A couple have been left “heartbroken” after their wedding plans were left in tatters following an almost £10,000 price hike on their venue.

Brad Saunders and Elly Devenport, both 27, have been left devastated after luxury venue, Matfen Hall told them their prices had changed and their pre-agreed wedding no longer met its new minimum spend.

The T&A's sister paper, The Northern Echo, reports that the couple, who live in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, along with 21-month old son Teo, have said they could now lose £2,500 in deposits paid to suppliers after having to cancel due to the rise.

Matfen Hall has since said it had already honoured dozens of weddings at "loss-making" prices agreed before the venue was taken over by new owners last year.

The Northern Echo: Brad Saunders, right, with partner, Elly Devenport and son, Teo Picture: CONTRIBUTORBrad Saunders, right, with partner, Elly Devenport and son, Teo Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

But speaking to The Northern Echo, Mr Saunders said the pair had been left "disgusted" by the price change after signing and agreeing to a contract back in January 2019.

He said: "We are just gobsmacked to be honest, I can't get my head around it, for them to say right we want another £10,000 off you in addition."

The pair, who had agreed to pay around £10,000 for their wedding, had been due to tie the knot next October.

Mr Saunders said: "We went and stayed there and we were both thinking it's perfect, this is where we want to get married.

"Everything was arranged, we had the photographer, videographer, florists sorted – we put down all of our deposits on that.

"Matfen Hall has had a £1,000 deposit, we've paid an additional £3,000 towards it so far, and the rest had been due about two months before the wedding."

The venue, which was taken over by the Northumberland-based Walwick Estates Group last summer, underwent a multi-million-pound refit during the first Covid lockdown.

The Northern Echo: Matfen Hall near Hexham in Northumberland Matfen Hall near Hexham in Northumberland

Mr Saunders said that he had been advised that this change of ownership would not affect their existing booking.

He said: "They had gotten taken over and they said everything looks fine.

"They even invited us a few months ago and they were good with us back then, we went up and had a look and still loved it.

"I asked if the price was still the same and they told us not to worry and we were happy everything was going ahead."

But after first learning that the venue had started to inform other customers of the price change on social media, Mr Saunders said it was not until Saturday evening that he was finally informed by Matfen Hall that they would have to pay the new price or cancel.

He said: "They're doing this to everyone and to do it to existing customers, I just can't understand how they think people will just pay the extra £10,000."

Saying how they had now been left frantically trying to source an alternative venue, the couple feared they would be unable to secure the same date.

He said: "The major problem we have now is finding another venue next year as a lot of people have pushed it back to next year due to Covid.

"I know we're going to have to shell out more and we're going to have to try and find more money. If we have to find another date we could lose all of our deposits paid."

He added: "They have ruined our dream day."

On social media, the luxury venue received backlash with a number of other couples who were due to marry claiming they had been faced with the same price hike over the weekend.

The Northern Echo: Matfen Hall reopened in May this year Picture: CONTRIBUTORMatfen Hall reopened in May this year Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

In response, Matfen Hall said it had already "absorbed" the costs and honoured 56 weddings under the previous owner's price structure and said they were honouring a further 63 weddings planned for the remainder of this year, and first part of next year, at previously agreed prices which were "loss-making."

It said that it had been placed under strain following weddings taking place this year, originally planned to take place during the three Covid lockdowns, resulting in staff working overtime and new guests being "turned away."

A spokesperson for Matfen Hall told The Echo: "Millions of pounds have been spent so far refurbishing and improving the surroundings and the feedback from all our guests has been entirely positive.

"Our 2022 weddings are selling very well at prices above £20,000, which we believe is the market rate and is proven by numerous couples willing to spend that amount and more.

"We have absorbed the extra cost of sticking to old prices for over one hundred weddings and because couples are now extra keen to get married after a prolonged Covid delay, the extra cost doesn’t take into account the overtime and strain on our staff to handle the extra volumes."

The spokesperson said that it had been forced to get through a backlog, with the hotel seeing around seven weddings a week, requiring a reduced workforce to cope with a "dramatically refurbished hotel" and its new customers as well as wedding parties, agreed under the previous owners.

It said that it had opted not to close the hotel for refurbishment, which it claimed would have meant laying off workers, and instead opted to open at the "earliest opportunity" back in May so that delayed weddings could go ahead under the price quoted by the previous owners.

It added that it had been "incredibly" generous and accommodating with the period of notice given to affected customers.