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'Wanaka wedding industry bands together'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Pre-COVID, over 1,400 weddings were held each year in the district. This thriving industry supported over 150 direct suppliers, 500 jobs and boosted the local accommodation and hospitality industry in both summer and winter seasons. There is no question why Wanaka is high on the list as a destination wedding location; not only does it offer each couple stunning, almost cinematic imagery of their special day, but the suppliers in the trade are the best New Zealand has to offer.

The players in the industry have now banded together to form the Wanaka Wedding Collective. As a group they are forging their way forward by applying some innovative thinking to continue to market their region to future brides and grooms. The initiative is backed by the Regional Tourism Organisation, Lake Wanaka Tourism, and the local council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, acknowledges the significant contribution this industry brings to the region by also supporting the collective.

Samantha Stout from Tregold Weddings, a local wedding planner, has facilitated the cooperative approach, engaged the members and garnered RTO and QLDC support. She says, "The power of our collective skills, passion and knowledge is immense. It seemed logical to take a proactive and joint approach to actively market Wanaka as a wedding destination in the near future and beyond. We will take our services to prospective clients through a pop-up fair hosted by The Rippon Hall and digital Wedding Fair on Labour Weekend and in the meantime we are here ready for when people are ready to tie the knot."

Stout confesses that moving in and out of COVID alert levels has caused a degree of hesitation in wedding planning for many people due to the changing effect on events. However, the new collective means planning and booking a wedding has never been easier or more integrated. Stout says, "Given we are long-time locals and very experienced at running weddings in our town, the change in the environment has just provided another opportunity for us to streamline how we work together and work with our clients. Getting the suppliers around the table also means we can encourage one another to offer the most favourable covid related postponement policies to ensure we are looking after our couples the best we can in these uncertain times. We say book it in!"

The Wanaka Wedding Collective will host an annual wedding fair in Wanaka and this year things will be a little different. A digital Wedding fair will be run online on 25th October, and there will also be a broadcast from a small pop-up run live in Wanaka at Rippon Vineyard. The digital version of the Wanaka Wedding fair will help showcase all that the Wanaka wedding community has to offer. Registrations online at wanakaweddingcollective.co.nz

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