Who is Aunty Tutu?
The rich, deep tones resounding forth from a conch shell announce the beginning of the ceremony—like the first strains of “Here Comes the Bride,” or the ringing of a church bell. This is the Hawaiian way, with the pū (conch shell), being wielded by the officiant herself. She chants a Hawaiian welcome, picks up her ‘ukulele and smiles sweetly as she begins to serenade the bride and groom with a traditional song, “I Love You,” or another melody of the couple’s choosing. This is the “Aunty Tutu way,” as the lucky bride and groom enter into an enchanted space created as if in a magical dream world.
Although she has created the persona of Aunty Tutu for this stage in her life, the name belies the force of nature that is this wahine, whose given name is Stephanie Lindsey. Perhaps others who hear that name (also, “Aunty Steph”), can recall when she was once the executive director and emcee of the famous Germaine’s Luau on O‘ahu back in the day, or that she was part of the Mauna
Being Hawaiian, she incorporates her cultural beliefs and protocol into her ceremonies. As she stands there, she imagines in her mind the setting with the ceremony taking place: which way the light falls so the photographer gets the best shot or which way the wind will be blowing so the bride’s hair falls just so and doesn’t hide her eyes as they gaze upon her beloved.
“We talk story and email back and forth,” Aunty says. “I say, ‘How are you wearing your hair?’ and make suggestions that will put her in the best light. The bride always gets the last word,” she adds. One of the famous Lindsey brothers may also be suggested for additional music. The ceremony site has been chosen from among several possibilities, perhaps on the grounds of the hotel where a wedding planner has assisted in putting together a package, or perhaps it’s at another private or public space with which Aunty is familiar. She is one of the kahu referred for weddings by the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, the Hilton Waikoloa Village, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and Lava Lava Beach Club, as well as through direct contact or referrals. Author: Karen Valentine-KE OLA Magazine