2020 will be ‘turnaround’ year for Whitsunday weddings
WHITSUNDAY wedding insiders have called 2020 the “year of the turnaround”, after 2019 saw a decrease in nuptials in the tropical haven.
The latest Queensland Government data reveals a downturn in the Whitsunday wedding industry, with the region playing host to 519 weddings in 2019 – down 15 per cent on the year before.
With 161 marriages, Hamilton Island was the most popular Whitsunday wedding location last year.
However, this number was down 29 per cent down from 2018, where 226 weddings took place on the island.
A Hamilton Island spokeswoman attributed the decrease in ceremonies to the impact of Cyclone Debbie, as weddings are often booked well in advance, but said 2020 was already seeing increased numbers.
“Our forward bookings for weddings in 2020 are positive, and we find that weddings guests are staying on the island for longer to enjoy the beauty of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef,” the spokeswoman said.
Airlie Beach was a close second to Hamilton Island, with 132 weddings taking place in 2019, slightly down from the 2018 number of 139.
Whitsunday based wedding celebrant Annie Lloyd-Lewis said she agreed, and anecdotally 2019 was a quiet year for the number of weddings in the Whitsundays.
She put the decrease down to rebuilding the region after Cyclone Debbie.
However, she had seen a dramatic increase in the amount of ‘high quality weddings’ with bigger budgets.
“I think there may have been a bit of backlash from Debbie, people saw bare trees and sticks and had this perception that the region didn’t look that good,” she said.
“But what I did see were a lot of weddings which had larger budgets. People are looking to up the quality of their weddings, and the Whitsundays have an amazing reputation of being able to do that.”
Mrs Lloyd-Lewis said signs were already looking positive for 2020, with many in the industry already experiencing more bookings than the year before.
She said the Whitsunday wedding community had banded together to allow the industry to grow in 2020.
“My forward bookings look better than this point last year, and the hair and make-up girls I know are saying they’re almost booked out for the whole year already,” she said.
“There’s a lot of businesses and organisations helping to push the wedding market in the Whitsundays and create great deals, because people have realised the revenue a wedding brings to the region.
“For example, even just a bride and groom will bring money. It’s flights, transport, accommodation, food, wedding services – the list goes on and that’s just two people, let alone the guests they bring.”