Alii Kula Lavender Farm Indian Wedding
Open your eyes to a feast of color. That’s an Indian wedding.
Red for happiness, swirling patterns of henna and paisley.
Ornate Indian jewels and fabrics.
Freshly picked flower petals in a bowl.
Luscious tropical fruit and golden platters.
Then add lavender to the setting.
Lots and lots of lavender.
The bride gazed at fields of lavender growing on the slopes of a dormant volcano. The Maui wind tugged gently at her long dark hair. Radiant and shining in her wedding finery, she contemplated the stunning views from the slopes of Haleakala to the sea. The bright red of her robes symbolized happiness.
Her gaze rested on Mauna Kahalawai, the striking mountains of the West Side of Maui. The brocade fabric encircled her body and a chorus of metal bangles jingled on her wrist. Intricate henna tattoos called mehndi decorated her hands and feet.
This day connected her to the time-honored traditions of her people, to the hopes and dreams of all the Hindu brides that came before her through generations past. Feeling the connection with her female ancestors gave her support and pride in her lineage. She was the model of serenity and poise, yet her heart fluttered like a hummingbird’s wings.
As the bride watched, the late morning fog rolled in, like an intimate caress, flirting with the sunlight. The dance of fog and light created a magical, even a mystical ambiance. The fog whispered of hidden treasures of great beauty that could only be revealed to the pure of heart. The atmosphere was hushed with expectation and hope.
This was her wedding day, when she would begin a new life with her beloved.
They could not have picked a more auspicious location: the Alii Kula Lavender farm in Upcountry Maui. Commonly called AKL Maui, this farm is a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Up a narrow country road, the lavender farm encompasses 13.5 acres. At 4,000 feet above sea level, the view showcases rolling hills massaged by sunlight and shadows. The ocean glimmers, lustrous, like polished mother of pearl inside an oyster shell. The islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe beckon in the distance.
Fields of lavender grace the landscape, infusing the air with their heavenly and refreshing scent. Off the beaten track, the farm does not allow any tour buses, to prevent the atmosphere from becoming too commercial.
Why have a lavender wedding?
The couple had selected this rural setting deliberately. They wanted the land to bless them with its life force, or mana in Hawaiian. They wanted the land to imbue their marriage with its strength and abundance.
Alii Kula Lavender Farm, a sanctuary for the spirit, was the natural choice for their wedding venue. The couple wanted their marriage to draw upon these values reflected in the land: serenity, connection to the earth, reverence for life, beauty, and peace. Whatever challenges they may face as a couple, they could draw strength from the blessing of this land.
The lavender farm, rooted in reverence to nature, embodies principles of sustainability and sacred stewardship of the land. More than 45 varieties of lavender grow here including Spanish, French, Provence, and English cultivars.
History of the farm
It all started with just one lavender plant given to Alii Chang, the farm’s founder, at his retirement party. Though he was a master horticulturalist and formerly owned a successful flower farm, Alii had no experience growing lavender. Not sure what to do with his gift, he planted it in the ground.
To his delight, his little plant flourished in Kula’s relatively dry climate. Lavender is a scrappy perennial that can thrive in poor soils with scarce rainfall, but could still die of negligence. Alii believed that the plant chose him and his land. Inspired by the plant’s vigorous growth, Alii added 1000 more lavender plants within a year. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Alii Kula Lavender Farm, often called by its initials AKL, grows 55,000 lavender plants. It employs several gardeners who pick lavender daily for bouquets, beauty products, home décor, and culinary treats like lavender scones, lavender lemonade, lavender honey and lavender tea. The lavender scones are an irresistible treat and we can’t recommend them enough.
No matter what time of year one visits, there is always lavender in bloom. Besides lavender, the farm cultivates Tuscan olive trees, hardy succulents, exotic protea flowers from South Africa, orchids, cypress trees, assorted tropical plants, and even peach trees. Garden fountains and sculptures from Alii’s travels dot the landscape. A photographer’s dream, this rustic venue offers a beautiful and eye-catching canvas for Maui weddings.
Lavender as a restorative experience
Any wedding here is a full-blown sensory experience. Lavender flowers fill the air, cleansing and rejuvenating the spirit. Lavender is symbolic of joy, devotion, purity, and renewal. The soothing texture of lavender beckons and the uplifting wind feels luscious on the skin. We could feel, touch, smell, and even taste the special moments of this ceremony.
Lavender is also famed as a stress-reliever. Calming and restorative, it can bring anxious brides or wedding guests into emotional balance. Everyone benefits, whatever their ancestry or upbringing.
Traditional Indian wedding elements
While many weddings require careful planning, an ethnic Indian wedding also involves special considerations for ritual items and customs. These practices have existed for thousands of years, since the time of the Vedas, scriptures revered by Hindus.
For their traditional Hindu wedding, the couple required a mandap, a ceremonial covered platform for the taking of vows. For their intimate ceremony, the mandap needed to serve as a sacred space. It symbolizes the home that the bride and groom will create as a couple.
Nestled on a sloping green hill overlooking the far-off ocean, the farm gazebo was perfect for this purpose. It offered panoramic views of the island and a generous expanse of open lawn. This Indian wedding was small, but the venue can accommodate 75 people.
Paradise Event Rentals transformed the gazebo into an elegant canopied altar replete with a crystal chandelier in the center. They arranged a canopy, blankets, pillows and platters. In the center, they positioned a sacred fire pit or agni, and placed a bowl of fruit (bananas, apple, dragonfruit, mango and grapes), ceremonial objects, even a husked coconut.
A few highlights of this Indian wedding:
Hindu priest Pandit Ramananda traveled to Maui from the Big Island to perform our religious Indian ceremony.
Baraat – the arrival of the groom
Riding on a brown horse named Sugar, the groom approached the mandap. Male friends and family accompanied him. Sugar fit the part and acted as if she knew the wedding was sacred and meaningful. Thank you to Kula Thompson Ranch for preparing Sugar for our special occasion.
Arrival of the bride
An entourage of four olive-skinned men from Manutea Nui E escorted the bride to the mandap along with female friends and relatives.
Exchange of flower garlands
The bride and groom exchanged long flower garlands, called jaimala or varmala. This act symbolizes the acceptance of the bride and groom to each other.
Circling the sacred fire or agni
The bride and groom circled the fire seven times while keeping in mind their aspirations for their life together – including their duty to each other, wishes for wealth, passion, and salvation.
Release of butterflies
Not a traditional Indian wedding practice, but a magical moment. We opened butterfly boxes and a flurry of wings filled the air. The last delicate butterfly hugged Jackie’s henna designed hand.
With the beautiful lavender farm setting, this Indian wedding was magical – incorporating the beauty and blessings of Maui with reverence for the ancient sacred traditions of India.
What kind of wedding do you want to have? Let us help you have a fantastic destination Maui wedding. Contact us here.
Photographer: Love and Water
Videographer: Sunlit Films
Florist: Bella Bloom
Venue: Alii Kula Lavender Farm
Bride Escorts: Manutea Nui E
Horse: Sugar at Thompson Ranch
Officiant: Pandit Ramananda
Coordinator: A Maui Wedding Day