As the weather gets warmer, my thoughts continue to drift to Hawaii.
The beautiful beaches, music, culture and flowers are the perfect backdrop for a spring/summer wedding - so I gathered our team together to give you ideas and tips on having your own Hawaiian-themed wedding, even if you can’t go to Hawaii yourselves! With the right destination wedding accessories, you can turn any reception hall into a tropical paradise!
Bright colors always remind me of Hawaii and its bright flowers and landscapes. Utilize these natural inspirations throughout your wedding ceremony decor. We suggest creating a chuppah-like structure adorned with beautiful flowers to bring Hawaii to your ceremony.
You may also want to incorporate a few Hawaiian wedding traditions like blowing a conch shell three times as the ceremony begins (symbolizing the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) or the exchanging of leis between your fiancé and yourself (symbolizing the continuous circle of harmony).
Images by Illusive Photography | David Clow | McAdams333 | dinesh_valke
Flowers are one of my favorite parts of a Hawaiian wedding – there are so many beautiful choices! Hibiscus may be the obvious choice (as it is available in many colors and is the state flower of Hawaii) but there are many other flowers to choose from. Orchids, for one, are beautiful tropical flowers that are available throughout the year.
Plumeria is another beautiful flower that can also be used in making leis. These flowers bloom in white, yellow, magenta or purple and can match a variety of color schemes. One of my favorite flowers are Starlight flowers whose petals are in the shape of a star. These flowers are also versatile to many color schemes. You could even try the stark red, heart-shaped Anthurium plant. This plant can be easily made into a bouquet or it can be incorporated into your table décor!
Keep it light. Allow your bridesmaids to wear cocktail length dresses and have the groomsmen wear khakis or light linen pants and bright colored shirts. Symbolizing honor and love, we suggest giving your entire bridal party colorful leis to wear (while you and your soon-to-be-spouse wear white leis).
Your wedding dress could also be knee-length, but if you want a more traditional look go with a lighter fabric and a strapless or thin-strap neckline. Adding a bright colored sash that compliments the colors of your wedding party is another way to bring the beautiful colors of Hawaii into your wedding. You could even ask your guests to wear bright shirts with large flower prints!
Images by timailius | jennchantal | Magalie L'Abbe | Graceful Cake Creations
With white sand, seashells, a candle and a glass bowl you can create a beautiful beach themed centerpiece! Place white wedding candles (one or three, we like odd numbers here) into the white sand and then sprinkle some light-colored seashells around the base of the candle(s) and prop a white starfish against the candle. You may also consider placing coral in the bowl and tying aqua organza around it.
We suggest adding tropical flowers to this centerpiece to really make it pop! Add a tall vase to the middle of the table with submerged tropical flowers inside (and even some seashells or starfish at the bottom) and add short glass bowls with your sand and candles around the flowers.
You may also want to consider renting special chairs so you aren’t forced to use your venue’s clunky chairs (unless your venue has fitting chairs). Try lighter chairs that are white or neutral in color.
Place settings and favors are some of my favorite elements of a Hawaiian wedding because of the fun bright colors you can put onto the table. You can make your own or buy ones that match your theme. Sand dollars, wooden fans, Adirondack chairs or even bright flowers make wonderful Hawaiian or beach themed wedding favors!
Try searching in your area for Polynesian Dancers, fire dancers, Kahili bearers or traditional Hawaiian dancers (just make sure to check with your venue and ask what they allow). Any of these performers will add to the ambiance of your Hawaiian evening.
When I think of Hawaiian food I think of fruit and a stuck pig – while this might not be feasible in your location, you may be able to play off the traditional with other types of food. Some beautiful fruits that your caterer shouldn’t have a problem finding are star anise, pineapples, mango, kiwi, bananas and coconuts – which you can use to make a fruit table.
Stick with seafood such as shrimp, sashimi, crabmeat, lobster and crab cakes, which are also common at Hawaiian weddings. You may also want to add pork for pallets that do not agree with seafood.
There are also many options for a Hawaiian-themed wedding cake. If you wish to keep with a laid-back Hawaiian wedding, try cupcakes with edible flowers on top. You can add fake seashells to your cake or have a simple arrangement of edible flowers throughout the cake. Our team loves white cakes with beautiful, colored flowers around them like this one!
Music is a big part of Hawaiian weddings, so you may want to consider hiring a ukulele band or some luau dancers for your reception. If you can’t find either of these (or can’t afford a live band), look for some of these songs to add into what your DJ plays:
- Lei Aloha, Lei Makamae (Forevermore)
- Ke Kali Nei Au (Waiting for You)
- He Leo Ohana
- Pretty Red Hibiscus
- A romantic Night in Hawaii
- Mai Poina Oe lau
- Byrd of Paradise
- Na Pua o Hawaii
- Sweet Leilani
Whether you use all or just a few of these elements, adding a little Hawaii to your wedding can be a lot of fun for you and your guests. I’d love to hear how you added Hawaiian elements to your wedding – so please leave a comment!