Sunshine Coast a wedding Mecca

WEDDING BELLES: Bec Martin, Brittany McLeod and Amber Morgan wear Elizabeth de Varga dresses, with hair and make-up by La Bella Brides at the Maleny Montville Wedding Professionals Bridal Showcase.
WEDDING BELLES: Bec Martin, Brittany McLeod and Amber Morgan wear Elizabeth de Varga dresses, with hair and make-up by La Bella Brides at the Maleny Montville Wedding Professionals Bridal Showcase. Iain Curry

THE booming Sunshine Coast hinterland wedding industry is building momentum, injecting an average of $4 million into the local economy each month.

Industry professionals say it is time for all Sunshine Coast wedding industry businesses to work together to maximise the potential of the niche market.

The calls came after the launch of the inaugural Maleny Montville Wedding Professionals Bridal Showcase last weekend.

The two-day event offered couples a look into the best of vintage country-themed weddings in the hinterland, across 10 venues.

Maleny Montville Wedding Professionals president Marlene Murray said 2013 was set to be a record year for the industry.

The manager of Maleny Manor said it was mainly Brisbane, interstate or international guests choosing to marry in Maleny.

"We are booked out for weddings in 2013. We have just two dates left," she said.

"People are now catching wind of Maleny and Montville. We are suddenly becoming trendy."

The wedding professionals group calculated in September 2012 the wedding sector brought $4 million to the hinterland.

Working on an average of 60 weddings a month each, the House of Laurels and Maleny Manor averaged almost $1 million during September.

Autumn and spring were recognised as the peak periods but Mrs Murray said winter weddings were becoming more popular.

"The flow-on effects are huge and there is so much potential," she said. "Each couple visits their venue about four times before their wedding, so they are coming back to the region and telling their friends.

"We don't know where the wedding industry is heading but we need to work together across the Sunshine Coast and work under a tourism body and chambers to really make the most of this booming area."

Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd has identified weddings and romance as niche markets for the area and 11 industry leaders have joined a committee to encourage a united Coast effort to nurture wedding tourism.

"There is no doubt that the wedding industry is growing on the Sunshine Coast," SCDL chief executive Steve Cooper said.

"Locals have known for many years that the wedding industry is one of the unsung heroes of the tourism industry and especially during difficult periods like during the GFC, the industry has been crucial in providing for our sector."



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