‘Crying for days’: Dream wedding turns to nightmare
APRIL 7 was meant to be the happiest day of Chloe Williamson's life.
Now she and fiance Jake Wyatt are scrambling to recover nearly $8000 from Hampton Estate Wines after cancelling their wedding because of the coronavirus.
"I have been crying for days," Ms Williamson said. "I just can't believe they won't give us our money back. I'm also kicking myself for paying in full before the final payment was actually due (March 24)."
The Ormeau Hills couple reluctantly called off their wedding because they have family and friends in New Zealand and interstate that aren't allowed to travel - and because of rules in regards to social distancing.
"I had finalised everything, my dress, handmade decorations and I had even paid the venue in full so I was organised," Ms Williamson said.
The venue offered to postpone to a later date, but declined to give the couple a refund.
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"We're happy to lose our $500 deposit, but we can't lose $7980, especially as we're not sure about what the future holds in regards to our employment and that's a fair chunk of our savings they are keeping," Mr Wyatt said. "It took us a long time to save this much money."
He said it wasn't an option to continue the wedding because it was not feasible to ask people to quarantine for 14 days ahead of their nuptials.
"They told us we can postpone and rebook at a later date but we can't be without that much money until then," Mr Wyatt said.
"We would have been happy to rebook at the venue, because we really like it, but we won't be now they are holding on to our money. We just want our money back, why should they keep it?"
In a statement Hampton Estate Wines owner Karen Rea she had advised Ms Williamson to postpone.
"She advised she wanted a full refund," Ms Rea said. "I advised as per her T&C as she was cancelling and as it wasn't under government advice then the terms and conditions would stick. I did offer her a 50 per cent refund in light of the situation".
Ms Rea added that "Hampton Estate Wines is a family run business and in the current economic climate, I'm sure you can understand that the next few weeks and months will be tough on any small business. We truly appreciate your understanding given the circumstances."
The Bulletin asked whether the business would give the young couple their money back, to which the manager Hope Rust replied "we will discuss that with Chloe should she respond to our correspondence and not with the media".
Ms Williamson said she had been advised by Fair Trade, who she has made a complaint with, to cease communication with the winery.
In an email between the couple and winery, Ms Rust said "as per the ACCC we are not required to have a COVID-19 policy in place and as mentioned we are still in full operation until advised by the health organisation that we are no longer able to operate in our current capacity as a venue".
Originally published as 'Crying for days': Coast couple's dream wedding turns nightmare