Spring has arrived, bringing a boost to one of Maui's premier income producers-weddings.
During Maui's wedding season, attention turns to Maui Wedding and Event Professionals (MWEP), a rising nonprofit trade organization that is primarily run online.
MWEP's mission is to support Maui businesses that are involved in the wedding and events industry, including wedding coordinators, videographers, photographers, ministers, caterers, florists, deejays and more.
The Maui Wedding and Event Professionals board of directors encourages Maui businesses in the wedding and events industries to join their organization. Membership is $150 a year and can be attained by visiting mauiweddingeventprofessionals.com.
Photo courtesy of MWEP
In each vendor category of their online directory, MWEP lists several businesses that vary in price range and quality in order to suit the needs of several couple demographics.
Some of the nonprofit's members include photographers Hanne Ruhanau and Tad Craig, caterers Mala Restaurant and Maui Wedding Cakes, and floral arrangement designers Maui Blooms.
"We came together for the highest good of the industry," said MWEP President Jill Carl. "Our primary goal is to keep the industry healthy and informed."
MWEP formed three years ago and has since become a small but growing group of 40 members who cater not only to the brides' and grooms' wedding needs, but also to the health of Maui's economy.
"Periphery industries that we aid through MWEP include the travel industry and anything that effects tourism," said Carl.
The organization branches out to hotel and visitor associations with the hope that the weddings they help guide will also add even more income to the island's tourism industry.
"Bringing people here to get married contributes to the economic health of other businesses," Carl added. "When people come for a wedding, they bring guests with them and need accommodations, food, activities, etc."
MWEP holds quarterly meetings where they promise to guide Maui wedding professionals with "information, education and inspiration."
At their February seminar, they brought in an attorney who spoke about the new issue of civil unions in Hawai'i and other states. Carl said that MWEP makes sure to keep an eye on legislation or any new laws that may affect the wedding industry.
"The recent legalization of gay civil unions hasn't created the boom that the state Department of Health and the legislators thought it would be, because in a lot of states, even civil unions, let alone gay marriages, are not valid. Not a lot of people make the special trip to Hawai'i to get a civil union. They get married elsewhere."
Even if there haven't been as many expected boosts from the civil union pass, Carl said that her organization continues to thrive as more members come on board.
"What's important is that people support what supports them," said Carl. "That's what it means to belong to a trade organization. What we as individual business owners can do to keep the industry healthy and part of that is to support the trade organization."
MWEP continues to encourage Maui businesses in the wedding and events industries to join their organization. Membership is $150 a year and can be attained by visiting mauiweddingeventprofessionals.com.