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Planning a beach wedding says a lot about a couple. Non-traditional, focused on the ‘experience’ more than the trappings and usually inclined toward adventure. Trade winds, when they blow, ramp up the “adventure” aspect.
Trade winds that affect Maui originate in the so-called, horse latitudes. 30 to 35 degrees north and south of the equator. The horse latitudes are high pressure ridges that push air toward the equator (Hawaii is in the path).
If you care, check the origin of “horse” as applies to “latitudes” here. It’s mildly interesting.
Trade winds, in Hawaii, start to kick in as summer approaches, around May and June. As a side note, essentially two seasons define Maui, summer and winter. The difference in temperature is only 10 degrees or so. Ed Robinson of Ed Robinson’s Diving Adventures explores these seasons in a well written presentation found here.
But trades can, and do, blow at any time of the year. It’s a good idea to plan for Maui’s natural air conditioner (and air cleaner).
Trade winds generally start blowing by late morning. Coming from the east and north of Maui winds hit Kahului (where the airport is located) first. Now, here’s the interesting part. Look at a map of Maui, two prominent mountains (actually, dormant volcanoes) dominate. The better known is Haleakala on the easterly south side. On the westerly north side are the West Maui Mountains, dominated by Pu’u Kukui.
Between the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala is the valley that gives Maui its other name, The Valley Isle. As trades hit the east (Kahului) side of our island, they are squished (‘compressed’ for the purist) into a tighter mass. This squished mass of air, as it reaches the other side of the island, explodes out of the valley and onto the vast plains of the Pacific.
This expanding mass of air escapes between the mountains with a dramatic increase in velocity. This increased velocity determined the location of Maui’s only wind farm on the hills above Maalaea Harbor.
Expanding over the water on the west side, trades are punched from behind by winds continuing to blow from the east. This creates a vortex causing the winds to bend back toward Maui’s beaches. The north end of Maui, (particularly Kaanapali and Kapalua) sees ‘wrap-around’ trades and attendant “trade showers.” This is one of the reasons we recommend beaches on the the South Side (Wailea and Makena area) for weddings.
When our company plans a beach wedding, we inform couples about this possibility and provide tips to deal with it. The following tips should benefit anyone planning an outdoor wedding, especially those getting married between the “horses.”
For the most part, guys do well with the wind. Other than comb-overs or a poorly attached toupe, they remain unruffled. Girls are a different story. Guest dresses can be a challenge, sometimes a thrill (for the guys). Not much to say here except to make sure you keep one hand free.
Hair is the real story, as relates to tropical breezes.
Jean Muldoon is a premier stylist and makeup artist on Maui. Used by Pacific Island Weddings Ltd, the Four Seasons, the Fairmont and other companies whose clients are high on the ‘Snooty’ scale, I decided to ask her opinion. Here’s her take.
“Hair styles have shifted away from the ‘up-do’ and toward the romantic, relaxed style with the hair down,” said JM “especially Chignon”
Even I know that “down” is more vulnerable than “up” and I questioned her about that. While she admits that wind is a challenge, her experience and knowledge have helped hundreds of brides weather the wind with grace and style. When she does a head, she pays special attention to hair on the perimeter of the face, making sure it is pulled away from the face.
“Brides don’t want to be distracted, constantly brushing hair away from their face. I make sure,” JM told me, “that it doesn’t happen.” She also brought up the problem of errant strands messing with photography and sticking to lip gloss.
But as trades ruffle, their presence usually means the absence of another hair (and makeup) challenge, humidity. Thankfully, humidity is not as common as the trades but the key to facing both conditions is, according to JM, attention to detail and the right product for the job.
“For ‘outdoor’ hair, no matter the style, I use a product called Helmet Head. It works for wind or humidity.” JM reports.
The problem is, Helmet Head is only available to professionals. She recommends using primers around the eyes and a translucent powder to set makeup and absorb perspiration. I think this also applies to brides who don’t perspire but, rather, glisten.
Before you curse the wind consider this. First, you’re getting married! Splurge on a professional stylist for makeup and hair. They understand local conditions and can provide the right products and valuable advice. Many top-notch artists like Jean Muldoon will even come to your suite. No trips to the salon.
Another way to deal with trade winds, and crowds, is to plan your wedding for early morning. By “early” I mean 7:30 to 8 am. While that may seem obscene, if you’re getting married on Maui you’ll probably be waking up at 4 am for the first few days. As stated, winds usually don’t kick in until later in the morning, around 10 am. Also, the lighting is far and away superior in the early morning (it’s all about the pictures, isn’t it?). You also have the added benefit of experiencing your wedding on beaches that truly are, all yours.
Finally, much of the compelling beauty that blankets Maui is because of its trade winds. Clearing the skys of ‘vog‘ and any traces of Maui vehicle exhaust, trade winds ensure night after night of skies fuzzy with stars and endless days of brilliant sunshine.
Pacific Island Weddings Ltd
because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®