Maui Beach Wedding – ‘goose’ update

August 13, 2008

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Just talked with Jill Carl, the Government Chair of the Maui Wedding Association, who reminded me that the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is holding approval of beach wedding permits beyond September 15, 2009.

This DOES NOT mean permits won’t be issued, simply that the DLNR has further restrictions to announce to the wedding industry in Hawaii. These restrictions will probably include the use of ‘props’ such as those mentioned in my earlier post “…the ‘goose’ is simmering.’

Beach weddings in Hawaii, prior to September 15, using chairs and other so-called props should be fine.

Ron Winckler
Pacific Island Weddings Ltd.
because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®


Maui Beach Wedding Permit – the ‘goose’ is simmering

August 12, 2008

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In an earlier post (“Ahab and the whale“) I alluded to the state’s propensity to ‘off’ the Golden Goose with the implementation of permits for beach weddings. A meeting between the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Oahu wedding professionals held yesterday (Monday, August 11) bears this out.

The goose, still honking but trussed (with permitting requirements), is in the pot and the heat has been turned up.

Jill Carl of the Maui Wedding Association attended this gathering and reported the outcome yesterday morning.

“It was as we suspected,” she told me. “The state is moving ahead with more restrictions placed on the wedding industry.”

The restrictions, according to Carl, include banning the use of ‘props’ such as wedding chairs, arches, dinners on the beach, wedding cakes and cake tables. Laura Thielen, interim director of the DLNR ticked off her list of restricted items, all the while repeating, “We’ll work with you (the wedding industry).”

Industry reps were visibly upset. Questions to Thielen about the draconian nature of increased regulation prompted a visibly angry Thielen to respond, “Have we turned down anybody’s request [for a permit]?”

She suggested companies whose clients desire chairs, or even a cake table, do their wedding at a resort or on private property. She didn’t suggest how couples would pay for a resort wedding.

I’m meeting with Jill Carl and other wedding companies this week to discuss this unfolding issue. Something needs to be done to curtail increased regulation by the state. In many areas, not just weddings, the DLNR is throttling not only local businesses, but the multiple thousands who travel to Hawaii each year as well.

Conservation is important. I’m all for protecting Maui’s natural resources. But weddings are among the most benevolent activities that occur on Maui’s beaches. Even surfing schools have caught the gaze of the stern ‘schoolmarm,’ Lauren Thielen. With a severe rap to their knuckles, she has approved the teaching of this HAWAIIAN art, but not the use of surfboards. Surfboards are, apparently, a “prop” as well.

The state, along with the DLNR seem determined to recreate the experience travelers have enjoyed for many decades. They want to turn this place, it’s trails, beaches, waterfalls and lava flows into a museum. You can look, as long as you stand behind the rope.

Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe a ‘virtual’ experience -online only- hosted by a mothering, “protecting the aina” department of the state.

In closing:

  • The wedding industry throughout the state will be meeting to discuss possible action regarding beach wedding permits and regulations.
  • The DLNR is holding a meeting on Maui in early September.
  • I’ll keep you informed.

    Ron Winckler
    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd.
    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®

    Maui Beach Weddings – makeup, sand, sweat, flash

    August 10, 2008

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    Makeup application is pretty much dialed-in by the time a girl attains 13-years of age. Refining technique and style, however, continues well into adult years.
    A brief qualifier is in order. It’s not as if I grew up in a home with five sisters. In fact, I grew up in the company of five, anthill burning, frog tormenting, skirt-chasing brothers and just, one, sister.
    But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn once, so my confidence regarding this art runs high. More to the point, I have witnessed hundreds of brides and attendants over the years, struggle with this issue.
    A destination wedding introduces its own set of unique challenges. Serious considerations should include humidity (and heat), varied lighting conditions and the all important consideration of photography. Especially flash photography.

    This week I will interview a makeup artist who specializes, and excels, in the application of sweat proof, tear resistant, photo-friendly makeup. Some of her advise and direction you will be aware of, some will enlighten you. She will also provide a list of ‘first-aid’ items to bring to your ceremony, especially if the event is on a beach.

    Also included in my upcoming article will be tips by one of Maui’s most popular wedding photographers. He has much to say about this subject, some of which will surprise you.

