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Timeless Hawaii Wedding Customs and Traditions

With perfect year-round weather, gorgeous tropical paradise surroundings, and an air of romance, Hawaii is the perfect location for a tropical beach wedding. With its unique historical heritage, there are many ways to incorporate the beauty and culture of Hawaii into your special day. While you can always have a traditional ceremony in a church or on the beach, many couples also choose to use different beautiful, moving Hawaiian traditions.

Circle of Love

If you are planning a Hawaii wedding on one of the beautiful beaches, then consider incorporating a Hawaiian love circle into your ceremony. A circle of flowers surrounds the bride and groom, as they stand together in the center during the ceremony. This is a great way to incorporate the colorful floral and fauna of the tropical landscape surrounding you – and it also symbolizes the eternity of your love. Many wedding designers can help you choose beautiful tropical flowers that match the colors you have chosen for your wedding in Hawaii and your Hawaiian beach wedding dress. Yellows, oranges, and reds are particularly popular with most couples – and they look beautiful in the photographs.

Poured Sands

The traditional sand ceremony is a beautiful way of symbolizing the love that you share during your Hawaiian wedding ceremony. The bride and groom pour multi-colored sand (one color for the bride, and another for the groom) into a decorative bottle. While doing so, they may recite the poem:

“Inseparable we are like the grains of sand united now. The individual is emptied into the sea of love and no longer be separate but will be forever and always entwined as one.”

Just like the sands that are poured into the bottle cannot be separated back into their individual starting containers, neither the bride nor the groom can be separated in their love. Some couples will also choose to add in some of the sand from the beach where they were married as a memorable way to capture the special occasion.

Light of Love

Some couples like to follow the traditional ceremony of lighting a candle together just before they have been pronounced husband and wife. However, the tropical breezes and location of a Hawaii wedding present somewhat of a challenge to this custom. Instead, you and your loved one could consider lighting Hawaiian tiki torches during your ceremony for a similar effect. This creates a dramatic effect if you are planning a sunset wedding on the beach, and it has been incorporated in Hawaii weddings for centuries.

Magical Music

Music is a central part of any wedding. Traditional Hawaiian music can be worked into any wedding ceremony, and many musicians are versed in playing both Hawaiian and conventional wedding music. Some couples choose to have their Hawaii wedding ceremony accompanied by ukulele, steel drums, and hula dancers. The harp is another popular choice, which sounds beautiful against the crash of the waves and song of the birds.

Often Hawaiian music can be a beautiful accompaniment to your first wedding dance. What could be more romantic than dancing on the edge of the ocean in the warm sand, arms entwined around your loved one, with soft tropical music playing in the background?

Fragrant Flowers

Hawaii is rich with tropical flowers, and from your arrival on the islands, you are sure to see them everywhere – from the leis that they give you upon arrival at the airport to the beautiful flora and fauna growing abundantly throughout the island.

A Hawaiian flower lei is a traditional way of showing your love, and it is often given away during traditional Hawaiian weddings. The lei can be used to show respect and gratitude for both families. The bride will give a lei to her future mother and father-in-law, while the groom will do the same for the bride’s family. This is a way of symbolizing the gratitude that the couple feels for the care and love the parents showed when raising their future spouse.

In addition, during a Hawaii wedding, the bride and groom can also give leis to each other. As a tradition practiced by the royalty for hundreds of years in Hawaii, giving each other leis symbolizes your love and commitment. In addition, the leis look gorgeous with any Hawaiian style wedding dress.

Pikake flowers, which have a beautiful smell and resemble pearls, are often used for the bride’s lei. Ilima, orchids, and rosebuds can also be used. The groom will often use green maile leaves in his lei, a Hawaiian symbol of royalty. Often, the mothers will receive ginger leis and the fathers will receive green tea leaf leis, though wedding designers can design leis to match the colors of your wedding party. Any of the leis can be interwoven with other flowers to add your own colors or symbolism to the wedding.

Blowing the Conch

Another beautiful Hawaii wedding ceremony is blowing the conch. This large shell can be a foot long, and in Hawaiian is known as “Pu.” It has been used traditionally as a way to announce royalty or the beginning of important events. It is blown into like a trumpet, and when done properly, the beautiful sound can be heard for miles away. Traditionally, the conch is blown to the East, then to the North, then to the West, and lastly to the South. It can announce the start of your Hawaii wedding, the entrance of the bride, or other important parts of your ceremony.