All You Need Is Love

Vow-renewal ceremonies are a great way to celebrate a visit to the islands

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Vow Renewal Ceremony 
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach

Outrigger Reef on the Beach

A couple renews their vows on the beach. // (c) Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
A couple renews their vows on the beach. 

In 2003, Outrigger Reef events coordinator Luana Maitland was asked to come up with a vow-renewal ceremony for hotel guests. She embraced the romantic challenge, and now — five years later — more than 6,000 couples have taken part in the program during their visits to Oahu.

"In collaboration with our Hawaiian cultural advisor, we created a vow renewal ceremony that ties into Hawaiian concepts about love and about being with someone you love," said Maitland. "The vows are written in Hawaiian. The couples recite them in Hawaiian. The ceremony is based on an ancient Hawaiian concept of marriage called hoao paa."

Offered twice-weekly to guests of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach and Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, the free vow-renewal program has provided Maitland with heartwarming memories over the years.

Maitland has heard many tales of couples who wanted to get married on the beach in Hawaii, but they 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 those couples waited 50 years to take their first trip to the islands, finally realizing their dream thanks to the Outrigger program.

Another of Maitland’s favorite vow renewal stories centers on a pair of parents, four of their children and everyone’s spouses — all of whom renewed their vows as a group, witnessed by their grandchildren. The multigenerational family event celebrated marriages from four years to 39 years.

"Then there was the visiting youth baseball team," Maitland said. "One of the coaches wanted to surprise his wife at our vow renewal. She was the team mother and chaperone. The entire team served as their witness, and they presented the couple with a tiki to commemorate the event.

"When I see the faces of these couples and hear their stories, it’s moving to realize that what we do has had such a tremendous impact on someone’s life," she said. "That’s why I love my job. That’s what promoting Hawaii is all about."