Harrogate businesses come together to save dream wedding after couple left in lurch

A couple who lost their dream wedding have enjoyed a magical day after Harrogate businesses came to the rescue.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:15 am
The happy couple, Kirsty and Craig, on their wedding day. Photos courtesy of Ben Jamieson.

Latest news on Harrogate's new London rail servicesFollowing the collapse of Thomas Cook last month, Yorkshire couple Kirsty Ward and Craig Williams were left with the news that not only had they lost their holiday, but they also got hit with the news that they were losing their wedding day in Cyprus, something they had spent three years saving up for. T

he couple had planned to fly out with nearly 30 friends and family and their three children and were left devastated by the news that the whole booking had been cancelled and the news that the wedding was off.

That was until local entrepreneur and hotelier Philip Barker stepped in to save the day and offer to host the couple’s wedding completely free of charge.

The happy couple, Kirsty and Craig, on their wedding day. Photos courtesy of Ben Jamieson.

Within 24 hours of the news breaking, Kirsty and Craig were invited to Harrogate to see what could be done to save the day and plans were quickly put in place to help them re-plan their special day so the wedding could go ahead after all.

Managing Director for HRH Group which owns the White Hart and Fat Badger, Simon Cotton said: “Being in the travel industry ourselves, it was a sad day to see the end of Thomas Cook as an operator and our sympathies go out to the many staff who have been left not knowing what will happen with their jobs.

"I’m also in the middle of planning my own wedding for next year and I really felt for this couple who’d spent all this time planning and saving up to then have it all taken away at the last minute and I couldn’t help but think we must try to do something and I called Philip to let him know of the couple’s plight. He’s great with things like this and a very generous person so didn’t hesitate to want to help out.

“What has been equally amazing is that since the story initially broke, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with offers of further help from businesses and suppliers around Harrogate who also wanted to do their bit to help this couple out.

The happy couple, Kirsty and Craig, on their wedding day. Photos courtesy of Ben Jamieson.

"What started as an offer to provide the wedding venue and wedding breakfast and drinks has turned into a wedding far bigger and with so much more than the couple had originally planned or could afford. It started with a phone call from David Cornforth of Wharfedale Cars who called to offer the couple free use of a 1930s style vintage Beauford Tourer.”

The good news continued with more phone calls; BeBaBo Hair Salon stepped in offering to do both the hair and makeup for the bridal party; local photographer Ben Jamieson offered his services free of charge, Louise at Four Seasons provided the flowers along with Party Fever taking care of the balloons and décor.

The Stray has been handed back to Harrogate council from Yorkshire 2019White Rose Beauty School also offered a full afternoon pamper package for the bridal party which included pedicure, manicure, massage and more for the bride, bride's mother, grandmother, sister-in-law to be and the two children.

Family run Mama Doreen’s Emporium also came forward and offered to do the couple’s wedding cakes and 4D photobooth provided a magic mirror for the evening entertainment with was provided courtesy of Dean Sowden of Scran Restaurant and Bar

The happy couple, Kirsty and Craig, on their wedding day. Photos courtesy of Ben Jamieson.

Slingsby Gin also offered a free drinks reception.

Bride Kirsty Ward said: “I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by so many people and we can’t thank the people of Harrogate enough for wanting to do this for us. We just didn’t expect anything like this at all.

"One minute we’re counting the cost of losing our wedding day and the next thing, we’re in the middle of organising something bigger and better than it was originally going to be, it’s just amazing and Craig and I can’t believe how lucky we are. We will be forever grateful to all the people who’ve been so thoughtful and kind-hearted.

"Particular thanks go to Simon and Fran at the White Hart who’ve helped with co-ordinating everything and helping us plan our special day, we’re just so excited.”

The happy couple, Kirsty and Craig, on their wedding day. Photos courtesy of Ben Jamieson.

The couple were met and welcomed officially to Harrogate by the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Stuart Martin and his wife April, who presented Kirsty and Craig with a magnum of champagne to help kick off their celebrations.

Holding the wedding local brought with it the added benefit that many more friends could come and join them for the evening reception which wouldn’t have been possible had they gone abroad.

Groom Craig added: “I guess sometimes things happen for a reason but we had no idea upon hearing the bad news that we’d end up a few weeks later with more than we had originally planned and I’d also like to pass on my sincere thanks to Philip, Simon and everyone who’s been so incredibly kind to us as a family."

The White Hart Hotel had offered them a package worth over £3,000 including a three-course wedding breakfast and drinks package, room hire, accommodation and a DJ.

With all the generosity from the other businesses stepping forward, the couple have a wedding package now worth over £7,000.

Based in the heart of the prestigious Montpellier Quarter, the grade II listed White Hart is one of the most historic and luxurious in the town centre.

Top 5 myths about impact of UCI cycling on Harrogate and the StrayHRH Group, founded in 2012, focuses on delivering northern hospitality with a strong focus on Rosette quality food and beverage, and charming hotel & inn bedrooms in historic and beautiful locations.