Kindhearted staff work for free to save couple's wedding

The wedding reception

Hotel staff, who lost their jobs when the venue closed, turned up for work on Saturday, to save a couple's dream wedding from disaster.

Adam Sanders and Amanda Mularczyk, both 35, had booked the £4,200 party at the South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club, in Swindon for 200 guests, two years ago.

However, they were told on Thursday that the venue was closing down - despite the fact that their wedding reception was scheduled for Saturday.

All 45 employees of the 60-bed hotel lost their jobs, and have been told they won't be paid this month's wages. But when they realised that this would ruin Adam and Amanda's big day, they pleaded with auditors to allow the venue to stay open.

And on Saturday, around a dozen staff turned up to make sure everything went according to plan.

"I walked into the hotel on Thursday and Kelly our organiser just broke down and we could see it all over her face," Adam tells the Swindon Advertiser.

"Her team has been incredible and if it wasn't for them coming in unpaid it wouldn't even go ahead. They are bending over backwards to make it happen. It's overwhelming."

The couple organised a whip-round at the reception to make sure the staff got at least something for their trouble.

While the closure was announced in May, it was originally scheduled for October - but was brought forward unexpectedly this week. While guests booked in for a night or two would have been able to make alternative arrangements, wedding receptions can't be put together at a couple of days' notice.

However, three other local venues - Blunsdon House Hotel, The Wiltshire Hotel Golf and Leisure Club in Royal Wootton Bassett and Alexandra House in Wroughton - have said they will fit in any disappointed wedding parties if possible and match the South Marston Hotel's prices if proof of contracts can be produced.

Of all the fears about the big day, the closure of the venue is probably not high on the list. However, it happens surprisingly often.

In January, the Manor Barn, in Buriton, East Hants, closed down unexpectedly, leaving as many as 50 engaged couples in the lurch.

In May, the River's Edge Hotel in Gateshead was sold and turned into a care home without any warning to those who had booked wedding receptions. And last September, couples were left in shock after discovering that the Milton Barns Hotel in Hampshire had shut up shop - and that police were hunting for the owners, who'd fled to Canada.

Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Venue

£20,983 wedding: where the money goes
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£20,983 wedding: where the money goes

This is the biggest expense, and accounts for 16% of everything couples spend on the wedding. There are endless dramatic places to splash the cash, and if you want to get married in a castle, on a beach, or in a major historic property, it’s all perfectly possible - for a price.

However, there will be those who wonder why the wedding can’t take place in a church or a smart registry office - and the reception in a village hall. These places certainly exist, and could cut the venue hire cost down to a couple of hundred pounds.

It’s not hard to see why couples fancy blowing a fortune on an incredible holiday, but it begs the question of whether it’s such a practical idea.

There’s no earthly reason why two such enormous costs have to be bunched together like this. Surely a wiser approach would be to get married, and then start saving for a great holiday. You don't have to be on a white beach in the sun for it to be romantic or memorable.

This is a huge sum for feeding a few people, and is often the result of the fact that when you are booking a venue, you will be tied into using their caterer.

It’s one reason why a fantastic way to cut costs is to find a venue that lets you do it yourself. That way you can choose between setting out a cold buffet in the morning on a shoestring, or hiring in a cut-price catering option, like a gourmet burger or pizza van.

This includes the cost of an engagement ring and two wedding rings. There will be couples who argue that this is something that you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life, so is worth investing in.

There will be others who highlight that by shopping around you can get the lot (including the obligatory diamond) for less than £400, and anything else is pure vanity.

This includes a heart-stopping £1,098 for the bride’s dress. Just to be clear, that’s a grand for a dress you wear once.

There are hundreds of second hand dresses on sale on sites like preloved if you’re after the big meringue, or you could get one made from scratch for a couple of hundred pounds. Then if you sell it on again afterwards, your dress could cost you less than 20% of this insane figure.

If you’re stuck buying the overpriced booze offered by a posh venue, you’ll easily bust the budget, and if you bring your own to a venue like this they’ll sting you for corkage instead.

A much better idea is to find somewhere that lets you bring your own - and after the first few drinks, ask a local pub to run a bar for you.

The argument in favour of spending a fortune on photos is that this is one aspect of the day that really will last, and if you skimp on the photographer, you won't have a beautiful album to linger over for decades to come.

That said, you'll probably have one hour of looking at your best during your wedding - from when you walk down the aisle, to the moment you have finished taking the obligatory formal photos. There’s nothing stopping you bringing in a professional for that hour, and then setting up a Facebook page for your friends to post all the photos they take throughout the rest of the day and night.

The live band feels vital for some couples, but ask yourself, when was the last time you were blown away by the live band at a wedding?

A far cheaper option is to make your own disco. It’s easy enough to hire some speakers and lights, switch it all on, plug an MP3 player in, and get your favourite music all night for next to nothing.


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