The giving of leis (or floral garlands for those not familiar with the Hawaiian term) during a wedding ceremony is an island tradition used to express a couple’s love and commitment to each other. It could be compared to the lighting of a unity candle, or sand ceremony. It is also a way to show appreciation to parents or grandparents.
But it’s not limited to just those people – leis can be given to your officiant, bridal party (as an alternative to wearing a boutineer or carrying a bouquet), emcee, wedding coordinator – basically anyone you want to say a special thank you to! Leis can also be used to decorate your ceremony or reception areas.
Here are the some of the different lei options, and who they are usually given to:
Triple Strand Pikake lei (white, very fragrant and delicate, seasonal, an alternative to this is the Crown Flower lei)
Females (mothers, grandmothers, bridesmaids, etc.)
Dendrobium orchid lei (white, purple or green, either single or double strand, and can be mixed with rose spacers, non-fragrant and suitable for those with allergies, unisex. available year-round)
Tuberose lei (white, available in single or double strand, and can be mixed with rose spacers, usually available year-round)
White Micronesian ginger lei (fragrant, usually available year-round)
Triple Strand Crown Flower lei (white or light purple, non-fragrant, also available in single strands, seasonal)
Butterfly Orchid lei (white, purple or green, unisex, available year-round)
Ohai Alii lei (orange/yellow, unisex, usually available year-round)
Maile lei, hung around the shoulders (as opposed to tied in a circle) are either left plain or entwined with orchids or tuberose (available year-round). A more cost-effect is the look-alike ti leaf maile lei.
Males (fathers, grandfathers, groomsmen, ring bearer, etc.)
Plain Maile lei (usually just a single strand – the entwined version is left for the groom, available year-round)
Ti leaf Maile lei (available year-round)
Ti leaf rope lei (available year-round)
Kukui nut lei (black, brown or beige, can be mixed with shells and/or mock orange leaves, available year-round)
He’i (orange) or Seagrape (green) lei with mock orange leaves (available year-round)
Cigar lei (orange and coral/red, usually available year-round)
Another common lei is the haku, or head lei. It is usually created with a base of greenery, and adding orchids, roses and/or baby’s breath, in the couple’s color scheme. Haku’s are great for brides, flower girls or any special females you want to acknowledge. Just be sure to measure your head ahead of time so your florist can ensure the best fit. Haku’s also dry nicely, and can be preserved as a memento of your special day (not a good idea for destination brides as Hawaii’s agricultural restrictions prevent you from taking flowers out of the state).
Florals by: Passion Roots
Photos courtesy of: Rachel Robertson Photography, Absolutely Loved Photography, Frank Amodo Photography, L’Amour Photography, Still Serenity Photography, Derek Wong Photography, Dulce Photo, David Blades Photography