lei exchange

The Meaning of the Lei Exchange at a Hawaiian Wedding

lei exchange

The lei exchange is a beautiful and important part of a Hawaiian wedding.

The lei exchange

is a part of every wedding we perform here at Aloha Ever After. Leis are a beautiful circle or wreath of local tropical flowers, usually worn around the shoulders as a necklace. They are composed of traditional Hawaiian flowers such as plumeria or orchids. Leis are visually appealing and often smell beautiful too, but have you ever wondered what the meaning is of the lei exchange at a Hawaiian wedding?

History of the Lei Exchange

Leis go back a long way. In ancient times, a lei was worn to symbolize the wearer’s rank in society. Different ranks were distinguished by the type of flower or complexity of the lei. A lei was worn for important life occasions such as births, rites of passage, religious ceremonies, weddings, victories or deaths – a custom also carried on today. Giving someone a lei is way of welcoming them, of showing them affection, respect, gratitude and love. It is a beautiful (and fragrant!) way of demonstrating the Spirit of Aloha, by extending out your aloha (love) and honoring the beauty in another person.

Most Hawaiian weddings these days not only include a lei exchange, but begin with it. The lei exchange does not only occur between the bride and groom, but can also take place among special guests, such as the mother, father, mother-in-law and father-in-law.

What the Lei Exchange Symbolizes

Leis symbolize many things. Firstly, because most leis are arranged in an unbroken circle, leis represent unity. Secondly, they represent fullness and completeness. Thirdly, leis symbolize the coming together of separate elements in synergy to make a whole, greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual flower that is woven into the lei loses none of its individual beauty when it forms the circle, and enhances the beauty of all the rest.

Likewise, in your marriage, you do not need to compromise or lose any of your individual identity and unique beauty, but rather, through the nurturing care and support of your relationship, you grow even more fully into that special individual with whom your partner fell in love.

About the Author

Timory McDonaldTimory is the owner, house photographer, on-site coordinator, and founder of Aloha Ever After. She is a world traveler and adventurer. She moved to Kauai in 1999 and loves the island beyond words. After traveling the world she had her option to live wherever she wanted to, and chose to both live and marry on the gorgeous island of Kauai. She is now the mother of two beautiful boys born on Kauai and in her profession she loves to help couples and families make their dream wedding become a reality on this island paradise. She has been a wedding planner and photographer for years. Connect with her on Google+View all posts by Timory McDonald →

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