    Ron Winckler
    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd.
    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®
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    Maui Beach Weddings – they 8 it up

    August 9, 2008

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    Strains of Wagner’s Wedding March were strained, so to speak, on 8/8/08 at beach wedding locations throughout Maui. Beginning, of course, at 8 a.m., couples and wedding guests swarmed popular locations such as Poolenalena and Makena Cove.
    We had only three weddings on this date, a relief compared to last year’s 7/7/07. On that day, we handled thirteen weddings, beginning at 7:07 a.m. and ending at 7:07 p.m.. This go-around was a piece of ‘cake.’ Except for the crowds.
    Most of the companies opted for early morning apparently under the impression that on 8/8/08, no one else would consider the early time of 8 a.m.. Our first wedding was scheduled for 9 a.m. at Poolenalena, we arrived by 7:30 a.m..
    Already, the parking lot was full and getting fuller by the minute.

    Usually empty (somewhat) the lot was filled by 7 a.m. or so

    Usually empty (somewhat) the lot was filled by 7 a.m. or so

    On the beach meanwhile, coveys of wedding groups were moving into position. On Maui, even with newly enacted beach wedding permits, locations are secured on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. As stated, more were unloading in the parking area.
    While Poolenalena is a large beach and typically able to handle multiple nuptials with no problem, this was starting to look like a bad comedy sketch. We pulled the plug on this site, called our couple and held the ceremony at the Honua Kai Lani estate. We manage the estate for the owner and have a little leeway on its use.
    Four groups at Maui\'s Poolenalena Beach, more staging in lot.

    Four groups at Maui's Poolenalena Beach, more staging in lot.

    Our couple, Percy and De Lois, were thrilled with the alternate site. Who wouldn’t be? It’s amazing.

    Driving past Makena Cove (aka ‘Secret’ Cove), cars lined the lava wall fronting the beach area and brides were waiting on the access path. It was a busy day.
    The only thing missing on the beaches was Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) enforcement personnel. No one checking beach wedding permits (94 permits were issued for Maui that day), I was kind of bummed. I was looking forward to whipping out our official permit. On this subject…
    DLNR officials will meet with wedding companies on Oahu this Tuesday, August 11. Rumors of increased regulation have been circulating, it will be interesting to hear what they tell Oahu before bringing their show to Maui. An associate of mine will be attending the meeting and I’ll post the details on this blog.

    Ron Winckler
    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd.
    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®

    Maui Beach Weddings – permits happening

    July 22, 2008

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    Beach permits for Maui weddings are being approved with little difficulty, according to numerous Maui wedding companies. We submitted thirty or so permits about a week ago along with required maps and location designations.

    Yet to be determined by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is how to deal with people on the beach. While a ‘permit’ allows a wedding on a beach, nothing in the language of the permit indicates authority to ask a group to vacate a permitted location to accommodate the permitted event.

    Even if that language did exist, I won’t ask a group of locals to move fishing poles, coolers and hamburger grills (or anyone else for that matter). That would engender bad blood with those the wedding business shares the beach with and, possibly, result in my dangling on a hook attached to an ulua pole. Our company policy will be to simply move to another spot (not another beach) and maintain the “aloha” spirit with all concerned.

    Another question raised, mainly by photographers and videographers, concerns a wedding held on county or private locations which don’t require a permit. After the ceremony the bride and groom are often taken to a beach for more pictures. Does this require a permit?

    According to Steve Molmen, the DLNR’s Property Manager for the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, the answer is, “I don’t know.” Mike Knowles of Millennium Films Maui posed the question to SM. Mike then called the Maui County Film Office and asked the same question. The answer?

    “We don’t know.”

    He then asked if a bride and groom would be ticketed if the wedding was not held on the beach. They said they would not be ticketed.

    These are, I believe, minor difficulties that will smooth out over time. While the state does what states do everywhere, regulate and complicate, they are attempting to streamline the system.


    Ron Winckler
    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd
    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®

    Wedding Attire – cloth, color, sun

    July 21, 2008

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    Twelve years have passed since our first beach wedding, twelve years of sand, sun and surf. My office is a beach, actually numerous beaches. If you don’t mind sand and the occasional coconut on the floor, it’s a great gig. Over the years we’ve seen every conceivable style of wedding attire on Maui’s shorelines, from full-on formal to bikinis.

