Marriage made in heaven
THE blossoming Whitsundays wedding scene is feeling the love, with new figures revealing this week the industry injects $74million a year into the local economy.
And ahead of their AGM next week, local not-for-profit group Weddings Whitsundays - an online directory to provide those about to marry with their perfect matches for venues, accommodation, and anything else needed for the big day - has announced a 30% increase in membership over the past year.
Janet Hogan, member of Weddings Whitsundays and co-founder of the wedding planning company Botanica Weddings, said the group, now in its 10th year, had nearly 100 registered businesses, who together with the region, benefited when people decided to marry in the Whitsundays.
"Most people have travelled, and will spend at least a week here, and then the whole town benefits,” she said.
Ms Hogan said there were about 1000 weddings each year and each wedding attracted an average of 50 people "determined to have a good time”.
She said nearly-weds, newly-weds and their parties spent about $1500 per head on local accommodation and services, at shops and restaurants, on souvenirs and trips to the reef.
"Each wedding contributes more than $74,000 in direct revenue to the town. We're the honey pot that draws people here, but it's the local economy that really profits,” she said.
Ms Hogan said guests, including families and friends, were encouraged to take part in "ice breakers” or events such as sunset cruises where they could meet and get to know each other before the big day.
"It's also very likely that they have some sort of recovery event, like a reef fishing trip for the boys, or a long Sunday lunch,” she said.
"It's a very interesting sector of the tourism market that's highly profitable.”
Ms Hogan said business operators were encouraged to add their details to the Weddings Whitsundays site, as weddings were mostly planned well in advance, and itineraries promoting local services - including photographers and babysitters - were often sent out with invitations.
She said the wedding industry was an ideal way to help boost the economy in an area often called "the wedding heart of Australia”.
"It's easy to run a great wedding here, and the town needs the help post-cyclone as well,” she said.
Weddings Whitsundays AGM will be held at Mantra Club Croc on August 8, starting at 9am.
RSVP to hello@weddings whitsundays.com.