Couple's wedding plans rescued by Harrogate hotel's generosity
There has been a happy ending to the story of the Knaresborough couple who work in the NHS whose wedding plans were derailed by the lockdown and the closure of a top Harrogate hotel as the town's hospitality sector has come to the rescue.
Ali Farr, 32, and Ben Cross, 31, got in touch with the Harrogate Advertiser after their plans to get married fell apart through no fault of their own not once but twice.
Community nurse Ali was scheduled to marry paramedic Ben at St John’s Church in Knaresborough with the wedding reception at St George Hotel on Ripon Road in Harrogate.
The couple, who first met while studying at The University of Chester, had already been forced to cancel the original date of May 1 at this Country Living hotel because of the coronavirus lockdown and had rearranged the date for the end of the year.
More than more than 100 guests were expected to attend, some coming from as far away as Australia, when more bad news arrived to scupper their plans agains - Specialist Leisure Group, which owns Country Living Hotels including St George Hotel in Harrogate, had collapsed and gone into administration.
The couple issued an SOS for help and, fortunately, Harrogate's hospitality stepped up to the plate.
Although they may still end up, potentially, being thousands of pounds out of pocket, they are now able to afford a wedding reception thanks to the support of Harrogate hotels.
Ali Farr said: "With help from my maids of honour; my sister Leah and best friend Claire, we managed to secure the Majestic Hotel who kindly offered the hotel at a reduced rate.
"The help has been quite overwhelming but it means everything that we are going to be able to have a wedding at such a beautiful venue.
"The plan is to get married at the hotel. But the registry office are not taking new bookings so we may have to have our ‘big day’ and then make it official at a later date. "
But she said the financial situation was still worrying even though they were trying to reclaim the payments they had already made for the original wedding plans.
Ali said: "We are essentially having to pay twice for our venue. It’s tough as all we have been doing is saving for this day, working overtime where possible and having to do it more so in the current climate is worrying."
Though difficult a times, the couple have managed to retain a sense of humour about the whole situation.
Ali said: "We are trying to remain as positive as we can be with the help of our lovely family and friends.
"On our invites I jokingly put if my guests didn’t rsvp for them to bring a sandwich and a chair, I’m hopeful we can save again so this won’t be the case for them.
"We would also like to thank the Cedar Court Hotel for kindly coming forward with an offer of help earlier."
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