    One wedding inquiry we received stands out, in respect to wedding attire. The couple decided on Maui’s Little Beach for their ceremony. Little Beach is famous for ‘all-over’ tanning. No tan lines –anywhere. Guest attire including musician, photographer and even minister was to be restricted to hair flowers or maile leis, maybe sandals. To quote the groom:

    “The prospect of a completely nude wedding excites me!”

    I’m not kidding.

    The thought of this groom in an ‘excited’ state was disturbing, never mind the dozen or so wedding guests. We referred him to one of Maui’s many ‘Internet’ ministers for help, but, I digress.

    Beach wedding attire spans the formal to informal scale. With hundreds of weddings under our cumberbun, we recommend attire in the middle of the scale. Sun, even for sunset weddings, is intense on Maui. And, at sunset, you and your guests are getting hit twice by sun rays. Once from the orb itself and again by sunlight reflecting off the ocean. And there is a third component, warmth radiating from the sand. Formal attire, especially for men, can become uncomfortable.

    If you’re not ready to say “I Do” to cargo shorts paired with loud, garish Hawaiian shirts consider light colored, linen clothing. Comfortable and sophisticated, linen ‘breathes’ and works well with Hawaii’s sun –and– your pictures. Other fabrics to consider are cotton and silk. The only drawback with any of these are their wrinkle properties. However, we’ve seen a trend toward a fashionable, rumpled look opposed to the pressed. Touch ’em up in the dryer and enjoy your Maui wedding.

    If silk is a consideration, consider this. Silk, a natural fabric, breathes well unless the weave is tight. Make sure you select loosely woven, lighter silk shirts or its benefits are lost.

    Whatever fabric you choose, another important consideration is color. Pay attention to this. Medium to ‘darkish’ colors will prominently display wicked (as in candle) body moisture or, to be indelicate, sweat. Blues, peach, pink and reddish fabrics are notorious offenders. Even for men this is embarrassing, as well as painfully obvious in your wedding pictures.

    Bright whites, for men and women, are vaguely popular. This color remains the overwhelming choice for brides. While white-white looks and feels cool, a spin-off difficulty exists, other than keeping toddler attendees away from their natural habitat of mud, chocolate and spit-up. Photography and videography –especially at sunset– relies on light that falls on the subject. It also relies on background lighting, that is, the light reflecting off water, palm trees and clouds. Every bride and groom wants these elements in their pictures.

    Really white wedding attire, at sunset, tends to wash out, especially with video. Photographers and videographers must compensate for backlighting or everything would be silhouetted. Photographers can more readily compensate with flash but flashing isn’t as pleasing as natural light and is best kept to a minimum (unless your wedding is held at Little Beach where flashing is typically maximum).

    Videography is especially sensitive. Videographers must open their iris to allow more light through the lens. White, reflecting more light than skin tones, tends to develop hot spots and lose detail. People with darker skin tones should definitely pay attention to light colors. While artificial light (color corrected, stand lighting) helps, the lighting is cumbersome and will add additional planning and cost considerations.

    Natural fabrics with cream, ivory or sweat masking colors, feel good and look good. On Maui, you’ll find lots of stores that sell island wear suitable for your wedding. From Tommy Bahamas to Hilo Hatties, even alternative bridal attire can be purchased at surprisingly reasonable prices (well, maybe not TBs). You can certainly rent bride and groom’s attire if you want to pass on the pain of transporting a wedding dress.

    Feel free to visit our website and click the “Request Information” link on the right. We’ll send you names and contact info for local stores that specialize in resort and island wear suitable for your wedding.

    One more thought. High heels are often worn at beach and beach park weddings. Just as often, they are left at the shore. Bring the heels for the reception but think “sand” when it comes to the ceremony. Even beach side parks with grass can be problematic. This site has alternatives to traditional footwear, one even seems to be designed for men if the thought of flip-flops bores you. A word of caution, if you plan a barefoot event, be aware of kiawe tress along the sand. They are common and shed some wicked (as in witch) thorns, sandals should be worn at least until past their overhanging limbs.


    Ron Winckler

    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd.

    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®

    Trade Winds – hair’s the story

    July 17, 2008

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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.


    Ron Winckler
    Pacific Island Weddings Ltd
    because maui and las vegas are oceans apart®