There is something magical about the thought of getting married on a beach in Hawai`i. Maybe it’s the exchanging of vows as ocean waves tickle your ankles with foamy effervescence. Perhaps it’s the feeling of cool, fluid sand slipping between the toes as people say, “I do.”
A beach wedding anywhere is beautiful, but one on the shores of Hawai`i can be extra special. Here are a few things that people add to make their beach ceremony more like a traditional Hawaiian wedding. These are also seen as cultural gifts of mutual love, sensuality, and joy:
- The blowing of the pū, or conch shell, to announce the ceremony
- Jovial Hawaiian music with the strumming of a ‘ukulele
- Hula dancing, with its graceful movements embracing the splendor of life and body
- Pili ā nai kealoha, which translates to “the love that binds” – This is an act where the officiant loosely ties the hands of the couple together with a maile lei, then delivers an oli aloha chant to symbolize devotion and peace.
- Blessing the wedding bands by cleaning them in a wooden koa bowl with a ti leaf and water to designate new beginnings
For the couple, being surrounded by the presence of friends and family in a beautiful setting may be gift enough. But friends and family always like to give a little something extra to the new couple.
Are you facing the challenge of furnishing the perfect gift? Here is a list of Hawaiian honeymoon gifts that locals would give!
1. Koa Wood Boxes
These beautiful boxes are made of hand-selected koa, wood once reserved for Hawaiian monarchs and royalty. Specialists such as Martin & MacArthur transform the native wood into stunning works of art. These boxes showcasing wavy patterns of fluttering curl are perfect custodians for wedding bands and other jewelry.
2. Wood Bowls
Calabash bowls made of koa are great gifts, but if they’re on the higher end of your budget, a more affordable option could be other variations of exquisite woodworking. For example, turned Norfolk pine bowls capture the elegance of simpler, underrated woods. Spalting—wood coloration caused by fungi—adds character, and some bowls are thin enough for light to peek through. This particular one is sold at Simply Wood Studios.
3. Tropical Etched Glassware
Champagne flutes or wine glasses etched with Hawaiian flowers such as the plumeria or the tropical flower bird of paradise make elegant gifts. You could even have the couple’s name or names engraved for a more personalized gift. This glassware is made using classic techniques established in the 1940s. Find a selection of etched glass designs at Nohea Gallery.
4. Ni‘ihau Shell Leis
These lei aren’t like the ones you may be used to seeing from Hawai`i. Instead of being strung together with flowers, they are made with seashells found on the shores of the Hawaiian island of Ni‘ihau. They range from $100 all the way to $30,000 and make for a very special exchanging of lei for both men and women. Those seeking an authentic or certification selection may visit Nā Mea Hawai‘i.
5. Kona Coffee
The smell of freshly brewed Kona coffee always stimulates the senses, and if the newly wedded couple enjoyed it during their wedding getaway or honeymoon, they’ll love the nostalgia that a gift of Kona coffee brings.
Every Kona coffee may come from the Big Island of Hawai`i, but they are not all the same. The final product depends on how the beans are grown, farmed, roasted, and brewed. A special bag of coffee appeals to your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. And that’s exactly what each of the blends from Big Island Candies aims to do. Each is vacuum-packed to preserve its freshness. Pick up a bag here.
6. Surfing Lessons
A trip to Hawai`i wouldn’t be complete without a swim in the ocean. Imagine sliding on waves at Waikiki Beach or the North Shore. A surfing lesson for two could make for a romantic present for beginners or advanced surfers. And among the many gifts the happy couple will get, the chance to experience something together will be especially cherished. Consider giving a private, two-hour lesson at the Hans Hedemann Surf School to pique the couple’s sense of adventure.
7. Basket of Local Snacks
The taste, smell, and even texture of food can bring back strong memories. Think macadamia nut shortbread, brownies enrobed in chocolate, or pineapple manju. Put the delicious tastes and smells of Hawai`i into a gift box or basket that the couple will love to dig into during their wedding celebrations or after. An assortment of confections inspired by the flavors of the islands are made with love and aloha at Big Island Candies and are available year after year.
Don’t bother with the overused gift ideas of slow cookers and embroidered tea towels. Make the memories extra special by considering one of these creative Hawaiian wedding gifts. With any luck, you may just be invited to their first anniversary party back on the islands—and now you have ideas for the perfect anniversary gift as well!