A Trowbridge couple, who had their wedding at the Civic Centre cancelled without explanation, believe an apologetic offer to pay for their new registrar’s fee was intended to gag them.
Sam White, 36, and Rob William, 38, of Heather Shaw, received an email from Trowbridge town clerk Lance Allan on Tuesday apologising after their room hire deposit, for £514.93, paid last spring, was sent back to them.
In the email, the couple received an offer to hold their wedding at the Civic Centre on April 20 as planned, at a reduced price, or pay £70 towards their rearranged registrar costs.
Now, mayor John Knight has said the debacle was a result of “human failure” on the town council’s part.
Office administrator Miss White said: “Quite frankly, I don’t trust them to deliver the wedding we want and we were told that if we accept either of these offers any future publicity would have to go through them.
“It would have been a nice enough gesture, but they can get stuffed offering to buy our silence for £70.”
The couple suffered a series of setbacks in trying to arrange their dream wedding and reception, for which they expected to pay around £5,000.
Problems came to a head when they felt they were being unreasonably charged for drinks.
For 36 bottles of wine and 36 bottles of Asti they were expected to pay either £1,020.60 for the centre to supply the drinks, or buy their own for £432, but pay the centre £684 in corkage fees.
Last Thursday, the Civic Centre’s management board met to discuss the issues they encountered.
Mayor John Knight said: “Lots of things were said at the meeting and it was a fairly warm atmosphere.
“It was a human failure where one member of our staff didn’t make the best of the situation and communicate well with our clients or within the organisation.
“We are concerned about bad publicity as we have had a lot of very successful weddings here that have been highly praised, but obviously things get more prominence when they go wrong.”
Looking to the future, Trowbridge Town Council hopes the centre will improve its communications with clients who book functions there.
Trowbridge councillor Peter Fuller said: “We have to learn a lesson from this incident and if we don’t we deserve to get a kicking for it. At the end of the day, that place is for the people of Trowbridge and it is unfortunate this misunderstanding has taken place.”
After having their deposit returned, the couple made alternative plans for their wedding to be held at West Barn, in Bradford on Avon, with their reception taking place at Westbury Conservative Club.
Last summer, the Civic Centre had to scrap a contract with Crown Catering after the company was criticised for being overpriced and badly run.
Mr Knight said: “I think this is a learning process, as was the debacle with Crown Catering, and we really have to learn from this in the future.”