Our wedding bells ringing

THE Hinterland’s booming wedding industry has put the disappointment of the One Tree Hill behind it with record numbers turning out for the 2023 Summer Maleny Wedding Festival Trail in mid January.

Hinterland Tourism’s president Kerry Brown said over 100 local vendors across nine hinterland venues were inundated as people turned out to plan their special occasion.

“It was a huge, huge event and it definitely feels like we have come out of Covid,” Kerry said. “Our venues reported record visitation with people confident to book their wedding, and what’s best is they’re choosing to get married here.”

It’s been a challenging few years for the wedding industry and the many venues and small businesses that build a large part of the hinterland region’s economy. 

“What makes our event different is that it opens up venues for people to come, see, smell, taste and experience first hand,” Kerry said. 

“It’s a fantastic, collaborative event that connects vendors and suppliers and after these events, many are booked out for 6-12 months.

“We are probably one of the only events like this that benefits small businesses in this way.”

Kerry explained the benefit to small businesses – both directly and indirectly associated with the wedding industry – is extensive, and events such as the Summer Maleny Wedding Festival Trail give people a reason to come visit and explore our region. 

“I see enormous value in it (the event) and what I love about it, is it’s about supporting small business,” said Kerry. 

“The Sunshine Coast is mostly made of small businesses and it’s really what sets the hinterland apart. It’s what makes us unique.”

One of the country’s most iconic wedding photo backdrops, One Tree Hill, announced its closure this month following complaints to council. That prompted the council to demand the property owner apply for commercial zoning, which the owner’s were not prepared to do.

They had previously required a donation from users, with that money given to local not for profit and local organisations.