Longford couples' wedding dreams shattered after company folds

DREAM WEDDING PLANS IN DISARRAY

Aisling Kiernan and Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan and Jessica Thompson

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Wedding

Two Longford couples are picking up the pieces after their wedding plans were shattered last week

Two couples have been left stranded by a wedding company after they each won prizes of €10,000 and €20,000 towards their big day

Longford woman, Cynthia Geelan and her fiancé Mike Cruise, Roscommon, won a dream wedding prize of €10,000 from 'Win Our Wedding' just over a year ago, while Laura Hussey and her partner Gary Smyth won €20,000 towards their big day.

Last Thursday, the company ‘Win our Wedding’ folded and two local couples who had won money towards their dream weddings were left devastated by the news.

And, despite numerous efforts to contact director Elaine Whitney, there has been no response from her either by phone or through email.

After winning their prize, Cynthia Geelan and Mike Cruise set their wedding date and plans went full steam ahead, until last Thursday when it became clear that their €10,000 wedding fund was no more.

The local woman who is well known for her organisational skills having been at the helm of Co Longford Ploughing Association for the last five years, used a little of the money for deposits which ‘Win our Wedding’ did pay out, while the remainder she earmarked for the venue plus 120 guests, photographer and videographer.

Cynthia says that approximately €1,800 would have been left over and this she intended putting towards her dress.

Other expenses like bridesmaid dresses, suit hire and wedding rings would then be paid for from the couple’s own personal finances.

The problem now is, whether or not the couple can afford to go ahead with their wedding which is set for December 9, 2017 at the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon.

“I have deposits paid on several items at this stage, so if we have to cancel the wedding, all that money will be lost,” Cynthia told the Leader at the weekend.

“At the moment, there are a number of suppliers on the ‘Help Me, I’m Getting Married’ Facebook page who are offering their services free of charge and I may be able to avail of that.”

Meanwhile, Cynthia has made several attempts to contact Ms Whitney, however none of her calls have been returned nor have her emails been replied to.

“Elaine paid some of the deposits so far, and the agreement was that one month before the wedding she would pay us the balance,” continued Cynthia, before pointing out that she had been experiencing difficulties with the company right from the get go.

Cynthia also chose December 9 as her date because it was her late grandfather’s birthday.

However, trying to secure the €1,000 deposit from the company, for the venue during the initial stages of the wedding plans proved very difficult for the local couple.

“I ended up having to pay that deposit myself,” continued the Newtownforbes native.

“Now, I did get that money back eventually and when I spoke to Elaine in March/April about another €1,100 that was owed to me, she told me she didn’t have it and would get back to me.

“I’m still waiting.”

Despite the disappointment of what has happened, Cynthia and Mike are determined to go ahead with the wedding, while they concede that the goal might not be that easily achieved.

The have good family support and great friends, but Cynthia does not want to end up, as she says herself, “a charity case”.

“It does come down to money at the end of the day and if we have to reduce our numbers on the wedding day then we will have to do that.

“Even if we have to get married and then have a party afterwards so be it.

“Myself and Mike will get married.”

“We are heartbroken”

Winners of a €20,000 wedding Laura Hussey and Gary Smyth are, understandably, devastated at the turn of affairs.

The couple’s wedding is set for March 29 next year in the Ambrose Park Hotel, but they’re unsure if the wedding will even go ahead at that venue.

“We’re heartbroken,” Laura told the Longford Leader on Monday morning.

“I woke up on Friday morning to go to the gym so I would fit into my dress.

“When I turned off the alarm, I saw the email from Elaine Whitney. It was sent at 2:10am.

“I told Gary and he couldn’t believe it. It was a shock to us. Everything seemed to be fine before this.

“ We’re not 100% sure what to do now.”

It was a difficult weekend for Laura after finding out her wedding plans were under threat, and she lodged a complaint with the Consumer Commission.

“I was actually physically sick on Friday. I couldn’t eat or anything. We’re hoping to go ahead on that date. We just don’t know if it’ll be in the Ambrose Park Hotel.”

Laura and Gary’s €20,000 package was to include everything from the hotel to the photographer, the dress, suit, invitations, wedding car and everything else they would need for their big day.

“The supplier of the dress, the photographer, the videographer, the band and the invitations are still standing by us,” she said, pointing out the silver lining and adding that she is overwhelmed by the support she has received.

“Between friends, family and everyone else, it has been an amazing weekend - even though it was a heartbreaking one.”