Wedding industry injects millions into Highlands economy

LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Love A fair has helped promote the Southern Highlands as a premier wedding destination. Photo: Victoria Lee

LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Love A fair has helped promote the Southern Highlands as a premier wedding destination. Photo: Victoria Lee

$33 million- that’s how much weddings brought to the Highlands economy in 2015.

This area has always been a popular destination for weddings and the 2015 statistics prove it is a growing industry in the Southern Highlands.

Destination Southern Highlands group manager Steve Rosa said the region was fast becoming a premier  wedding destination in NSW.

While data was unavailable from 2016, Mr Rosa said in 2015 there were about 1100 weddings held in the Highlands across more than 50 venues.

He said people spent on average $30,000 per wedding.

“As a result of this intelligence we established the theme month of January as ‘Wedding Time’ where our  efforts were to promote and position the Southern Highlands as NSW’s premier wedding destination,” Mr Rosa said.

“Further we partnered with ManageMyEvent company to develop the inaugural Southern Highlands Wedding Fair and Trail. This is now called The LOVE Affair, recently held at Bradman Oval.”  In what has become a booming industry for the area, Mr Rosa said the natural beauty of the Highlands along with events such as Wedding Time had generated valuable exposure for the Southern Highlands as a wedding destination as well as valuable referrals and bookings for local operators.

Several vendors at Love A Fair spoke of the event’s contributions to the local economy.

Mittagong duo Steph and Tony of Rustic Charm Wedding and Portrait Photography said had been a great boost for not just their business, but a range of Highlands vendors, with three clients booked from the fair before lunch time.

Ann Bradshaw, a celebrant from the Macarthur region, said the Highlands was popular among Campbelltown brides.

“They love it down here, it’s beautiful countryside and your venues are awesome,” she said. “I always seem to get a booking at the fair too, and follow ups within the following week.”

Mr Rosa said the Southern Highlands was well placed to build on and take advantage of this emerging sector with the destination a central location close to Sydney, Canberra and the Illawarra. and the industry offering much to cater for this growing market.