The Tradition of Leis in Hawaiian Weddings: A Floral Symbol of Love

Aloha! When you think of Hawaii, what comes to mind? Pristine beaches, tropical fruits, hula dancing, and of course, the vibrant and fragrant leis. These beautiful garlands of flowers are more than just a colorful accessory; they are a symbol of love, respect, and hospitality. In the context of weddings, they take on an even deeper significance. Let’s delve into the tradition of leis in Hawaiian weddings, the floral symbol of love that is a key part of the wedding flowers in Hawaii experience.

The Significance of Leis in Hawaiian Culture

Leis are deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture. They are given on various occasions, from birthdays to graduations, as a symbol of affection. In Hawaiian weddings, the exchange of leis is a cherished tradition. The bride and groom exchange leis as a symbol of their mutual love and respect. This exchange often takes place at the beginning of the ceremony, symbolizing the couple’s commitment to honor and love each other.

The Making of a Lei: A Labor of Love

Creating a lei is a labor of love, requiring patience and skill. Traditional Hawaiian leis are made from a variety of materials, including flowers, leaves, seeds, nuts, and even feathers. The most common type of lei for weddings is the Maile lei, made from the fragrant vine of the same name.

The process of making a lei begins with the gathering of materials. The flowers and leaves are picked early in the morning to ensure they are at their freshest. They are then sorted, cleaned, and prepared for stringing. The stringing process can take several hours, depending on the complexity of the design. Each flower or leaf is carefully threaded onto a string, one by one, until the lei is complete. The result is a stunning, fragrant garland that is as beautiful as it is meaningful.

Incorporating Leis into Modern Wedding Ceremonies

The tradition of leis is not just for traditional Hawaiian weddings. Many modern couples choose to incorporate this beautiful tradition into their ceremonies, regardless of their cultural background. Here are a few ways you can incorporate the tradition of leis into your Hawaiian wedding:

Lei Exchange

As mentioned earlier, the bride and groom can exchange leis at the beginning of the ceremony. This can be done in addition to, or instead of, the exchange of rings. The officiant can explain the significance of the lei exchange to the guests, adding a layer of cultural richness to the ceremony.

Leis for Guests

Leis can also be given to guests as they arrive at the ceremony. This is a wonderful way to make each guest feel special and included in the celebration. It also adds a festive, tropical touch to the wedding.

Leis in Decorations

Leis can be used in wedding decorations as well. They can be used to adorn the wedding arch, the chairs, or even the wedding cake. The possibilities are endless!

The tradition of leis in Hawaiian weddings is a beautiful way to celebrate love and respect between the couple. Whether you’re planning a traditional Hawaiian wedding or simply want to incorporate some Hawaiian culture into your ceremony, including leis can add a touch of beauty and significance that is uniquely Hawaiian. So, when you’re considering your wedding flowers in Hawaii, don’t forget the humble yet powerful lei, a floral symbol of love that will make your special day even more memorable.


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