The island custom of greeting someone with a lei and an aloha kiss is especially beautiful at a wedding. It is one of the defining characteristics of the Hawaiian island ceremony.
From time to time I talk to couples who are uncertain about including the lei exchange as part of their ceremony. Possibly, you have never worn a lei or maybe you have never been to a wedding where the bride and groom exchanged leis. When I first arrived in Hawaii, the pastors of my denomination were waiting at the airport when we arrived. They lined up to greet my wife and me with leis. We were hooked for life! Over the years I have attended high school graduations here in Kona where the families rewarded the graduate with leis. I have seen graduates wearing so many leis that they can’t see! 50 good leis will pile up past the eyeballs. It is one of the most wonderful traditions that I have ever witnessed. I hope I can influence you to give your beloved a lei on their wedding day. Not only do I suggest you give a lei, I hope you will go beyond the generic, economic lei and upgrade to something special for your aloha kiss ceremony. There are many lei artists whose works are exquisite. The amount of time and love that they put into a lei that will only be worn one time has always impressed me. Here are some ideas.
A triple strand pikake lei or a pua kini kini lei for the bride and a maile lei for the groom are popular choices.
Some brides wear a head lei. There are two basic types:
1. Lei po’o – made of colorful flowers and is more delicate in style. This would be the more common lei worn by a bride.
2. Haku lei – made of flora from the mountains: ferns, lehua blossoms, lichen etc. This lei is a heavier lei that you see in photos of hula dancers.
Some leis are fragrant others are not. Orchid, jade, and cigar leis are not fragrant. Puakinini, tubarose, pikake, and plumeria leis are fragrant.
All of our packages except the Kahu include a lei for the bride and groom. For just a little bit more, you can upgrade your leis. (If you are being married at a hotel, the leis may or may not come as part of your package. Make certain to ask the wedding coordinator about the leis.)
When you give a lei, it is customary to say aloha and kiss the cheek. This wonderful island tradition is the inspiration for our website name. Once you have received an aloha kiss, you will never be the same!