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Hawaiian Wedding
How to Tie the Knot the
Hawaiian Way
If you want a Hawaiian
wedding, you’re probably
green with envy over those
lucky pacific-islanders
enjoying the splash of blue
waves while sipping
coconut juice at hand
readily awaiting for that
day. But don’t forlorn, your
dream wedding can still
come true. You can have
your Hawaiian wedding
without having to spend a
fortune by literally
exchanging your vows there.
Hawaiian weddings are laden with traditions showing respect for the family, ancestors
and culture. Following these customs is believed to ensure luck, prosperity and
happiness for the bridal couple. Here are the steps to make one memorable Hawaiian
wedding to last you a lifetime.
STEP 1: Make room for some variation. Most Hawaiian weddings include a variety of
Christian and Protestant traditions in the ceremony. Also plan to include in the
ceremony a mix of Hawaiian and English customs. Allowing variation adds interest and
color to the event.
STEP 2: Choose an appropriate attire for the bride. The bride should wear a long,
usually white or depending on the motiff, and formal dress called a 'holoku.' In place of
a veil, a garland of flowers known as 'haku lei’ hangs around her head. Her bouquet
can either be of orchids or of wild lilies.
STEP 3: Select an appropriate attire for the groom. For the groom, choose a white
shirt with long sleeves paired with white pants. Wrap his waist with a long sash which
is typically red but may also follow the motiff of the wedding.
STEP 4: Purchase garlands Be sure that you both have maile leis or garlands that are
made using sweet smelling green leaves hanging around your neck. This is a symbol
for "aloha" and how the early settlrs of Hawaii communicated with their environment.
STEP 5: Adorn the garlands. For the lei of the bride, it should be woven with white jasmine or pikake. Meanwhile,
the groom's lei should be adorned with ilima. An ilima is a flower that has very thin and brightly colored petals.
STEP 6: Order garlands for family members. Aside from ordering for yourselves, do also provide beautiful leis for
the soon mothers-in-law. It is highly recommendable to order three-stranded pikake.
STEP 7: Have a conch ready and designate someone to blow the shell. It is a unique Hawaiian tradition to hear
the sound of a conch for three times before the start of the ceremony. This signifies that the Lord is present in the
ceremony.
STEP 8: Mix customs and traditions of different cultures in the wedding. Since Hawaii is a melting pot for various
cultures. Try to incorporate Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino wedding traditions that reflect the rich diverse cultures
found in Hawaii. For example, you may encourage some guests to wear the kimono of the Japanese or have
japanese inspired wedding tables at the reception. You may also consider adding fireworks after the ceremony
which is believed by the Chinese to drive out bad spirits and invite good luck and fortune.
STEP 9: Do the Pandango. Although not originally part of the Hawaiian heritage Pandango is a Filipino custom
often present in at most Hawaiian weddings. The plan is to have money pinned on the clothes of the newly weds
While the bride and groom are enjoying their first dance. Sponsors and other guests tape and wrap money around
the bride and groom as long as the music is playing. The couple keeps dancing until all their guests had a made
their wishes of good tidings for the couple.
STEP 10: Make origami. Borrowing another custom from another culture, prepare one thousand and one origami
cranes made out of foil before the wedding. The long life span of a crane symbolizes happiness, good fortune,
good luck, longevity, peace and faithfulness within the marriage.
STEP 11: Do not forget to order your wedding cake. Instead of using a regular flour, the main ingredient used
should be wheat flour. The wheat represents the beginning of the couples' married life.
STEP 12: The couple should cut together the first slice of the cake. Cutting the cake together shows the
commitment of each other to partake in whatever road and in whatever challenges their marriage takes them. Then
the couple gives each other a bite of cake to show that they will continue love and honor each other.
Here are other tips to make your Hawaiian wedding memorable.
• Although it may seem funny and to some sweet, mashing the cake on your partner’s face is generally considered
distasteful.
• To have a spectacular effect, hire a professional to frame and mount the cranes for guest to have something to
admire.
• Consider serving, tropical fruits for desert and include seafood in the menu.
• Arrange for a band or a collection of instrumental Hawaiian music.
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