A couple who had already postponed their dream wedding once due to the coronavirus pandemic have now found out they will have to move the date for a second time – because their venue is becoming a ‘vaccination centre.’
Simon Jones, 38, and Jenna Roberts, 34, from Porth in Rhondda Cynon Taff, booked their wedding two years ago and were originally due to get married at Margam Orangery, Margam Park, in July this year, but the coronavirus pandemic meant they had to adjust, rescheduling the big day for July, 2021.
“Even though this was heartbreaking to do we knew it was the right decision following the government guidelines and this did meet us with a lot of extra cost.
“We have had to get new save the date cards made, we had to have all of our banners remade as they had the original date on so we were all set to start our planning again for our dream wedding in 2021,” Simon said.
However, Mr Jones was told on Friday, November 27, that it would not be possible to get married in 2021 either, as Margam Park has been chosen as the location of a new vaccination centre by Neath Port Talbot Council.
It is understood that 64 weddings have had to be postponed.
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“There’s going to be a knock-on effect for everybody who has a wedding planned, and for all of the suppliers as well,” the 38-year-old said.
Mr Jones explained that the reason for the couple’s concern was due to the fact that it might end up costing them thousands of pounds they were unsure whether they would receive compensation for.
“It’s going to come with a cost for us, and we need to find out from the council if we will be reimbursed at all,” said Mr Jones.
As it currently stands, the couple are now due to get married in Margam Park in 2022.
“We didn’t want to change the venue as we’d fallen in love with it,” he said.
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Discussing the way in which Margam Park had handled the situation, he added: “They’ve been brilliant throughout it all.”
The problem, he said, was due to factors outside of the venue’s control, and the need to rebook things and change certain suppliers due to the couple’s original choices not being available on the new date.
“We’ve paid all of our deposits for everybody. But we’ve had to find a new videographer now because the new date that we’ve got for 2022, they’re not available,” he said.
In addition to the financial implications of the date change, the couple also said they were finding it tough to keep rescheduling their big day on an emotional level.
“It’s a bit gutting for us because we’ve changed it from this year to next year because of everything that had happened anyway.
“Now we are in a situation where we are set to have to spend another £2000 to replace suits and dresses that were bought for our children who were involved in the wedding as bridesmaids and pageboys and as growing children they will no longer fit in the clothes.
“We have lost deposits from suppliers that now cannot make our new date or any other date that was offered.
“We have many elderly relatives who were looking forward to seeing their grandchildren get married, we are now having to push it back a further year and a half, we now don’t know if these relatives will make our wedding,” he added.
A spokesman for Margam Orangery said: “It is with sincere regret that weddings booked for Margam Orangery in 2021 will need to be postponed.
“This decision was not taken lightly, as Swansea Bay University Health Board and Neath Port Talbot Council realise the disappointment and inconvenience this will cause couples.
“Margam Orangery will play a crucial role in the Covid-19 vaccination programme for the residents of Neath Port Talbot. It is planned to deliver 500 vaccinations a day, seven days a week, to safeguard the health of local residents as quickly as possible.
“This vaccination programme is hoped to begin in the New Year. The Orangery was chosen after 12 potential sites offered by Neath Port Talbot and Swansea councils were carefully scrutinised.
“It was one which was best able to provide all the facilities needed for mass vaccination, including accessibility, car parking, size, and safety considerations.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to work around the wedding dates, although this option was carefully considered, the venue explained.
“Because the vaccination facilities need time to be put up and taken down, each wedding would result in three days being lost to the programme, equivalent to 1,500 vaccinations per wedding.
“This would have caused considerable delays in safeguarding the health of our communities, and it is likely that some people would have fallen seriously ill or died as a result.”
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Councillor Peter Rees, cabinet member for education, skills and culture said: “Weddings are milestone events in our lives. We understand that this will cause disappointment, and sincerely apologise.
“But we do ask that the couples and their families understand that we would not take this action unless it was absolutely necessary and in the interests of public safety. The Orangery is the ideal local venue for a mass vaccination centre for Neath Port Talbot and in the months ahead will play a pivotal role in saving lives.”
“Couples who book their wedding at the Orangery are highly valued customers and we take pride in being part of their special day.
“The Orangery manager is personally calling each couple to explain the situation and offer alternative dates. We thank everyone he has spoken to so far for their understanding.
“We will honour our 2020 prices for any of the couples who chose an alternative date in 2022, and will offer them first refusal to move back to their original date, should the vaccination programme be completed earlier than next December.
“Should any of the parties wish to cancel, we will of course refund their deposit in full.”