Mar­riage made in heaven

Wed­ding in­dus­try’s gift to town

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Louise Shan­non

THE blos­som­ing Whit­sun­days wed­ding scene is feel­ing the love, with new fig­ures re­veal­ing this week the in­dus­try in­jects

$74 mil­lion 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.

We’re the honey pot that draws peo­ple here.

— Janet Ho­gan

PHOTO: TROPIX PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

PIC­TURE PER­FECT: A Whit­sun­day wed­ding.

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