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Doves, Rice, and Lei? How Lei Became a Wedding Tradition

The history of the lei goes back nearly two thousand years, and its significant role in Hawaiian culture persists today. A common sight on the Hawaiian Islands and throughout popular culture, the lei finds one of its most important meanings during wedding ceremonies.

Representing many things, knowing how the lei became a wedding tradition shows the significance it has on the culture and what it means to those who give and receive it.

What the Lei Signifies

The flower necklace means many things in different contexts; along with the context, the type of flowers also symbolizes different meanings. But most often, the lei stands for commitment, respect, affection, and welcoming.

The lei is also the traditional gift of congratulations, celebrating the achievements of friends and family. Individuals give the flower necklaces to others after a promotion at work, graduation from college, or after the announcement of an engagement.

The Significance for Weddings

The Hawaiian wedding lei stands for many of the same concepts as the traditional lei, but there are some ceremony-specific procedures that many follow. Typically, during the ceremony, the couple exchanges their leis, the bride and groom giving each other a flower necklace. It conveys their love for one another and is a sign of their commitment to their marriage and their new life together.

This exchange also shows that there is an equal balance between the members of the couple, as they both give and receive the lei. The bride and groom are on equal footing, and there is no power imbalance in their relationship.

Who Else Gives the Lei?

Aside from the bride and groom, special family members can also give the couple wedding leis. This display of affection symbolizes the two families becoming one and that they acknowledge and accept one another with open arms.

Prepare for Your Special Day

Weddings take a lot of time and planning, and the lei is another aspect that requires some time to incorporate into the ceremony. Before committing to any one design or color, be aware of how the lei became a wedding tradition to utilize it for the greatest effect.