Couples left in the lurch after a Garstang hotel closed without warning have been racing against the clock to find new venues for their wedding receptions.
But now misery has turned to joy for David Barnfield and fiancee Jan Giannoccaro after they found a new wedding reception venue closer to home – just weeks before they were due to say: “I do”.
David along with some dozen other couples, had their wedding plans smashed when popular Garstang venue The Pickerings ceased trading on January 2.
David, a Homeless Officer from Chorley, explained the closure was a particular blow because he and Jan, a receptionist from Cottam, had built their wedding plans around the popular venue.
He said: “From our point of view the Pickerings offered us everything we wanted.
“The rooms were beautiful, We had agreed the menu.”
But he stressed he was sorry to learn of the owners’ difficulties in running the business due to family health problems, as reported in last week’s Courier, and said: “These things happen unfortunately with businesses.”
The couple are getting married at Garstang Free Methodist on February 16 and had arranged for many of their guests to stay at the hotel too.
But after visiting Haighton Manor at Fulwood on Monday they have booked to have their wedding breakfast there.
David said: “Marc (Bond general manager), who welcomed us made us feel so special and just wanted to make us feel as if nothing had ever upset our plans. In his words, ‘I want you to feel this is your first choice and that you are not just having to make do at this late hour’.
“The bedrooms were opulent and the whole place was extremely elegant, yet we felt so comfortable.
“Marc arranged a menu with us and was only too willing to accommodate the few special needs we requested.... he surprised us again when he gave us an incredible discount on the Bridal Suite and a further deduction as he wanted to ease the disappointment.”
Mr Alan Thornton, a director of The Pickerings, had pledged that all those who had made bookings will have their deposits returned.
He said they have already had several offers for the hotel.
He added: “We could have gone into receivership and not paid anybody a single penny but we’ve not done that.
“We’re not that type of family.”
He added that even those who had paid a non-refundable deposit to book rooms at the hotel would be refunded.
He said he and his son Ritchie will continue running the family’s long established engineering businesses YPH Welding Supplies and Bode Positioners of Stubbins Lane, Claughton. The Thornton family bought The Pickerings in 2007, after his daughter Samantha had worked there.
Samantha Thornton-Smith was the hotel’s general manager and is on maternity leave.
Mr Thornton said the business sale would be handled by local agents Armitstead Barnett. There is planning permission for housing to be built on the site.