A COUNTY Durham couple left “heartbroken” after being told to pay £10,000 or lose their wedding venue has explained why they will not be taking up Matfen Hall’s offer after their U-turn.

Brad Saunders and Elly Devenport, both 27, have said they will be taking their money elsewhere following days of anguish and turmoil after being told to pay 50 percent more to keep their booking.

The luxury venue was last night forced to apologise “unreservedly” for any hurt caused after it received significant backlash following an initial plan to demand thousands more at the weekend.

Read more: Matfen Hall reverses decision to charge couples £10k extra or lose wedding venue after backlash

But for the couple, who live in Newton Aycliffe and were due to tie the knot next October, the venue's offer of reconciliation had come too little, too late - and all trust had been lost.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mr Saunders said they had since heard from several other couples who are also now planning their wedding at an alternative venue after also losing faith in hotel bosses.

He said: “To be honest, it’s not good enough for me after all the stress they have caused and I feel like it’s not even an apology because they’re only doing it because of the backlash.

“I have lost all trust with them. When we heard the news, after what they said previously, all of the trust we had in them has gone."

Read more: More couples hit out after Matfen Hall tells them to pay £10k or lose venue

The Northern Echo heard from several further couples, who said they had been left counting the costs after refusing to pay the extra £10,000.

One said they had been left concerned over the costs already spent on accommodation, suppliers and transport for guests, which ran into the thousands.

But for Mr Saunders, costs aside he said the venue had now lost its charm and that it would no longer feel right on their big day.

He said: “It wouldn’t feel right on the day. I feel like on the actual day, it wouldn’t be about the wedding day, that’s (the £10,000) is all they would be talking about."

Mr Saunders, who previously said the venue's decision had ruined their day, said he believed the offer did not make up for the sheer amount of inconvenience caused.

He said: "If they maybe contacted me, offered a discount for the inconvenience, but it’s just going back to the price in the first place.

“It was pure greed, they wouldn't be going back on their word if they didn’t have the money.

“The first response was to justify it and made out like they did nothing wrong. I have also heard from a lot of other couples they have told them where to go."

Saying he had now found an alternative venue to host their day, Mr Saunders said he had requested a full refund of their deposit and money paid to Matfen Hall so far.

He added: "Matfen won't be getting any money of ours after the way we were treated."

The Northumberland venue had initially told couples that it was no longer viable to host their weddings at prices already signed and agreed before it was taken over, last year.

It also said that following a refurbishment carried out during the first lockdown, it had seen newly priced weddings sell "very well" at prices in excess of £20,000.

On social media, the hotel was slammed as being “unfair” and faced calls for a boycott, while bosses were urged to immediately rethink their decision.

But in a statement to The Northern Echo on Thursday, Matfen Hall said it unreservedly apologised for the hurt caused and that it would now be honouring all weddings at prices agreed previously.

At the time, a spokesperson said: “We unreservedly apologise for the hurt this decision has caused. It was never our intention to cause any upset for the couples involved. 

“Every wedding is a special occasion – the most precious day in a couple’s lives and it has been our privilege to host hundreds of weddings and play a part in those special moments. We will have honoured 119 weddings by the end of the year booked under the previous management. 

“It is clear that we have not explained this to a number of guests and that has caused a lot of hurt. We know it is up to us to put things right and to explain to those guests who had booked under the previous management how their wedding would be vastly enhanced.

“As is always best with matters like this, we are working privately and individually with the couples on a solution, which includes honouring the original booking.”

Since the statement was issued a number of suppliers have taken to social media to offer reassurances to those with weddings booked at Matfen Hall that they will not lose their deposit if they find an alternative venue on a different date.


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