Hawaiian Wedding Entertainment: Set the Mood with Traditional Music and Dance

Hawaiian Wedding Entertainment: Set the Mood with Traditional Music and Dance

Hawaiian wedding entertainment, a vibrant and soulful component of nuptials in the Aloha State, carries the essence of the islands’ rich cultural heritage.

Imagine the gentle strumming of a ukulele under a sunset sky and the rhythmic sway of hula dancers as they tell stories of love and life – these moments make a Hawaiian wedding truly unforgettable.

In this exploration, we delve into the unique elements that make Hawaiian music and dance an act of celebration and a profound expression of history and heart.

The Essence of Hawaiian Wedding Music

  1. Historical Significance
    • Hawaiian music, with its roots in ancient chants called ‘mele’, has been an essential part of island weddings for centuries.
    • The arrival of the ukulele in the 19th century transformed these traditional melodies, adding a new layer of sound and emotion.
  2. Key Instruments
    • The ukulele, known for its soft, lilting sound, is a hallmark of Hawaiian music.
    • The slack key guitar, notable for its unique open tunings and fingerpicked style, creates a sound that is both joyous and soothing.
  3. Popular Wedding Songs
    • Classics like “Ke Kali Nei Au (The Hawaiian Wedding Song)” are beloved for their romantic melodies and poetic lyrics.
    • These songs often celebrate love, the beauty of nature, and a deep spiritual connection to the Hawaiian islands.
  4. Contemporary and Traditional Fusion
    • Modern Hawaiian weddings often blend traditional music with contemporary styles, creating a unique soundscape.
    • Artists may infuse popular genres like jazz or pop with traditional Hawaiian rhythms and instruments.
  5. Ceremonial Music
    • Specific songs and chants are used for different parts of the wedding ceremony, from the processional to the exchange of leis.
    • These pieces often have cultural significance, marking key moments in the ceremony with traditional reverence.
  6. Dance and Hula Performances
    • Hula, the traditional Hawaiian dance, is often accompanied by live music, adding a visual element to the celebration.
    • These performances can tell stories of love and union, embodying the spirit of the occasion.
  7. Personalizing the Music Selection
    • Couples often choose songs that have personal or cultural significance, making the music deeply personal.
    • This personal touch adds to the intimate and sacred atmosphere of the wedding.
  8. Live Music vs. Recorded Tracks
    • Opting for live musicians offers an authentic experience, bringing the rich sounds of Hawaiian music to life.
    • Recorded versions of favorite songs can also be used, allowing for a wider range of musical choices.
  9. Incorporating Local Talent
    • Hiring local musicians not only supports the community but also ensures an authentic rendition of traditional Hawaiian music.
    • Local artists bring a depth of understanding and cultural connection to the music.
  10. Music as a Storyteller
    • The lyrics and melodies of Hawaiian wedding music often narrate tales of the islands, love, and the joining of two lives.
    • This storytelling aspect of the music adds an extra layer of meaning and connection to the Hawaiian heritage.

Exploring the Role of Traditional Hawaiian Dance at Weddings

Hula, an ancient Hawaiian art form, was originally performed to honor and narrate the stories of Hawaiian deities.

In contemporary weddings, hula serves as a symbolic and artistic way to tell the couple’s love story, weaving a narrative that connects their journey to the rich traditions of Hawaii.

Different Styles of Hula

  1. Hula Kahiko, the ancient style, is known for its rigorous discipline and powerful chants, often accompanied by traditional instruments like drums.
  2. Hula ʻAuana, the modern adaptation, is characterized by its fluidity and grace and is often set to contemporary music or Hawaiian songs with Western influences.

Role of the Hula Dancer

In Hawaiian weddings, the hula dancer embodies the role of a storyteller, using expressive hand movements and dance to convey the emotions and story of the couple’s love and commitment.

The dancer’s performance is more than entertainment; it’s a vital cultural expression that adds depth and meaning to the ceremony.

Hula as a Ritualistic Element

Hula performances during weddings are often seen as a ritualistic element, creating a sacred space that honors the heritage and spirituality of the Hawaiian people.

This ritual aspect elevates the dance to more than just a performance, making it a vital part of the wedding’s ceremonial fabric.

Choosing the Right Hula for the Occasion

Couples can choose between Hula Kahiko and Hula ʻAuana based on the theme and tone of their wedding, each style bringing a unique essence to the celebration.

The selection of the dance style and the accompanying songs is often reflective of the couple’s personal story and cultural connection.

Integrating Music and Dance into Your Wedding

Blending Hawaiian music and dance into a wedding can transform a simple ceremony into a rich cultural experience.

  1. Choosing the Right Elements
    • It’s important to consider the theme and tone of the wedding when selecting music and dance. A beachfront ceremony might call for more traditional, acoustic sounds, while a contemporary indoor setting could blend modern and traditional elements.
  2. Balancing Tradition and Modernity
    • The key is in the balance – respecting traditional forms while infusing personal touches that reflect the couple’s style.
  3. Hiring Professionals
    • When hiring musicians and dancers, look for authenticity and experience. It’s essential to engage performers who showcase their artistry and respect and understand the cultural significance of their performances.

Cultural Sensitivity and Authenticity

Understanding and respecting the cultural significance of Hawaiian music and dance is crucial in incorporating these elements into a wedding. It’s about celebrating culture, not appropriating it.

  1. Respecting Traditions
    • Hiring culturally knowledgeable and respectful performers ensures that the representation of Hawaiian culture is authentic and sensitive.
  2. Authentic Representation
    • Couples should seek to understand the stories and meanings behind the music and dance they choose to honor the culture they are embracing.


What are the key elements of Hawaiian wedding entertainment?

Hawaiian wedding entertainment typically includes traditional music played on instruments like the ukulele and slack key guitar, along with hula dancing. These elements reflect the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii and add a unique and soulful atmosphere to the celebration.

Can Hawaiian wedding entertainment be incorporated into non-traditional weddings?

Yes, Hawaiian wedding entertainment can seamlessly integrate traditional and non-traditional weddings. It offers a versatile and culturally rich addition, suitable for various wedding themes and settings, adding a touch of the Aloha spirit to any ceremony.

How does hula dancing contribute to Hawaiian wedding entertainment?

Hula dancing at a wedding is more than just a performance; it’s a storytelling medium that conveys the couple’s love story and the spirit of the Hawaiian islands through graceful movements and symbolic gestures. It adds an emotive and visual dimension to the wedding experience.

Is it possible to personalize Hawaiian wedding music choices?

Absolutely! Couples can personalize their Hawaiian wedding music by selecting songs with special meaning or by blending traditional Hawaiian melodies with contemporary music styles. This personal touch adds to the emotional impact and uniqueness of the ceremony.

What should be considered when choosing a Hawaiian wedding entertainment provider?

When selecting a provider for Hawaiian wedding entertainment, consider their authenticity, experience, and understanding of Hawaiian culture. It’s essential to choose artists who respect the cultural significance of their performances, ensuring a genuine and culturally sensitive celebration.


Embracing the beauty of Hawaiian wedding entertainment means more than just enjoying music and dance; it’s about creating a bridge to Hawaii’s rich heritage for an unforgettable celebration.

This blend of traditional Hawaiian elements with your unique love story is what makes your wedding truly special.

If you’re inspired to include these beautiful traditions in your wedding, Aloha Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas is here to help.

Our experts specialize in combining Hawaiian cultural elements with the glamour of Las Vegas, ensuring your wedding is both meaningful and memorable.
We understand the importance of authenticity and personalization in making your Hawaiian wedding dreams a reality.