The Bay of Plenty is experiencing a boom in the wedding industry despite a national low in the number of marriages.
According to Statistics New Zealand, there were 20,231 marriages registered to New Zealand residents in 2011 – the lowest number since 2001 when 19,972 weddings were celebrated.
Despite this national low the Bay’s wedding industry is booming with some businesses busier than ever.
Tauranga wedding celebrant Wendy Barton says people are definitely still getting married.
“I’ve been frantically busy. I’ve just come out of my busiest season ever.”
Wendy says her typical wedding season runs from October to April, and this season she has done around 50 weddings – more than a usual year.
She says business is a steady mix of local and non-local couples and first and second marriages.
Corina Snow Bridal Couture in Papamoa has not experienced any decrease in business, selling between 80 to 100 dresses each year.
Owner Corina Snow says she gets a lot of business coming from all over the country.
“A lot of my brides come from out of the Bay.
“One thing I have found is brides are booking a lot later.”
Fountain Gardens in Tauranga say they too have experienced an increase in weddings in the past six years.
Statistics NZ also shows national divorce numbers are decreasing.
In 2011, 8551 couples ended their marriages - a small decrease from the 8874 divorces in 2010 - but a large drop from 2004, when 10,609 marriages ended.
Mary Hodson, local relationship counsellor and sex therapist from Sex Therapy NZ, says she has seen a rise in couples seeking help for four years and the statistics don’t reflect better relationships.
“Most of these people have reported not being able to divorce because they cannot sell the family home or afford to pay the mortgage.
“Consequently, the reality for many is that they have to remain together until they are able to sell the house and go their separate ways.
“Often the couples are not seeking help to restore their emotional and sexual relationship, but just to figure out how to live under the same roof until the can separate.”