Hawaiian Wedding Traditions: Enjoying an Aloha Spirit

If you are thinking of a Hawaiian wedding, either the ceremony on a stunning beach in Hawaii or the thematic one in your local church, you learn a lot about various customs. The Hawaiian wedding traditions cover all aspects of the wedding, the attire, the food, the dance, and the traditions of the Hawaiian wedding ceremony. And there is no need to worry because every step of the celebration is covered.


Although Hawaiian weddings are greatly influenced by Western customs, the beauty of the Hawaiian wedding lies in its native customs and traditional rituals. Let’s go through each and every Hawaiian wedding custom that can make your big day unique and your nuptials special.

Wedding Traditions of Hawaii: The Attire

As per the Hawaiian tradition, the groom outfit consists of a white shirt and neutral pants as well as a colored sash to give whole attire a beautiful pickup. But the white color isn’t compulsory, and many future husbands come to the ceremony dressed in “aloha” style.

The bride can incorporate white color in a variety of outfits like a traditional white gown, a skirt or any other customary wear. The bride also wears Haku lei, the headdress of sweet-smelling Hawaiian flowers. But again, you can incorporate popping colors in your wedding dress or you wear dresses as per your preferences and imagination.

Wedding Traditions of Hawaii: The Feast

Hawaiian wedding receptions may include various dishes from the long list, like poi (a paste of pounded taro root), laulau (different meat pieces wrapped in Ti leaves), kalua pig (slow-cooked and smoked pork) and moi poke (raw fish cubes seasoned with greenery). Desserts contain a cake with a kulolo (a coconut pudding flavored with brown sugar and taro). Different kinds of seafood, such as lobster, tuna, shrimp, and crab cooked in Hawaiian sauces are also a part of typical local weddings. Different tropical fruits along with fruity drinks and punch are also a part of the cuisine.

Wedding Traditions of Hawaii: Music and Dance

Hawaiian music and dancing add more festivity to this joyous occasion. The traditional song Ke Kali Nei Au is played in the background during the whole ceremony. It also sounds while the newly married people have their first dance. Hired musicians play the slack key guitars and ukuleles, the famous instrument of the isles, and greet all coming guests.


Hula dance is performed in the function by dancers and guests. As ancient Hawaiian wedding traditions tell, this is an expression of the feelings in a sacred form which creates connections between the dancers and the God. Hula performers dance in Hawaiian costumes: the green maile leaf skirt and bras from coconut shells.

Wedding Traditions of Hawaii: Rituals

Hawaii has a unique set of rituals and traditions developed over time. These beautiful customs are discussed below.

The Kahu

The kahuna pule or Kahu (sort of priest in Hawaii), recites an orison (or mele) while escorting the groom towards the altar covered with a circle of beautiful flowers also called the circle of love.

Blowing Pu

The Pu, or conch shell — a large seashell which form resembles a trumpet — blows to begin the ceremony and to announce the arrival of the bride. The Pu blower usually walks in front of the bride continuing to play Pu, to bring all the good luck, mana (the concept of vital powers), and aloha to the bride and groom.


Sounds of Pu can be heard from far away. Local dwellers believe that these sounds summon all nature elements (air, fire, water, and earth) to witness the wedding.

Exchanging Leis

In Hawaiian weddings, the traditional ceremony begins with an exchange of beautiful leis. The leis represent sincerity, unity, and love. Customarily, the bride receives blossomed and sweet-scented plumeria or orchid flower leis, while the groom receives a ti leaf lei, which is made of the maile plant. In Hawaiian weddings, leis are usually open-ended to show the endless love of the couple.

Ring Blessing

Ti leaf and Koa wood are of great value in the Hawaiian culture. In the ring blessing ritual, Koa wood (which signifies strength and integrity) is placed in a bowl of water. Then, after dipping the ti leaf (which represents health, success, and blessing of the mind, body, and soul) in the water bowl, water will be sprinkled on the rings while Kahu recites a chant. This ritual represents that all hindrances are sent back to the ocean.

Ti Leaf and Lava Rock Ritual

At the end of the ceremony, the Kahu encloses the lava rock a ti leaf and leaves it at the site as a present for strengthening the relationship. This ritual also symbolizes the unification and commitment of the lovers towards each other.

Sand Pouring Ceremony

The bride and groom should participate in the sand pouring ceremony. Each one will have a container of different colored sand that they will pour in a glass jar. It depicts the expectation of the eternal fidelity: like mixed sand can never be separated, two people are united together by love.

Tying the Rope

Some Kahus wrap the hands of couples in the ti leaf rope to show they are together now. In some conservative families, the parents wrapped a couple in Tapa (a cloth made from bark) as a sign of the newlyweds being united.


In some traditional Hawaiian weddings, there is a knot ceremony. The Kahu ties the two knots on the rope. Then, the bride and grooms should pull it together from different ends. This shows that even if loving people go in opposite directions with their thoughts, the harder they pull apart the tighter their bond becomes/


These are the main Hawaiian rituals. But the most important thing is the Aloha spirit that comes from within and can make your special day spectacular whether it is taking place in Hawaii or in your hometown.