Couple’s anger at £3,000 bill after wedding cancellation
Written by Bridgwater Mercury on January 21, 2021
A COUPLE have hit out at the manager of a Somerset wedding venue for only giving them half of their money back after they cancelled their wedding following rumours the venue was closing.
The Bridgwater couple, who wish to remain anonymous, booked to have their wedding at Rookery Manor in Edingworth in April 2020 but due to the coronavirus pandemic their big day was rescheduled twice.
The couple claim they had very little communication with staff at Rookery Manor and were not offered new contracts to sign, despite asking for them.
The venue says it has done all it can to help.
In August 2020 the couple began to hear rumours that the venue was permanently closing and emailed the venue to clarify this but they did not get a response.
The couple said: “We had heard a lot of positive feedback from people who had booked their weddings with Rookery Manor so we thought it would be the perfect place for us to get married.
“We started paying off our money but we ended up talking to five different wedding planners who didn’t communicate with us that much.
“When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March we were told that our wedding would need to be moved which we were fine with, it was understandable given the situation.
“Our wedding date got moved twice but we were never given any new contracts to sign despite asking for them.
“In August I tried to contact the owners but it took ages to get in touch with anyone.
“Later in the month I heard rumours that Rookery Manor was closing so I contacted the owners but got no response.
“The only way I heard anything was by contacting the spa number.
“My fiance and I felt really unsettled by it, we had invested a lot of money into this and we wanted to know what was going on.
“In September we were contacted by the owners and told the venue wasn’t closing, but we found Facebook posts from people who were selling large amounts furniture from the venue and posts from staff saying that it was closing, so we then cancelled our wedding.”
The couple claim they initially struggled to get a refund for the £7,200 they spent on their wedding so went to the venue and confronted the owner, who told them that their wedding contract was void and they would only get £3,624 back.
They claim they have tried to get the rest of their money back through wedding insurance but can’t as the venue’s owner, Ian Clapp, has not admitted that the company has gone bust.
In January, the couple also found a planning application to change the use of the venue from a hotel/wedding venue into apartments and said they feel they have been lied to.
“We were shocked when we found the planning application,” the couple said.
“How can we get married at a venue which will no longer be a wedding venue?
“We feel like we have been lied to and we deserve all of our money back.”
But Ian Clapp, owner of Rookery Manor, said: “Rookery Manor, like all others in the wedding and hospitality industry, has had a difficult time due to Covid-19.
“We have had no financial support from the Government.
“We have refunded any couples who have cancelled their weddings 50 per cent of their money, when we only usually give them 40 per cent back.
“We have not closed for good, at the moment a number of our staff are furloughed and we’re closed due to Covid-19.
“During Covid we decided that in order for the business to survive we needed to change, so we have submitted an application to turn the venue into apartments, but we do not expect this to go through until 2022.
“Once we are able to, we will have the rest of the weddings that are booked at Rookery Manor throughout 2021 and into 2022 if needed, before we change the venue into apartments.”
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