Byron or Bust

June 1st, 2020

Byron Bay is a mecca for newlyweds. It is not uncommon to see groups of overdressed young adults boarding a bus to take them to an unknown destination to witness a betrothal. You can often see a barefoot beau in a suit, hand in hand with a bride in white tulle going through the motions for a photographer on the beach at sunset. The rituals of love are good for local businesses.

But there is a downside. That busload of intoxicated revelers could party through the night next door to you. Your pleasant country lane could become a thoroughfare for vehicles careening around and running over the possums. You can wake up in the morning with prosecco bottles and underwear in your side paddock.

What is Allowed?

It is not illegal for private homes to host a wedding or two. But there are now more than a few rural property owners who are operating commercially. There was no recourse when a rural property owner hosts a wedding for their niece. Then next month, it’s their cousin, then an old family friend, etc. Is this a big gregarious family, or just someone making a few bucks on the side?

For the last three years, the council has been wrestling with this problem. Of course, some people are overreacting and trying to shut the whole thing down. But do we want to run love out of town – completely? The wedding industry is an integral part of Byron’s fabric and keeps a raft of small independent service providers afloat. Let love bloom and grow in the green hills of the Byron hinterland – just have it peaceful and well managed.

So, after lots of push and shove, a motion was passed during the last council meeting in May. An applicant can run events under the following conditions.

  • Case by case approval after a professional acoustic assessment is conducted
  • Agreement on minimal noise and minimal traffic
  • A venue will be licensed for only three years with a rolling approval
  • only allowed in RU2, not RU1 (agricultural land)
  • 20 events per annum
  • 150 people maximum
  • 1 event per weekend

Byron or Bust: Married Here or Nowhere

There are already some successful venues operating that are keeping the neighbours happy. They will be able to continue but will still have to go through the same requirements. Who knows what the wedding market will look like going forward – or how long that will take to be reestablished. But the chance is there will be a waiting list of young couples, and same-sex couples waiting to get hitched. Let’s wait and see how long it takes for the council to approve some of the new ones waiting to look after the backlog of waiting couples. Still maybe a while before we hear the sound of champagne corks – or not hear them at all in the case of the neighbors.

Local venue operators are dedicated to making sure the industry is sustainable. If you are interested in learning more about holding a successful event then contact the Byron Events Industry Association.

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