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A beautiful Hawaiian wedding at Hilton Waikoloa village

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So, yet again we woke up with a little reminder of our inability to restrain ourselves under extreme hospitality and spent our morning preparing ourselves mentally and physically for the exciting wedding at Hilton Waikoloa village.

We started by relaxing on the beach for an hour, catching up with family online and generally building those pesky nerves. We were due to meet at the lagoon at 3.30 and the time soon arrived.

We nervously skipped down from our rooms laughing at our sweaty palms and shaky hands and went to meet Jaques and the ‘wedding team’.
As we walked down we saw the preparations being made and we couldn’t believe it. An aisle had been made on the steps to the lagoon with flowered organza and draped around the rails. Pink orchids were scattered all along the aisle and two beautiful fresh flower displays marked the altar on the sand just touching the water.

We got to the meeting point and were gobsmacked by the beautiful Haku, Lei’s and bouquet! We weren’t expecting this and couldn’t believe it.

We met Owana, Sef, Andrea and Dean Kauka our Kahu (minister) for the day and we all got super excited and forged a plan of action.
Owana fastened my stunning white orchid and rose bud Haku around my head and handed me the bouquet which was just so perfect. Huge white orchid blooms with flashes of yellows, pinks and greens interlaced with tiny orchids, hand wrapped in tea leaves and pinned with tiny pearls. It took my breath away.

With the introductions done and our nerves mounting, it was finally time…my cue to head for the aisle was the start of the tune Hawaii 5 -0. The wedding was to be held in the dolphin lagoon in the middle of Dolphin Quests fantastic show. The dolphins performed to Hawaii 5-0 while I got into position and Alex stood nervously wringing his hands watching the dolphins jump, spin and dance and waiting for the moment.

Once the cheers had died down Adrea explained that todays show was going to be a little special and told the audience about our adventure. She introduced us and Owena started her chant to welcome us into Hawaii and into the family.
She sang from the heart and made the hairs on my neck stand on end as I waited for the Hawaiian wedding song to start…my cue to start my short walk to Alex’s side.

I was so nervous I didn’t know when to set off or how fast to go or anything, but I made it in the end! I faced Alex at the lagoons edge and Dean the Kahu welcomed us and thanked the audience once again for letting us crash their Dolphin Quest show.

The ceremony was in Hawaiian and Dean explained everything as he did it. He translated the parts that he spoke in his native tongue and had us complete our vows by saying I love you in Hawaiian. Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe!
As Kahu he told us of the legend of Naupaka.

“According to local Hawaiian legend, it is said that two lovers, greatly devoted to each other, came to the attention of the Goddess Pele.

Pele decided she would like the man for herself and attempted to woo him away from his beloved.

No matter how she tried the lovers remained strong and devoted to one another. Infuriated, Pele set out to destroy the young lovers and in their attempt to escape they fled to the sea.

Pele’s sisters took pity on the couple and stepped in to save them from the fiery temper of Pele. They did this by turning the young woman into the Beach Naupaka flower and the young man into Mountain Naupaka flower.

These two flowers on their own only make half a flower. Legend has it that if the two halves are joined together, the couple once again reunite giving luck to the couple who join them.”

The romance of the legend bought such depth to the ceremony and the importance of these legends lives on in every day life all over Hawaii, especially on the Big Island.

The whole wedding at Hilton Waikoloa village was steeped in local tradition, the exchanging of lei’s instead of rings down to even the type of lei, the joining of the Naupaka flower, the welcome chant, the conch shell announcement. It was just perfect. Once we had been pronounced 2 people1life we were led into the lagoon to meet the dolphins!

We thought we were going ankle deep so Alex rolled up his trousers and in we went. We went a bit deeper…and a bit deeper…and a bit deeper until we were up to our waists and sat on the sandy bottom of the lagoon. The first dolphin came straight to us and rolled over for us to stroke her tummy, she waved at us and splashed us and then spun around so we could hold her tail. The dolphins were so so so happy and the whole experience was out of this world.

They loved to play and seemingly to be touched, we held her to have a photograph and then all the dolphins lined up and gave us a wave. We were so honoured to be able to meet these amazing creatures and to see them so happy there.

The Dolphins finished their show while we watched and enjoyed a very strong volcanic looking drink and then we ran back to the room to stand under the hair dryer quickly before we walked to Buddah point with Owana talking story.

She told us of more legends and took us to the waters edge where she asked us if there was anyone we wished could be with us on our special day. We told her how much we would love for our family to be with us and she told us there was a way.

Owana gave us a basket of orchids and told us that the Hawaiians believe that you can send your thoughts and wishes to those apart from you by enriching the flower with all of your feelings and letting them blow on the wind to the Ocean where they will send all of these thoughts to the people most special to us.
We had had such a roller coaster of an emotional day and this was a perfect opportunity for us to reflect and think of everyone back home.
We both got teary as we threw the flowers for the Ocean to take them to those we loved the most.

