HONOLULU, OAHU, HAWAII – Fifty years after falling in love, couples are heading for Hawaii to re affirm their romance, sometimes as a duo, but increasingly, together with their children and even grandchildren. And, they keep adding pages to Luana Maitland’s memory book.
Maitland is the events and activities manager at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii. One of her responsibilities includes the hotel’s popular Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony program, a free activity for its guests and guests staying at its sister property, Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,000 vows have been exchanged on the sands of famed Waikiki Beach, in front of the Outrigger Reef.
“We talk with our guests on a regular basis,” Maitland said. “I heard many, many stories of how couples would’ve liked to have gotten married in Hawaii on the beach, but weren’t able to because their families wanted the wedding to take place back home, or because they couldn’t afford a trip to Hawaii back then. Some of them have waited 50 years to take their first romantic trip to Hawaii.”
Maitland consulted with the hotel’s Hawaiian cultural advisor, and together with a team of employees, introduced the Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony, a non-denominational ceremony on the sands of Waikiki Beach in which couples recite their vows in the Hawaiian language and are honored by a Hawaiian kahu (priest) with chanting, traditional hula dance and song. Each ceremony is open to a limited number of couples in order to retain a sense of intimacy.
Kimberly Agas, Outrigger’s vice president of operations overseeing both the Outrigger Reef and Outrigger Waikiki hotels, credits the Vow Renewal Ceremony’s popularity to its location and the authenticity of the cultural experience, both of which are hallmarks of Outrigger’s beachfront properties.
“Outrigger Reef and Outrigger Waikiki sit directly on the sands of Waikiki Beach,” Agas said. “For couples, it’s more than just a beautiful place; it’s Waikiki Beach, legendary as one of the most romantic places on earth.
“We also take great pride in our commitment to celebrating and sharing our islands’ history and heritage. The Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony was developed with the guidance of a Hawaiian cultural expert, and draws upon an ancient custom called ho’ao pa’a, in which a man and woman formed a lasting union together. So in addition to being romantic, our ceremony is also a culturally rich experience, which is something we want all of our guests to enjoy when they stay with us.”
One of Maitland’s favorite vow renewals took place this summer: a pair of parents and four of their grown children, plus spouses, who renewed their vows on Waikiki Beach as a group, witnessed by their grandchildren. The family vow renewal was in celebration of marriages ranging from 4 to 39 years.
Another fond memory involved a visiting youth baseball team staying at the hotel. “One of the coaches wanted to surprise his wife at our vow renewal,” Maitland recalls. “She was the team mother and chaperone. The entire team served as their witness, and presented the couple with a tiki to commemorate the event.“
Vow Renewal Ceremony
Outrigger’s Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony is open to registered guests of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach and Outrigger Reef on the Beach, and takes place every Tuesday and Friday at 8:00 a.m. Couples must sign up at their respective hotel’s concierge desk by 3:00 p.m. the day before. A commemorative certificate to remember the day is presented to each couple at the conclusion of the ceremony.
For more information:
• call 800-OUTRIGGER (1-800-688-7444) within the United States, Guam and Canada.
• call direct to 303-369-7777 (long distance charges apply)
• visit www.outriggerwaikiki.com or www.outriggerreef.com