Wedding couples ‘let down’ after venue is sold

The Blue Bell at Burton Agnes
The Blue Bell at Burton Agnes

Twenty future brides and grooms are having to rearrange their wedding receptions following the sale of a village pub.

The Bluebell pub in Burton Agnes has changed hands, leaving couples who have booked the venue for their big day to find an alternative reception.

Ben Kirkham and Julie Green, of Swanland Avenue in Bridlington, were due to have their wedding reception at the Bluebell in August but they have now had to cancel the booking.

“I heard a rumour about the place closing so I had to call and find out what was happening,” said Ben.

“We were initially told there was nothing to worry about. A few days later we find out that the hotel has changed hands and won’t be continuing wedding bookings.”

Ben and Julie have been left out of pocket after sending their invitations out to their guests after paying the £500 deposit to secure the Bluebell for their special day, which they have had returned by Alan Wilson’s company.

“We feel like we have been completely let down.

“There has been a lot of planning with invitations sent out to our guests which will now have to be sent again at our own expense. We have been sold down the river.”

The couple of 12 years paid their deposit around three months ago but since their reception has been cancelled, have not found a replacement venue.

“Fingers crossed we can get sorted out,” said Ben. “We had our hearts set on the Bluebell and now we’re having to look elsewhere to book a reception on bank holiday weekend which is going to prove a struggle.

“We have a couple of ideas in our heads but it has got to the point where we were discussing cancelling the whole day altogether.”

Ben and Julie are just one of 20 couples who were due to have their wedding reception at the Bluebell up until autumn.

The ownership of the Bluebell was transferred on Friday, April 15 with Alan Wilson, the director of the company who formerly owned the pub, stepping down.

Mr Wilson has admitted his disappointment at having to cancel the wedding receptions and make his staff redundant with such short notice.

“I think it shows our integrity that the deposits have been repaid already to the couples involved as there was an air of concern there,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we have had to make the fantastic staff redundant with less than 48 hours’ notice and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Mark Sanders, owner of Huge Holiday Homes, has purchased the Bluebell and has said he did not know anything about the wedding bookings until three weeks ago.

“The takeover is of the building itself, the bricks and mortar, not the actual business. We have had a number of complaints about weddings and loss of staff which has had nothing to do with me,” he said. “I only found out about the weddings the other week in which I told him we had no intention to host them. We have never run weddings in the past so we wouldn’t do this. Huge Holiday Homes has its own business plan.

“I offered to lease the building back to Alan to honour the bookings but he was not interested.

“It is obviously a stressful time for those with the bookings. The solicitors for both Huge Holiday Homes and Alan Wilson have been involved throughout the process and we are legally bound to complete what is in the contract.”