Some businesses find a way to thrive even in the toughest of economic times.

During the Great Depression, movies and radio found great success as relatively inexpensive forms of entertainment.

While many businesses are struggling today, one niche enterprise has done well. The popularity of beach weddings has continued to grow this summer.

“The beach wedding business has been great,” said Darrel Jones, executive director of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council. “We get an average of seven to nine leads a week (at the TDC). That has grown each year.”

The TDC has advertised its beach wedding opportunities in a popular wedding magazine called Knot. Jones said that has been successful in drawing couples to the Emerald Coast.

Although beach weddings have been big business in the area for years, the economic slump had organizers worried.

“I knew it was a reality out there that people were hurting and people were having to cut back” said Cecilia Cappella, owner of Tropical Beach Weddings in Navarre. “Everyone was concerned. I was concerned as a business owner, being self employed, but I have not seen a decrease at all.”

Cappella said she did not have any wedding cancellations this summer because of lost jobs or anything to do with the economy. She said she only had one couple call to downgrade a previous plan.

Financially, Cappella said she was even with last year’s summer numbers. Things have gone so well this year that Cappella has decided to expand her business next year to add another wedding crew to her staff to increase the number of weddings her company performs.

“It was a very good season. We’re still doing weddings. I’m slammed for September,” she said.

Maggie Halsey, owner of Barefoot Weddings in downtown Fort Walton Beach, said the biggest advantage to a beach wedding is the savings. She said a typical church wedding costs $10,000 to $12,000, whereas the most expensive package she offers is $2,500, which includes the bouquet, photos, chairs, music, decorations and officiating.

“It has been phenomenal,” Halsey said. “I have been really blessed. I just took my first day off since July 4 this past Sunday.”