Hawaiian Wedding Traditions

By on November 2, 2012

Many couples who marry in Hawaii choose to incorporate elements of traditional Hawaiian weddings into their special day. Most couples in Hawaii get married on a beach or in a tropical garden, where the scenery is simply stunning.

Hawaiian Wedding Traditions
The groom’s traditional Hawaiian wedding leis feature green maile leaves.

Traditional Hawaiian wedding leis

The bride and groom will often wear traditional Hawaiian wedding leis around their necks during the ceremony. Leis are a symbol of Aloha spirit, representing both love and respect. It is common for a traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony to begin with the bride and groom exchanging their Lei garlands. The groom usually wears a garland of green leaves, whereas the bride will wear several strands of pink and white Pikake flowers. During the ceremony the couple’s hands will be bound together with Lei to represent their marital bond.

Traditional Hawaiian wedding attire

It is a Hawaiian wedding tradition for brides to wear long flowing white dresses to the ceremony. They may also choose to wear a headdress made of flowers to match their garland. Grooms tend to wear white flowing shirts, matching trousers and a bright coloured sash around their waist.

Hawaiian wedding ceremony traditions

There are many Hawaiian wedding traditions which are incorporated into ceremonies today. The Koa wood and Ti leaf ring blessing is an important ritual to traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremonies. The Koa is a treasured hardwood which represents integrity and strength, two qualities which are valued as important in a marriage. The Ti leaf symbolises prosperity, health and the blessing of mind, body and spirit. The officiator of the ceremony will bless the wedding rings by dipping the wood and leaf into a bowl of water and sprinkling it over the rings whilst reciting a chant which translates to ‘may peace from above rest upon you and remain with you now and forever.’

Another Hawaiian wedding tradition is the lava rock ceremony. Lava rock symbolises the moment the bride and groom made their commitment to each other. It is wrapped in a Ti leaf and left at the site of the wedding ceremony.

Other Hawaiian wedding traditions

Music plays an important role in Hawaiian wedding traditions. Romantic music is usually played on a slack key guitar or ukulele, which are both traditional Hawaiian instruments. Some couples choose to incorporate the traditional Hawaiian wedding song into their ceremony, which was made famous by Elvis Presley in the film Blue Hawaii.

Traditional Hawaiian wedding receptions include a huge feast for the guests to enjoy. Dishes include Poi, a paste is made from pounded taro root, Poke, a diced raw fish flavoured with seaweed and Kulolo which is a coconut based pudding.

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