There has not been a lot said, about the impact on the Toowoomba Wedding Industry during the past 12 months, let alone, those of had this ritual, which I believe in, planned.

A wedding is steeped in tradition.  A ritual which has evolved over time to match changing society preferences and beliefs.  From weddings becoming the province of priests and churches from the 1560’s to same sex marriage in Australia in 2017.

Did you know, it was Queen Victoria who started the white wedding dress trend in 1840.  And accordingly to Weird and Wonderful wedding facts on google, rings were worn on the fourth finger on the left hand as it was once thought that a vein from that finger led directly to the heart.

And the Toowoomba Chamber are tying the knot with the local wedding industry by joining a grass roots movement to develop a strategy that will rebuild this vitally important, diverse and beautifully layered industry in our region.

What we do know, is wedding’s are a big business.   According to Managing Director of ABIA Weddings Australia, Natasha O’Meara, the Australian wedding industry is worth around $4bn annually and COVID-19 has created a 76 per cent loss across the country.

“It’s been challenging for the wedding industry to be heard in 2020. “The policy makers are not listening and seem to put weddings aside as if they are not really important. We know our best and we need to work with all levels of government to make sure weddings are safe but that they can still happen”, she said.

It’s a complicated industry with operators ranging in size from weekend make-up artists to fulltime function venues. There are hire cars, photographers, cake makers, dress designers, accommodation providers, stationery printers, hairdressers – the list goes on and on.

But make no mistake, when this industry pulls together, there is power in the collective.

The driving force behind the local strategy is Mary Reid, Go Local First advocate and legendary cake decorator. Recently she joined Ian Wickham representing ABIA and In the Booth, Ray Hunt of Highfields District Business Connections, Kim Cahill of Toowoomba and Darling Downs.Com, local media and of course the Toowoomba Chamber to collaborate, in order to support the many players involved in the industry.

And lets not forget, our region is filled with special wedding venues like Preston Peak and the world renowned Gabbinbar Homestead just to name two.  Wedding tourism is real, all sealed with a kiss.

We’re all out there talking to industry, gathering data and formulating a strategy that will kickstart and rebuild. If you are part of that industry and want to share some ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you by emailing admin@toowoombachamber.com.au

 

Todd Rohl, Chief Executive Officer

 

CHRONICLE COLUMN – 23 NOVEMBER 2020 – Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce