While anyone marrying in Hawaii can of course stick with the western wedding ceremony, I love nothing more than to see Hawaii destination wedding couples exchanging their wedding vows with some elements of the traditional Hawaiian ceremony.
In my opinion, the Hawaiian ceremony, complete with the kahuna pule or kahu (holy man), makes the whole exchanging-of-the-vows process much more interesting, meaningful, and beautiful (those colors!). After all, the bride & groom did decide to make Hawaii, of all the wedding destinations in the world, theirs, so why not do it the Hawaiian way?!
There are a number of different Hawaiian traditions, and many couples simply select their favorites to incorporate, but the one that grabbed my attention the most was the kahu blowing the conch shell. I had to know the story behind this!
A traditional Hawaiian wedding goes something like this...
Guests arrive to the ceremony location & find their seats to the sounds of a ukelele; soon after, the kahu, wearing his traditional haku lei (head garland), will appear, singing a chant as he walks the groom to the front of the ceremony. The ceremony begins when the kahu blows loudly into the pu, the conch shell. This long, deep call of the pu is believed to summon the land, air, fire, and sea to be witnesses to the ceremony & signals that something very special is about to happen. Very soon after the bride will start walking down the aisle.
The bride & groom then exchange leis, hers of white flowers & his of green leaves, which serve as a symbol of their eternal love. They may then have their parents present their new spouse with a lei, and then may also present the members of their bridal party with a lei. Finally, a ukelele player will play the Hawaiian Wedding Song while the kahu leads the couple in reciting their vows, the rings are exchanged after a blessing, and again the pu signals the end of the ceremony with a deep, resounding close.
So that's what the traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony looks like! Keep in mind that you don't have to incorporate all of the traditions into your ceremony; just the ones that move you most will do perfectly.
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