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Weddings in Hawaii can be very expensive, but no matter what your budget, the savvy bride is always searching for value. Hawaiian or beach theme weddings can be both very elegant and cost efficient when done right. No matter where you are, it's easy to bring Hawaii -- or any beach -- to your own back yard.
Decorations and Favors
Typically when one thinks of Hawaii, images of Waikiki, pineapples, fire dancers and hula girls come to mind. However, there is a side of Hawaii that is much calmer and less touristy. Think of the natural beauty of Hawaii -- go to your nearest craft store and purchase some seashells. Place in a glass bowl, fill with water, and float plumeria candles (or plain white ones do just fine) as a centerpiece, or find a wooden bowl, fill with water, and float real dendrobium orchid blossoms to give your tables that delicate rainforest feel. Garnish with loose blossoms on the table tops. Buying online might be cheaper if your local florist charges too much for tropical flowers -- you can find florists in Hawaii who sell loose dendrobium orchids, plumeria, or loose ti leaves -- all of which are colorful, inexpensive and hardy. Silk flowers are another option -- they will last forever!
You don't have to splurge on roast pig or dig up your yard to create an imu (Hawaiian underground oven). Hawaii-style side dishes like fresh pineapple, luau punch, lomi salmon and haupia (a Hawaiian coconut flavored jello dessert) create an authentic feel without breaking the bank. Here's a hint: if your punch is pink/orange rather than red, it gives it a much more "authentically Hawaiian" look (think guava juice, passion fruit, and orange drink mixed together). Float some loose dendrobium orchids in the punch bowl (don't worry, they're completely edible if you are so inclined) for an even more tropical touch.
Hawaii is well-known for being laid-back and casual, so why not apply the same attitudes toward your wedding? It's not uncommon for couples getting married on the beach to throw tradition to the wind and dress down. Pick an informal wedding dress and dress your groom in a white aloha shirt with linen pants or khakis. Trust us -- he'll be happy to oblige! The Hawaiian holoku, a formal Hawaiian gown with a train, is also a gorgeous choice as a wedding dress for those who would like authentic Hawaiian wedding wear. The groom typically wears a long sleeved white aloha shirt, white pants and a sash that matches the dress color of the bride, but if this is too formal for you, our Keoni Hawaiian wedding shirt provides a comfortable yet casually elegant alternative. Our informal wedding dresses are also great choices for the bride to change into after the ceremony (like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. changed into more casual wear after the ceremony -- Sarah Michelle wore flip flops, and Freddie went barefoot!), as they are cool and comfortable poly/cotton. Our Hawaiian wedding dresses and matching shirts are also great for taking engagement photos!
For accessories, try a silk maile lei for the groom and a pikake, tuberose or white orchid lei for the bride. Pikake (jasmine) smells heavenly and their delicate white blossoms are perfect for the occasion. Do keep in mind that if you buy them online, pikake, white ginger and puakenikeni flowers are very fragile and might not make the trip unless you are on the West Coast of the US (there's no guaranteed overnight delivery from Hawaii). Seashell tiaras and combs are also a very pretty accessory, as seen in Bride magazine (June edition I believe).
Acknowledging Special Guests
It is customary in Hawaii to give special guests a lei as well to acknowledge their presence and importance. Sign-in table attendants, the emcee, parents of the bridal couple, members of the wedding party and out of town guests all warrant leis if it's in your budget. Simple shell leis are inexpensive and can be given to all guests. More elaborate, intricate shell leis can be given to special guests, and the best thing is they will last forever as a memento of your wedding.
Hawaiian style wedding favors are simple to make, but if you don't have the time, we've got pre-made wedding favors such as our popular scented Hawaiian sea salt in organza bags, accented with seashells. Chocolate covered macadamia nuts are always a tasty treat -- you can take the Hawaiian Host tiki bars we offer and tie a raffia ribbon bow around it to dress it up. Floating coconut candles are also a wonderful favor and smell heavenly. Let us know if there is anything in particular you are looking for for your wedding favors as we have access to hundreds of specialty Hawaiian items (we just don't have time to put them all up).
The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au) has been a strong favorite for couples even if they aren't having a Hawaiian style wedding. Immortalized by Elvis Presley in the movie Blue Hawaii, this beautiful duet is available from many different island musicians. Everyone's taste in music is different, but our suggestions for pleasing, relaxing, Hawaiian music include selections from bands and artists such as Hawaiian Style Band, Makaha Sons of Niihau, Israel Kamakawiwoole (aka Braddah Iz), Kealii Reichel and Na Leo to name a few. It's our personal opinion that you can't really go wrong with the artists we just listed... all their stuff is great -- happy, soothing and pleasant Hawaiian music, perfect for your beach wedding!