The Golden Isles Wedding Association will soon unveil its first printed directory, providing a list of local wedding vendors to the thousands of couples who choose this area as their wedding destination annually.
GIWA, which launched the first week in December, and has grown from seven founding members to around 50 members in its first month.
The wedding association is made up of local vendors, including caterers, photographers, entertainment providers and more. GIWA’s goal is to provide valuable referral information to people planning a wedding in the Golden Isles, as well as give a voice to the businesses that make up the local wedding industry, a massive economic contributor in the area.
GIWA will unveil a sample of its first directory at a cocktail party hosted Jan. 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Greenhouse on St. Simons Island.
“It’s a members-only event,” said Justin Henshaw, one of GIWA’s founding members and the owner of Island Sound, an entertainment company that offers a variety of wedding services. “It’s open to our members and their staff … We try to give back to their teams too, so it’s not just business owners.”
Other founding members include Brooke Roberts of Brooke Roberts Photography, Stratton Hall, the King and Prince Resort, The Vine, Emily Burton Design and Beachview Tent Rentals
The cocktail party will be GIWA’s first big event since the association launched.
GIWA plans to print 20,000 copies of the directory and have it hit the shelves April 1.
“Consider it an area-wide, community-wide, county-wide vendor referral list,” Henshaw said. “Our members are extremely excited about it. We’ve put a lot of money into it.”
A second fall/winter edition will be printed later this year.
GIWA offers a central location to find quality wedding vendors in the Golden Isles area.
Several membership package types offer varying levels of visibility and other options.
All members are showcased on the website, goldenislesweddings.org, on social media and in the printed directory.
Members are required to adhere to regulations, and businesses must operate in Glynn, Camden, McIntosh, Brantley or Ware counties.
Current members include the Jekyll Island Club Resort, the Westin, the Jekyll Island Convention Center, Tasteful Temptations catering company and Halyards Catering.
GIWA has also received support from several local businesses that help promote and support the association.
“We have a category that we call ‘community support,’ which are people that don’t have anything to do with weddings, they just want to support this,” Henshaw said.
These include the Brunswick News Publishing Co. — which includes The Brunswick News and Golden Isles Magazine — the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and Elegant Island Living magazine.
“GIWA is all about community. It’s about bringing everybody together, and those are huge names,” Henshaw said. “These are names that people respect. As a body of people that represent the wedding industry, we want to be involved with the community.”
Another goal for 2018, Henshaw said, is to begin collecting data regarding the local wedding industry. Henshaw said GIWA plans to conduct research on the the economic impact the wedding industry has on the area.
“Nobody knows how much that is, but we all think it’s one of the most lucrative and under-appreciated industries in this area,” he said.