Why Maui Needs You To Keep Your Wedding Plans


September 11, 2023
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of MeewMeew Studios

A Real Bride’s Story

Right before their dream wedding in Maui, Hawaii, Carrie and Jon found themselves facing a dilemma that no engaged couple should ever have to endure. The idyllic island of Maui, their chosen destination for this momentous occasion, had recently suffered the devastating blow of a destructive wildfire caused by intense hurricane winds, leaving its communities in a state of shock and uncertainty. Just weeks before their big day, the picturesque paradise was grappling with the aftermath of these unforeseen calamities. However, as compassionate souls with a deep appreciation for the “aloha” spirit and the resilience of the Maui people, Carrie and Jon made a heartfelt decision that would not only shape their wedding day but also contribute to the island’s healing journey. Thanks to the help of the couple’s photography team (MeewMeew Studios), we were able to gather the bride’s sentiments on her Maui wedding experience and advice for others planning or hoping to plan their nuptials on the island.

In a moment like this, you put aside your own thoughts and feelings and your heart goes out to the Maui people. The morning after we learned about the devastation in Lahaina, we messaged our wedding planner to put a bit of ease on her mind by not worrying about our upcoming event and instead do whatever she felt necessary with the current circumstances. Knowing that the islands of Hawaii are community-oriented, we knew that all residents were on deck and helping in any way possible. We waited patiently for our planner to contact us.

Mainstream media makes it very difficult to make informed decisions. From what was portrayed, we knew there was a large possibility our event would be canceled. However, in the grand scheme of things, our event cancellation could never compare to the loss the island experienced. We did our best to remain hopeful and tried to stay away from social media until we could hear from our direct vendors for a more accurate perspective. 8 days later, our planner reached out with the news we had hoped for; our vendors wished to proceed with our event. Where we kept hearing to “stay away” from media outlets, the local Maui people very much wanted to “stay open” in actuality.

Some might wonder why we chose to tie the knot in Maui despite these challenges. It is a decision we struggled with emotionally, but the answer is a testament to the island’s indomitable spirit and the heartfelt pleas of its people. And, truthfully, until we debarked our plane in Maui, we were uncertain what our trip would hold in store for us. To our surprise, we were greeted with open arms. Business owners constantly expressed their gratitude. They had already lost so much…the thought of people losing more jobs due to lack of tourism was a thought no one wanted to bear.

It was very important that while we were visiting Maui we supported locally owned businesses and did our part to give back. We raised funds for relief efforts, gave to our vendors who were directly affected, and, most importantly, were respectful during our travels and stayed away from the West side of the island. 

Maui’s economy heavily depends on tourism, making it vulnerable to the impact of disasters like hurricanes and wildfires. When we considered canceling our wedding, we realized that our decision could have repercussions beyond our special day. The livelihoods of countless locals, from small business owners to the hardworking staff at our chosen venue, hung in the balance. Our choice to proceed with our wedding meant contributing to the island’s recovery and supporting the community we had come to love.

Our vendors, who had faced unimaginable losses, were fervently urging us not to cancel. Their determination to rebuild and serve was truly inspiring. They assured us that Maui was still the magical place we had fallen in love with, and they were committed to making our wedding unforgettable despite the recent challenges.

Amidst the devastation, we witnessed the resilience of Maui’s people, their unwavering spirit, and their dedication to preserving the island’s natural beauty. Choosing to get married in Maui, even after its recent trials, allowed us to be a part of the island’s healing journey. Our wedding day was a celebration not only of our love but also of Maui’s strength and the unity of its community.

As we look back at our wedding photos, we see more than just beautiful moments; we see a testament to the power of love and the resilience of an island that taught us the true meaning of perseverance. Maui, with its breathtaking landscapes and resilient spirit, will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We hope that our decision to celebrate in Maui inspires others to stand by this remarkable destination and its remarkable people, even in the face of adversity.”

For more information on the island and how your wedding or honeymoon could help the relief efforts, click here.

Vendors: Photographer: MeewMeew Studios; Venue: Gather Maui Weddings; Planner: Makena Weddings; Beauty: Amelia Hair & Makeup; Floral: Asa Flowers; Musician: Marvin Tevaga Music; Live Painting: Ariel Quiroz Ar; Officiant: Officiant Euta Lightsy; DJ: Take 3 Events; Coconuts: The Catered Coconut; Rentals: Let’s Entertain Maui

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