Wed Like a Local: Embracing Hawaii Wedding Traditions

Bride and Groom on Maui | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii

There are many reasons to choose Hawaii as your destination wedding location. The beautiful white sand beaches and the lush green foliage create an unforgettable backdrop for an outdoor wedding. Furthermore, Hawaii has a vivid history, influenced by Polynesian, Asian, and Western cultures. Incorporating Hawaiian traditions into your wedding pays homage to this beautiful place and by doing so, we can also create a unique experience for you and your guests. Whether it's the gentle melodies of a ukulele or the colorful lei, here's a list of traditional elements to consider for your Hawaiian wedding ceremony.

Traditional Hawaiian Wedding

Flower Lei ceremony | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii

Flower Lei

When thinking of Hawaii, one of the first things most people will think of will be the lei. The flower garland worn by ancient Polynesians has nowadays become the symbol of Hawaii. Receiving a lei symbolizes friendship, kindness, honor, peace, and love. What could be better at a wedding? Usually, the groom will wear a lei made of maile leaves around his neck and the bride will wear a haku lei resembling a flower crown around her head. Tuberose, plumeria or pikake flowers are common in haku lei. You could also greet your guests upon arrival by giving out these traditional garlands. There are various options available. Having years of experience as Maui destination wedding planners, we can suggest the best option that fits both your wedding style and personality.

Blowing of the Pu | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii

Blowing of the Pū

All island cultures draw inspiration from the surroundings and that can be seen in their traditions.  Water influence is present and felt throughout Hawaii. A very sacred ceremonial tradition is blowing of the Pū, which is the Hawaiian name for conch shell. Traditionally, blowing of the Pū marks the beginning of a ceremony. The hollow sound stretches far and wide, and the Pū usually gets blown in all four cardinal directions. What better way to let the world know of your special day!

Ukulele wedding music | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii


Music adds a deeply personal touch to any wedding. The songs chosen will often stay with you and your guests long after. Musical instruments that are native to Hawaii like slack-key guitars and ukuleles are a popular addition to Hawaiian weddings and not without a good reason. Whether it's a rendition of a well-known song or a traditional melody, you cannot help but think of romantic vibes when hearing these soft sounds. Traditional Hawaiian music will create the perfect ambience to celebrate your special day, both at the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception.

Hula wedding dance | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii


If you have traditional Hawaiian music at your wedding, why not also add hula dancers? Hula is a traditional dance and an art form created by Polynesian settlers on Hawaii. Accompanying a song or a chant, hula dancers interpret the words with various hand and body movements that resemble water, trees, even emotions. Hula dancers are a lovely addition to the wedding reception and it can be a fun way how to get your guests involved by learning hula moves themselves.

Blessing of the Rings | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii

Blessing of the Rings

Wedding traditions differ all over the world. In some places, couples lock their marriage and their love into a love lock that is attached to a bridge to symbolize the unbreakable nature of their union. In Hawaii, it's another kind of tradition and it's called the Blessing of the Rings. It involves using Koa wood and Ti leaf and both have symbolic meanings in Hawaiian culture. The Koa wood is a strong hardwood and it represents values of any marriage, like strength and integrity. Ti leaf symbolizes health, prosperity, and blesses the body and soul. The blessing of the rings happens by filling Koa wood bowl with water and then dipping the Ti leaf in the water and sprinkling the water over the rings three times.

Traditional Hawaiian Poke | Hawaii wedding traditions | Luxury destination wedding planner | Unveiled Hawaii


Many will agree that the best part about different cultures is the food. And how can it not be? We all love food and introducing your guests to new flavors can easily be the highlight of their trip to the islands. Hawaiian cuisine has many gems that fit perfectly into any wedding feast. From beautifully prepared seafood to tender kalua pork and pu pus (Hawaiian for appetizers). Hawaiian cuisine has formed from Polynesian and Asian influence and many influences and settlers that arrived in Hawaii over time. How about a bowl of fresh Poke? Poke, pronounced (po-kay), which means to dice or cut into pieces, is a traditional preparation that consists of fresh seafood prepared with shoyu (Hawaiian soy sauce), green onions, sweet onions and sometimes even garlic, ginger and sesame oil. This dish can be served as small bites or even the main dish along with steamed white rice and Laulau which consists of meat or fish prepared in taro leaf pouches and cooked in the ground in a traditional imu.

Getting Married in Hawaii

As experienced destination wedding planners, we are here to make your dreams a reality. We will help you pick Hawaiian wedding elements that best fit your vision. Sometimes less is more and if you feel like you only want to add one feature, choose the one that speaks to you the most. At the end of the day, it's a celebration of love between you as a couple and the people closest to you and that should be the center of the attention.

Heather Sharpe