Whether you grew up in Hawaii surrounded by these magical fruits or you fell in love with coconut water just a few years ago, it’s clear that the recent coconut craze isn’t just a phase. They’ve always been a tasty addition to any treat, but lately coconuts have been popping up in everything from skincare products to jewelry to beer. No matter if your celebration is in a tropical paradise or a wintry wonderland; adding coconut accents to your special day is easier than you might think!
Most of us know coconuts to be in their ripest form with a husky brown shell. One of the benefits of planning a coconut-themed party is you can balance your wedding colors with shades of brown. Pinks, blues, and greens offer a particularly tropical feel.
To deliver that beachy feel without stepping into tacky territory, consider using coconuts themselves in only one or two aspects of your decor—but be sure to draw attention where you do use them.
Hollowed-out coconut shells are a versatile secret weapon for the DIY wedding decorator. If you’re lucky enough to pick them up at your grocery store or a neighbor’s nearby plantation, you should have no trouble finding and following a few brief steps online to get them ready for presentation. If you’re nowhere near fresh coconuts or simply strapped for time, you can buy shells in bulk on the Internet, freshly hollowed and ready to be decorated.
Coconut shells are the perfect size—big enough to demand attention as a centerpiece, but small enough to allow plenty of room for plates. Put one single candle in each shell and hold it in place with a tropical assortment of seashells and sand, or make your own candles inside the shell itself. (Tropical tip: place mini seashells—carefully—inside your fresh candle before the wax fully hardens.) For a more Hawaiian feel, add a few flowers in or around your centerpiece, such as some yellow hibiscuses or fresh orchids.
With a bit of fishing line, you can hang half or whole shells from the ceiling or along the walls of your venue. If you plan on hanging pictures around your venue, paint a coconut shell to go with each photo, stating the date and location of each happy moment. (Not all venues allow hanging or posting inside, so it’s important to check with your venue before you pull out those paints!)
Dressing up your reception is one thing, but don’t forget about the ceremony itself. Have the flower girl toss petals from an elegant coconut shell, decorated with bits of lace or pearls. Accent your bridesmaids with coconut jewelry, and if you’re feeling daring, talk to an alterations specialist about working the infamous coconut bra into your own dress. A beach bride might opt for the iconic bra with a wedding skirt, instead. For a subtler touch, explore the plethora of coconut belt buckles available and fasten one onto your gown or veil.
Believe it or not, coconuts are considered superfoods, rich in healthy saturated fats and near-full daily doses of essential nutrients. So don’t be afraid to go nuts with your menu!
Let’s face it: at a coconut-inspired affair, it should be illegal to leave the much-beloved coconut shrimp off your menu. This coconut classic works best as an appetizer, but you can trust no one will shun it alongside the main dish.
Talk to your caterer about their recommended coconut recipes. Whether you whip up a peanut-coconut satay or stick with coconut-encrusted tilapia, you can guarantee your guests won’t have had such a meal at any other wedding! Serve shredded coconut along with your salad (greens or fruit).
Why stop with the main course? The possibilities for a delectable coconut dessert are truly endless, as the sweet flavor pairs well with chocolate but also stands strong on its own. Have fun with the cake itself and don’t be afraid to try something new, such as a coconut pineapple cake. If you’d prefer to stick to classic chocolate or vanilla, ask your baker about whipping up coconut buttercream frosting for the perfect finishing touch. Close the door on tradition and opt for another classic in the form of a coconut cream pie (or two or three!).
If you’re forgoing the cake in favor of finger desserts, you have a cornucopia of coconut cookies and cupcakes to choose from. (Coconut macaroons have a particularly tasty track record). Have as much fun decorating these treats as you will eating them by tinting your shredded coconut. Simply mix your flakes with your preferred gel icing color and stir thoroughly. Test your method well before the big day though, so you can produce the perfect shade.
Keep your “Tiki Bar” stocked with coconut cocktails that will help your guests dance the night away. You can’t go wrong with tried-and-true Hawaiian classics like Mai Thais and piña coladas, and even supply Maui Brewing Co.’s Coconut Porter for the beer enthusiasts of the group. Let your imagination run wild and talk to your bartender about coconut-mango mojitos and coconut rum runners. Mix 2 parts Stoli O, 2 parts Malibu, and 1 part Midouri with a splash of milk and a splash of orange juice for a truly unforgettable Cocomo Martini. Swap sugar for coconut flakes and rim each glass with a sweet surprise.
Offer a surefire crowd-pleaser, coconut water, as a refresher, and win your guests over by serving each drink in a customized coconut cup (which doubles as a stellar favor, as well).
Continue your coconut theme by sending your guests home with mini jars of cocoa butter or the versatile super ingredient coconut oil. Invite a few friends over and make your own coconut lip balm to leave a long-lasting taste on your guests’ lips.
It’s easy to overdo it with coconut inspiration, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, test a few ideas before you make your final decisions. Just make sure your guests don’t end up throwing coconuts at you as you exit the ceremony and your marriage will be off to a sweet start!
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.