It was supposed to be the honeymoon of a lifetime but it turned into a holiday from hell for all the family. Julia Breen reports.

AS her plane took off for the sunny climes of Tenerife, newlywed Joanne Hackett breathed a sigh of relief.

True, her honeymoon would be unconventional - she was travelling with an army of 21 family and friends - but it would be relaxing after her stressful wedding.

The 33-year-old's big day had been a comedy of errors, with flowers cancelled at the last minute, only half the wedding cake delivered, and size 18 Joanne having to wear a size 12 dress.

Little did she know that her honeymoon would also involve a two-week catalogue of disasters.

Just days before the wedding, the holiday company contacted her husband-to-be, Stuart, to say it had cancelled their honeymoon because it had double-booked the apartments and could not cater for 23 people.

After a few stressful days and dozens of phonecalls to the company, it agreed to find more apartments for them.

But the list of catastrophes continued to grow once she reached the resort of Playa de Las Americas:

* Her uncle was mugged by a gang of youths;

* The bridal suite had a gaping hole in the ceiling which constantly leaked water;

* Stuart's son, Richard, got stuck in a lift for an hour, giving him a phobia of enclosed spaces;

* Daughters Gemma and Rebecca had a room with a leaky shower that sent water pouring through the ceiling;

* Her mother, Marilyn, lost her airline tickets and had to pay to have them replaced;

* And to cap it all, the journey home took 14 hours due to flight delays.

The holiday party returned to the North-East at the weekend after their "holiday".

Mrs Hackett, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, said: "Not only that, but when we arrived in Tenerife the rep had been told it was a honeymoon and was only expecting two people. She didn't have transport for all of us. But we eventually managed to get some.

"When we got to the apartments, everyone else had lovely rooms - apart from us. There was a big hole in the ceiling with water dripping through, and the sofas didn't even have covers on them - it was just the old foam.

"When we packed to come back, the company didn't send any transport for us at first and told us to get our own taxis to the airport, but eventually they sent a bus for us.

"I think my lowest point was sitting in a pub in Tenerife, and I thought that because of all the bad luck I could only expect our plane to crash on the journey home."

Mrs Hackett's wedding was cursed when she found out just weeks before her big day that she could not have her wedding dress in time.

In desperation, she bought a dress four sizes too small because it was one of the few left.

But the new bride said that, despite all the setbacks, she enjoyed her honeymoon.

"We did have a really lovely New Year with all the family there. We're laughing about the whole thing now - it's the only thing you can do."