If you are looking to have or includes parts of an authentic traditional Hawaii wedding ceremony, there is one important thing you should know… traditional Hawaii weddings don’t really exist. That’s because the original Hawaiians didn’t even have a written language and mostly we don’t know much about the customs of their Hawaii weddings. In fact, many researchers believe that Hawaiians didn’t have marriages at all, at least in the formal, literal sense, therefore there may be no real traditional Hawaii weddings. However, over the last few centuries, some wedding traditions have developed and there are a myriad of reasons why you might want to have a “traditional Hawaiian wedding” or at least to incorporate some of the traditions into your own ceremony. And you can do that no matter where your wedding takes place! A central principle of the Hawaiian culture is the concept of the Aloha Spirit, which you can think of as a real commitment to treat others, and yourself, with respect, kindness, and love.
I can think of no better way to start a marriage than with that!
What I have below is a helpful guide to some of what I’ll call traditional Hawaiian wedding customs and you will find that they can give special meaning and originality to your wedding ceremony, check them out for yourself. The first thing people notice when arriving at a Hawaiian wedding is the sounds of ukulele and slack key guitar music. Hawaiians have a very long tradition of using their unique music, song and dance to pass down their culture, history. stories, and even their lineage from generation to generation. The song Ke Kali Nei Au, written by Charles King, is most often played during the ceremony, particularly since Elvis Presley sang it in Blue Hawaii.You can play it during your ceremony or it would be a perfect song as your first dance at the reception. Here is a video of Charles King singing this beautiful Hawaiian Wedding Song The Wedding Lei. I know it’s needless to say, but flowers play an important and traditional part in any Hawaiian wedding.
The lei is worn by both the bride and the groom as well as by the other members of the wedding party; usually the groom gets a maile lei or maile-style ti leaf lei and the bride gets a pikake lei. In fact, there is usually an exchange of leis by the bride and groom to begin the wedding ceremony; such a nice tradition and way to start a wedding. The Kahuna pule or holy man binds the hands of the couple with the maile lei in a very traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony to represents the eternal commitment and devotion to each other; in fact, this is similar to the meaning of a wedding ring in other cultures. It’s also common for the bride and groom will present their mothers with a lei at the end of the ceremony. Wedding Attire. The bride’s wedding dress is usually a long white flowing dress and while it’s sort of like a mu-mu but it’s really quite elegant and Hawaiian.More recently, bride’s are adding splashes of color to the white dress, usually colorful tropical flower prints or other tropical motifs. In addition, she will wear a haku lei which is a ring of fragrant Hawaiian flowers around her head. According to Wikipedia, a haku lei is three-ply braid made using a base material, like softened tree bark or long leaves, and braiding it into the the bride’s hair (along with flowers.) Sometimes bride’s wear kimonos at her wedding due to Asian cultural influences in the Hawaiian islands. The groom usually also wears white — mostly a loose fitting white shirt with white slacks and a brightly colored sash, the sash is usually red — although it’s becoming increasingly common for the groom (and maybe the groomsmen) to wear brightly colored “aloha shirts” and light colored pants.
A pu (or conch shell), used to announce the wedding ceremony. Blowing the PU
The Pu, or conch shell, is used to announce the wedding. It makes a lovely sort of hollow sound and a Pu blower can truly be heard miles away.
Ti Leaf and Lava Rock Ceremony
Another very beautiful and significant part of the traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony is using the lava rock, to symbolize the moment you made a lifetime commitment, and a Ti leaf wrapped around it to commemorate the union with a blessing for the marriage to remain solid and long-lived.
Hawaiian Wedding Ring Ceremony
The Koa bowl and Ti leaf ring blessing is native to the Big Island of Hawaii and is beautiful, simple and has a lovely meaning.To start the ceremony the officiant begins by dipping a Koa wood bowl, signifying integrity and strength, into water; the Pacific Ocean in a Hawaiian beach wedding. A leaf, signifying prosperity and health, is then dipped into the bowl and then the water on the leaf is sprinkled or dripped three times over the rings while the following chant is recited: “Ei-Ah Eha-No. Ka Malohia Oh-Na-Lani. Mea A-Ku A-Pau”This translates into “May peace from above rest upon you and remain with you now and forever.”
A Laulau Wedding Plate. Traditionally, Hawaiian weddings have included a feast of wonderful food to help celebrate the newlywed’s special day.
Here are some of the most popular Hawaiian wedding foods:
Poi is a paste made from pounded taro roots and is always served at the feast. Laulau is also included and this is meats, fish and chicken wrapped in Ti leaves. The Kalua is the whole pig that’s been roasted for many hours. Poke is diced raw fish, vegetables and seaweed as a salad served as an appetizer. Kulolo is a coconut pudding with taro flavoring and brown sugar. Tako (octopus) poke with tomatoes, green onion, Maui onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, and chili pepper… YUM!!! In addition, today’s newlyweds and their guests also can enjoy broader cuisine from the Polynesian, Japanese, and Thai influences in a dish such as seared tuna crusted in sesame with fresh guava, papaya and pineapple sauces. These are a few of the wonderful Hawaiian Wedding Traditions that will make the ceremony and day romantic and wonderful for you and your guests, use one or all of them as fits your perfect wedding. I would love to hear from you about your special and romantic Hawaiian wedding traditions, please share them in comments section below.