Call for more venues as weddings expected to boom in 2021



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Demand is so high, the wedding industry are searching for new venues to keep events in the Shire. Image: Supplied.

The local wedding industry is bracing for a rush of loved up couple’s keen to tie the knot in the Douglas Shire next year.

There are an estimated 500 weddings held in the area per year, which is nine times the national average, however, with COVID restrictions forcing most to postpone their 2020 weddings, next year’s numbers are expected to surge, creating a shortage of locations.

Nick White at Eventcore, the shire’s largest supplier of hire equipment and services for weddings and events, works closely with Port Douglas Catering & Events to offer exceptional weddings at different locations such as on beaches, in the rainforest, high in the hills, on cane farms, or tucked away on exclusive private properties.

Nick said the 2021 calendar was quickly filling up to the point they are now looking for alternative venues.

“We need your help,” he said.

“Demand is so high; we are now actively seeking expressions of interest from landowners to host outdoor events on their properties.”

“Ideally, we would like to develop two to three new locations, no further than 20 minutes’ drive from Port Douglas with no near neighbours,” he explained.

“We bring everything in—no infrastructure is required. Where someone sees a broken-down shed, Tommy at Port Douglas Catering says he sees a kitchen!”

Nick is urging property owners to see their land in a different light and the incentive is they can earn money.

“We can help you to generate an income from what you may see as unusable space but through our eyes it is a beautiful location to host a wedding!” he said.

Nick also urges people with a great work ethic who will be seeking employment to come forward.

“We are looking at squeezing two years of events into the last few months of this year and into 2021, so we need good people,” Nick said.

Tracey Miller, Douglas Shire Council’s Team Leader Frontline Services, handles the bookings for the heritage-listed Sugar Wharf and Little Cove, two of the shire’s most sought after wedding venues.

“We had 110 wedding receptions booked at Sugar Wharf and Little Cove in 2020. That number has plummeted by 70 per cent,” Tracey said.

Tracey has been working with many frantic brides, trying her best to reschedule bookings for 2021.

“At this stage from March to October 2021, there are no Saturdays left at either venue and just one Friday remains. There’s only a couple of Sundays and some months no Thursdays are available,” Tracey said.

“I don’t envy the wedding planners. They have been so amazing and I wouldn’t do their job for quids as they would be getting the brunt of frustration. Not only have I had to refund some weddings and transfer the majority, there are also new brides trying to get dates for 2021. There is such a limit on dates now.”

Nick agrees it is a challenging time, but Eventcore is bending over backwards to help wedding couples find new dates and locations within the shire rather than cancel or change location, which would create greater economical strain on Port Douglas.

Nick estimates the wedding industry contributes over $100 million into the local community each year, benefiting so many local businesses, including photographers, hairdressers, wedding celebrants, caterers, retail outlets, bus companies, accommodation.

“While all our bookings from March to July this year have completely disappeared, we have a few hopeful clients apprehensively hanging onto bookings from August to November, praying state borders open and interstate flights resume.

“On top of our team of wedding designers giving these clients advice and support, we are trying our best for those who are rescheduling, as well as fielding new enquiries. It is a difficult, challenging but rewarding time and we are determined to keep and encourage couples to continue to pursue their Port Douglas Wedding dream!” Nick said.

Eventcore is hoping to build long term plans on selected properties, Nick is encouraging interested property owners to contact him via email for an initial discussion.

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