We arrived at Buddah point just in time to watch the sunset and even caught a glimpse of the green flash and made a wish as instructed by Sef and Chad who were looking after us throughout our meal.We were handed champagne and watched as Sef lit a sea of candles amongst strewn white orchids.

We watched the sunset with a fabulous cheese platter and a crab salad then were gobsmacked as we were presented with a gorgeous wedding cake hand made and soft iced with amazing skill by the chef.

As the afterglow of the sun faded we listened for the conch shell to announce the Tiki boy had set off. Every evening he runs the full length of the complex and lights all of the tiki lights and finishes at Buddah point with a blow on his shell to say he is done.

We ate like King and Queen and were waited on hand and foot under the romantic glow of the stars, the tiki lights and candles and enjoyed talking about how amazing the wedding had been.

There are never enough words to thank everyone involved properly but I will try.

Jacques – Your energy and love of the Hawaiian culture is an inspiration to all around you. Your team love to work for you and it truly shows.

Thank you for being such a huge part of our adventure and Mahalo nui loa until we meet again.

Jeanette – Thank you for being our’neighbour’ so far from home, for everything you did for us and again for wanting to be involved! Hope you managed to enjoy some of your birthday without too much iron man interference!!

Dean – Thank you for instilling the wedding with so much culture and tradition, for explaining it all to us English folk and for our beautiful wedding memory certificate

Adrea – Thank you so very much for allowing us to be part of Dolphin Quests amazing show and for exposing us to such beautiful happy playful dolphins who change so many peoples lives.  The experience is such a privilege and we will never forget it.

Owana- Thank you, Mahalo for welcoming us in such a heartfelt way.

Your chant and you taking the time to talk story with us made our day. You will never know how much we needed the time to think of our loved ones back home at that moment and how much it meant to us. Thank you.

Sef and Chad and ‘the chef’- you three are superstars, thank you from the bottom of our stomachs for our amazing meal, outstanding service and for making our evening extra special!

Rammel- our fabulous host at the KPC. A fabulous meal with fabulous recommendations from yourself. Thank you!

And last but by no means least, Julie Bach from Photo Event Solutions– Thank you for some beautiful pictures of our special day!

I know there were lots more people that worked hard looking after us during our stay and I cannot thank any of you enough!

And to the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Thank you so much for our amazing stay in your fabulous hotel and for helping our dreams come true!

Location : Hilton Waikoloa Village | Dolphins : Dolphin Quest | Photography : Julie Bach

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  1. michelle says:

    I got tears in my eye reading the bit about the orchids and the sea!! Very special day by the sounds of it!!!! 🙂 xxxxx keep it up guys xx

    1. Lisa & Alex says:

      Thanks Michelle, it was a great day! The way they looked after us was amazing. I cant recommend the guys enough. We will keep going and get another amazing wedding under our belt soon! We have some very cool things up our sleeves! xx

  2. Damon says:


    What a spectacular wedding! I stay there often and I’ve always wanted to swim with the dolphins!

    Looks like you guys had an awesome wedding and glad I was able to help in some way.

    I will be posting about this in a few days when I get caught up on things. Hope you don’t mind if I use a picture or two.

    1. Lisa & Alex says:

      Of course not Damon, help yourself and let us know if there is anything else you need as we couldn’t fit all of our pictures in! Make sure to let us know when you have posted it so we can link you!
      We cannot recommend swimming with the dolphins enough, Adrea and the Dolphin Quest team are fab and the dolphins are sooooo playful and happy! Its an amazing experience!

  3. Jacquie says:

    The photos are so good! I am so pleased you were able to have your Hawaiian wedding and in such beautiful surrounds The sunset photos are just so beautiful….it was a nice part of the ceremony when you cast flower petals on the water to remember your families at home….a very special touch.

    Swimming with the dolphins must have been a highlight for you….I had a giggle when you say you had to go back to your room and use the hair dryer to sort out your clothing…lol A small inconvenience for such a happy experience, I’m sure.

    Your wedding cake looked tasty 🙂 Every detail was so well taken care of….it made reading your blog and seeing your photos and video a real joy. Big Island turned out to be THE perfect choice of Hawaiian location for your 8th ceremony.

  4. Oh WOW. Such a romantic setting for the wedding, the sunset looked gorgeous! The Dolphin part looked so much fun 🙂 Fabulous photos! Love the flowers in your hair Lisa! xx

  5. Elita says:

    Hi L & A,

    The word I feel best descibes my feelings right now – – Overwhelming.

    Thank you for sharing this experience so candidly.


  6. Elena B. says:

    such a beautiful wedding!!! this is exactly what i would love to do for when i get married! i swam with the dolphins at dolphin quest hawaii in june 2011. its the perfect setting for a gorgeous wedding. im loving the story and the great pictures you continuously post!! wish i could travel to all of your locations.

    1. Lisa & Alex says:

      Thanks Elena, We really hope you get to experience the wedding of your dreams! Hawaii was way up there on the list of our favourite locations so far. xx

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