WHEN it comes to the big day, whether that is first, second or third time around, weddings are big business.
Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages figures reveal 584 couples tied the knot at various locations across the Gladstone region over the past three years.
The figures revealed 177 couples held weddings in the region last year - 31 fewer than the previous year and 22 fewer than the year before that.
Gladstone marriage celebrant Judy Whicker said she had noticed a big move away from church-based services to more casual and intimate affairs in front of family and friends.
"Church weddings are definitely few and far between these days," she said.
"Agnes Waters is normally a beach wedding because the outlook is simply beautiful.
"Park and beach weddings are extremely popular in this region, especially ceremonies at Tondoon Botanic Gardens and Canoe Point."
While some people have to take out loans to pay for their wedding, that certainly wasn't the case for Felicity and Brett Hanigan.
The pair had a small wedding at their home in Boyne Island, with about 30 family members.
"We know how much we love each other, and we don't need to show off how much we love each other," Felicity said.
"We have too many friends between us and didn't know where to stop (with invitations)."
Felicity spent a couple of hundred dollars on hair and make-up, and bought her dress from online site Asos.
Guests brought their own drinks and Brett manned the barbecue, so the relaxed celebration didn't put a dent in the budget.
"We got to sit back and enjoy ourselves," Felicity said.
"We'll do something really big for our first anniversary and go away somewhere."
The couple is from Bundaberg. Brett moved to Gladstone five years ago to work on Curtis Island, and Felicity followed three years ago.
They welcomed their first child, Sadie Jane, on Australia Day.
With Brett now working at Pentair Valves, the couple has no plans to leave Gladstone.
TOP FIVE GLADSTONE WEDDING LOCATIONS IN 2014:
- Gladstone: 91
- Agnes Waters: 27
- Tannum Sands: 24
- Seventeen Seventy: 18
- Calliope: 17
WEDDINGS often come with a price tag that could make your eyes water.
A recent Australian Securities and Investment Commission survey into all things weddings revealed 82% used their savings, 60% got a loan and 56% of people received contributions from their parents to pay for their big day.
The survey revealed 43% of couples stayed within their budgets, 35% of couple blew their budget and 18% of couples did not have a budget.
Three tips? Talk about money early with your partner and both sets of parents, do not tell suppliers it is for a wedding and spread out your wedding bills over a number of months.