Most Beautiful Hawaiian Wedding Flowers
Popular Hawaiian Wedding Flowers
If you’ve chosen Hawaii for your destination wedding, prepare to be swept off your feet by the beauty and enchantment of the Islands. (And by your partner, too, of course!) As home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, a relaxed atmosphere, sunshine, and warm breezes, the Aloha State simply exudes romance. And those warm breezes you’ll feel? They carry the sweet scent of a luscious array of flowers that will enhance the beauty of your special day.
Whether you’re selecting delicate petals for your bridal bouquet or boutonnière or looking for a striking arrangement for an arbor, archway, or aisle decorations, these blooms are sure to accent your Hawaiian wedding perfectly.
Perhaps more than any other flower, the lovely plumeria, and its intoxicating fragrance seem to truly capture the essence of the Islands. Also known as frangipani, these pretty blossoms have soft petals that resemble velvet and can be found in a variety of colors to complement your style. Although not native to the state, the plumeria has become a favorite for flower adornment in Hawaii. Common ways to wear it include as a lei and in the hair. Ladies, make sure to wear this correctly, however- placing it over your right ear means you are single while wearing over your left means you are in a relationship.
Although the plumeria might be the “unofficial” state flower, the yellow hibiscus is the real deal. In 1923 the (then) territory of Hawaii named the hibiscus the official flower but did not specify which variety. Therefore, many early representations of the state flower show the native red hibiscus as the official flower. It wasn’t until 1988 that yellow was chosen to represent the state. Not a fan of yellow? No problem, as there are many varieties to choose from, offering a beautiful range of colors and sizes.
For many people outside of the tropics, caring for orchids can be intimidating and a bit tricky. But in Hawaii, orchids thrive and have no reputation for being finicky. And because they come in an impressive array of colors and patterns— everything from solids to spotted—they make the perfect addition to a wedding ceremony. However, in Hawaii the most popular orchid colors are purple and white; this combination is often used to make gorgeous leis, as they are both attractive and sturdy.
Bird of Paradise
Just the name of this pretty plant conjures up images of paradise: a colorful bird soaring in an exotic tropical sky. A native of South Africa, the bird of paradise is a popular choice for Hawaiian wedding floral arrangements because of its sturdy blooms and striking appearance. These flowers can be used practically anywhere you’d like make a dramatic impression- whether in a centerpiece or as a hair accessory.
Also known as the flamingo lily, the anthurium is a hardy, long-lasting flower with an almost wax-like petal. A native of England, these flowers prosper in Hawaii and can be found in colors ranging from bright reds, subtle shades of pink and purple, green, and even bi-color. As a true “statement” flower, these blooms bring a pop of the tropics to any floral arrangement.
Originally from Malaysia, ginger feels right at home in Hawaii. Make note, however- the actual “flower” part of the ginger plant is small white buds that grow from the stems. These stems, which are often referred to as the “flowers”, come in hues of red, blue, pink, white, and yellow. Known for its positive effects on health and beauty, ginger would make a wonderful addition to your positive wedding vibes.
Yet another “statement” flower, the heliconia has a striking and unique shape that begs to be the center of attention in any flower arrangement. The “flowers” are not actually flowers, but rather leaf structures at their base. Aptly dubbed lobster claw for their resemblance to the crustacean, heliconia colors include several tones, including red, yellow, pink, and even combinations.
These tiny white flowers are members of the jasmine family and emit a sweet scent that is synonymous with Hawaii. Said to be a favorite of Hawaiian Princess Kaiulani, she named them pikake for the peacocks who roamed her gardens. Pikake buds are popular choices for leis and are often worn by brides, hula dancers, and guests of honor.
A quick internet search for protea will tell you that, in recent years, it has become trendy to showcase these blooms during wedding ceremonies; most notably in the bridal bouquet. However, if you frequent Hawaii, you’ll know that protea have been in style for a long time. Best of all, thanks to their unique characteristics and Mother Nature’s flair for the dramatic, they’ll still be “trendy” for generations to come. Originally from South Africa, protea traditionally represented hope and change, making them the perfect addition to a bridal bouquet.
A word of caution: If you are superstitious and do not want to invite rain to your wedding day, avoid these brightly-colored blooms! Why? Legend has it that the that Volcano Goddess, Pele, fell for a handsome man named Ohia. Her love was unrequited, however, as Ohia was in love with a girl named Lehua. This rejection infuriated Pele and she transformed Ohia into a twisted tree. Lehua begged Pele to revert him back to human form, but she refused and she and Lehua compromised. Pele would make Lehua into blossoms on the tree and they could then be together for eternity. It is said that if you pick the flowers from the tree, the skies will cry the lovers’ tears of being separated.
While this sounds tragic, one thing is certain: Ohia lehua blossoms are an integral part of Hawaiian culture and adding them to your celebration can only enhance an already beautiful destination wedding.
The naupaka is a native of Hawaii that is commonly found in the mountains or near the beach. It has a unique appearance in that is resembles only half of a flower, as if petals were missing. This led to the birth of one of Hawaii’s most famous legends. There are several variations but a common theme: separated lovers. One version of the story tells of a Hawaiian princess named Naupaka who fell in love with a commoner named Kauai. Class differences forbade their relationship so they went in search of a solution and climbed a tall mountain to see a kahuna at a heiau (temple). He advised them to pray, which they did. Soon thereafter, rain began to fall and they embraced for a final time. Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving the other half to Kauai. While Naupaka stayed up on the mountain, Kauai went to live down by the water, forever separated.
This explains why there are two types of naupaka- one found near the beach and one near the mountains, as well as why they seem to be missing half of their petals.
Their place in Hawaiian culture is firmly established and their delicate blooms are a wonderful choice for a lei, bouquet, or as accent flowers.