Include these lovely romantic ideas from traditional Hawaiian weddings to add some exotic culture to your ceremony and reception. Anyone can incorporate these beautiful Hawaiian wedding ideas and customs, even if you're not getting married in this tropical paradise.
There's so much to say when it comes to Hawaiian wedding ideas and traditions, that this page contains quite a bit of information. In order for you to find what you may be looking for quickly, you can use the quick-jump links provided here:
|Tropical Wedding Invitations
Tropical Wedding Flowers
Hawaiian Wedding Theme Favors
Traditional Origami Cranes
Hawaiian Wedding Music
Wedding Luau Reception
It is customary for brides to be dressed in long, flowing white dresses (muumuus) and to wear leis for adornment. The word "lei" means wreath or garland. The flowers of the lei may be any color, but the most popular are pink and white. The most commonly used flowers are plumerias, 'ohi'a lehua, orchids, and pikake.
For the grooms, white shirts and white pants are customary, with a red sash tied around the waist. The groom wears a green maile lei around his neck.
See Ceremony Customs For Hawaiian Weddings for an explanation about the leis.
Include the romantic language of Hawaii in your tropical theme wedding invitations. Also use them on favor tags and include them in wedding toasts as well! Here are several Hawaiian words that are perfect for weddings:
It is customary to have 1001 origami (tsurus) cranes folded from metallic paper and made prior to the wedding, a tradition that began sometime during the 1960's in Hawaii.
Usually the cranes are professionally folded, mounted and framed to be displayed at the wedding reception and then the new home. It is said that the crane lives for 1,000 years and represents good luck, good fortune, longevity, happiness, fidelity and peace.
Let your guests have a try at folding their own good luck origami cranes. Have colored paper with instructions placed at each table setting. It should invoke some good humored conversations as each tries to get their crane put together. Plus it makes a lovely keepsake for your guests to take home after the reception.
Here's a video that teaches you how to fold a crane:
There are many beautiful traditions and customs involved in a Hawaiian wedding ceremony. From the exchanging of leis to the ring blessing ceremony, the enchanting rituals and the meanings behind them make an ever-lasting impression on your vows to one another.
Announce the start of your ceremony by having someone experienced in conch shell blowing, to blow the conch shell three times. This begins the wedding ceremony and invites the divine presence to witness your nuptials.
Traditional Hawaiian weddings include the exchanging of leis between the bride and the groom.
The lei is a symbol of love and respect, and the exchange between the marrying couple symbolizes the eternal commitment and devotion you are making to each other.
The groom's lei is a garland of green maille leaves, often with pikake (small white flowers) woven into it. Bride's usually wear one or more leis created with pink and white pikake flowers.
One more lei is used as well. During the ceremony, the Kahuna Pole (holy man), will bind your hands together with a maile lei.
Did you know...
Lei is a Hawaiian word for a garland or wreath. In Polynesian cultures, a lei is something that is created by someone and given to another as a sign of affection. The custom of giving and receiving leis began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries between the Hawaiian Islands and the United States as a symbol of affection when tourists were arriving or leaving.
Koa wood bowls are dipped into water and filled for the ring blessing ceremony. Koa wood is a treasured hardwood that represents integrity and strength in Hawaii. A Ti leaf (representing prosperity, health and blessings) is dipped into the koa bowl and then held over the wedding rings to drip water on them. This is done three times while the following blessing is recited:
"Ei-Ah Eha-No. Ka Malohina Oh-Na-Lani. Mea A-Ku A-Pau."
Translation: "May peace from above rest upon you and remain with you now and forever."
Additional Hawaiian wedding ideas may also include a lava rock ceremony. The lava rock signifies making a lifetime commitment to one another. In this simple, yet meaningful ceremony, a piece of lava rock is wrapped in a Ti leaf and is left at the ceremony site after the wedding. It remains there to mark the birth of your union together and is offered as a blessing to your marriage.
The music of the Hawaiian islands is very romantic. It is most often performed using a slack key guitar and/or ukuleles. The music and songs most often represent a story which is told through the graceful, flowing movements of hula dancers.
The "Hawaiian Wedding Song" sung by Elvis Presley in the movie "Blue Hawaii" has become so popular, that is it almost always sung at Hawaiian weddings (you can also choose to have the version sung by Andy Williams played instead).
Amazon is one of the best places to find (and sample) Hawaiian music and songs.
Ua ola ae nei loko i ko aloha.
Life is once more alive within me for love of you.
Akaaka loko i ka ike a ke aloha.
The secrets within me are seen through love.
O wau me oe kealoha a o oe kealoha me ia'u.
I am my beloveds' and my beloved is mine.
E hookumu maua ka home a puni maua ohana me ka
May we create a home that surrounds our family and friends with
pumehana a me ka oiloli kealoha. E hoomau maua kealoha.
warmth, laughter and love. May our love last forever.
Because of the rich diversity of cultures that have been introduced to Hawaii, this popular Filipino money dance has become a favorite, so be sure to include it during your reception. The idea behind it is simple - during the first dance of the bride and groom, guests will tuck money into the clothing of the couple in the hopes of having a dance with the bride and/or groom.
If your wedding will be held on one of the Hawaiian islands, then you may want to consider having your bouquets filled with the beautiful and exotic tropical flowers grown on Hawaii. It can actually be less expensive having your wedding bouquets and floral arrangements made right in Hawaii, rather than having "typical" wedding flowers shipped in.
Popular flowers that are used for tropical wedding bouquets are Anthuriums, Birds of Paradise, Dendrobium Orchids, Ginger, Heliconia Psittacorum, Hibiscus, Pikake, and Plumeria. Any of these will be gorgeous in floral arrangements.
Mahalo (muh-HAH-low): Tropical theme wedding favors area a lovely way to say "thank you" to your wedding guests.
100 Assorted Silk
12 Hibiscus Print Folding Fans
Palm Tree Cookie Cutter
A "Luau" means an elaborate tropical feast featuring traditional foods and entertainment of the island culture.
In a traditional Luau, whole pigs are roasted in a pit dug in the ground call an imu. The hole is lined with leaves such as banana leaves and a salted pig is placed inside then covered over with more leaves. Very hot rocks are added to the pit and everything is enclosed in burlap.
The pit is then filled in again with soil and the pig is left to cook for the entire day. When it's time for the luau to begin, the pig is dug up and served as a dish called "kalua pig". It is very, very delicious!
If you are having a buffet or cocktail reception, be sure to begin the evening by serving a Pupu platter. This is an assortment of small meat and seafood appetizers.
A good idea is to plan to serve a variety of Hawaiian cocktail choices at the bar too.
Whether you are having a sit-down meal or a buffet banquet, you'll definitely want to include Hawaiian and other such tropical dishes. The following is a list of the more popular dishes that you can pick from as you work out the menu for your tropical wedding theme feast.
The Best of Hawai'i Wedding Book: A Guide to Maui, Lanai, and Kauai - Top Locations, Services, and Resources for Your Destination Wedding
Hawaii Weddings Made Simple
Polynesian Pupu Platter
Island Fruit Salad
Portuguese Bean Soup
Main Entrees and Side Dishes
Creamy Portuguese Grits with Sautéed Shrimp
Tropical Wedding Theme Ideas