles of flowers cheap.

Then just get some string and a long needle and 50-60 flowers per lei. I was told dental floss works well sue to it’s slippery texture.

When finished, put the lei in a zip lock bag with a spritz of water and blow up the bag and seal. Put it in the fridge and it’ll last nearly a week.

So spruce up your next tropical party with a little effort and expense and do it right. See more advice on Tiki Central

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