Letha and Monte gave me this beautiful wedding lei to wear during their New Year’s Eve wedding. Mahalo!
Leis are such a beautiful part of weddings in Hawaii. Leis say “aloha,” I love and respect you. In Hawaii, leis are given often at ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, school graduations and such. They are also presented any time someone wants to honor another person be it friend or family member or coworker.
There are several different types of lei. Some are woven into circles and some are left open and are worn as a long scarf might be worn. A haku lei is a head lei made to sit near the temples. A wedding lei is a special lei for a special day. It is usually made from fragrant flowers and/or leaves. They are traditional in Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and are often seen in tropical weddings.
The Hawaiian language does not distinguish between singular and plural, so tradition says to use of the word lei for one or more than one lei. With the blending of the Western culture, which uses singular and plural, it has become acceptable to use lei or leis.
Wedding lei are most often made from the fragrant white tuberose blossom. Tuberose grow on long stems, with many blossoms per stem. They are snapped off and strung into circles that surround the wearer in a heavenly natural perfume for hours. The blossoms are more durable than the delicate orchid, and much more fragrant.