A LUXURY wedding venue has issued a fresh statement after receiving significant backlash following a decision to increase pre-agreed bookings by £10,000. 

Matfen Hall, near Hexham in Northumberland, has released a new statement after it told existing customers they would have to pay the new price or face cancellation.

The venue, which was taken over by new owners last summer, has been highly criticised after the price hike emerged, leaving some "heartbroken" and "devastated."

The Northern Echo first revealed how an Aycliffe couple were left "heartbroken" after being told their day would not go ahead unless they paid a new quote, £10,000 more.

Read more: Aycliffe couple told to pay £10k or lose Matfen Hall wedding venue

But on Tuesday afternoon, the hotel said it "recognised" the disappointment caused after choosing to scrap the contracts previously agreed before it was taken over. 

In a statement, it said: "Since the lifting of Covid restrictions in May, Matfen Hall has hosted 56 weddings with a further 55 planned for the remainder of this year. A further eight weddings are scheduled in the first quarter of next year.

"We have honoured these 119 weddings at prices agreed in 2019 and 2020 by the previous management. In doing so, this is coming at a cost to the hotel of over £1.2m.

"When we made that commitment, it was with the best of intentions but regrettably, it is one we can no longer continue to sustain."

It said the hotel employs more than 130 people and that it cares "passionately" about its guests. 

The statement continued: "However, it is not possible to absorb those costs indefinitely while at the same time ensuring that Matfen Hall remains a venue where people can come to relax and get married for many years into the future.

"We understand that this will be disappointing for those affected by this difficult decision, made in light of what is currently an extremely challenging time for the hospitality sector.

"The current management team took over Matfen Hall prior to the prolonged lockdowns we have since seen, and with the intention of undertaking multi-million pound refurbishments requiring a two-year closure.

"The volume of weddings that had already been booked, however, led us to reconsider closing and instead honour 119 weddings whilst absorbing the extra costs and running a loss.

"The challenge of running weddings at a loss has been further compounded by the huge labour shortages we are now seeing in the UK hospitality industry.

"At the time we made our commitment we could not foresee the huge additional strain this would put on our existing staff to handle the volume of weddings we have seen as a result of postponements and cancellations that have been brought forward.

"Every wedding is special and this is an outcome we tried our utmost to avoid. We have returned all deposits and given more than nine months’ notice to all those affected, but we recognise the disappointment this has caused."

On social media, the venue has received mounting criticism with many describing the hotel's move as "greed," something which the venue has refuted in today's statement.

One person described the price hike as a "rip off" and urged those faced with the decision to consider an alternative.

Meanwhile another said the move was "disgraceful," and that the venue should have honored all existing bookings as per the original agreements.


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