Couples 'devastated' as venue cancels weddings to build more bedrooms

Couples are now scrambling to find new venues in time after the Gilvenbank Hotel cancelled all planned events.

Devastated couples say they’ve had their dreams “taken” after their wedding venue cancelled all planned events.

The Gilvenbank Hotel in Glenrothes has decided to build more hotel rooms into its event space, and with construction said to begin soon that meant any planned events won’t go ahead, leaving couples just months to find a new venue for their big day.

While the owners of the Gilvenbank, Kingdom Hotels, insist they informed all cancelled bookings via either letter or email, some couples have claimed they found out through social media.

Megan Castel and her partner Stacey were all set to tie the knot on August 1.

She told STV News: “I had woke up on Saturday morning, made myself a cup of tea and opened social media.

“Somebody had posted the email they’d received (from the Gilvenbank) followed by a frantic search to see if it was true.

“We were absolutely devastated to find out via social media.

Megan says they've been 'losing sleep' as they struggle to find a new venue in time

“In the first instance the company should have contacted us.

“To this day we’ve still not had any contact with the Gilvenbank regarding the cancellation of our wedding, we had to phone them.”

This now means Megan and Stacey, alongside dozens of other couples, have to scramble to find another venue.

Kingdom Hotels assure they will be refunding everyone in full, but that doesn’t mean finding a replacement will be easy.

In many cases family and friends have booked flights, and couples have secured other vendors who can only do the previously arranged dates.

Claire Aitken was set to marry partner Malcolm in October, and also only came to find out of the cancellations while scrolling through Facebook.

She had the news confirmed after phoning the Gilvenbank the following morning.

“You’re trying frantically, along with every other bride to get your date secured at another location.

“We had literally everything sorted for our wedding. Everything.

Claire says she and partner Malcolm are 'back to square one'

“The last thing we had to do was speak to their supplier who provides the invitations.

“That was the last thing we had to do, and now I’m back to square one trying frantically to find a venue.”

On finding out about the cancellation through social media, Claire said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. For a company with multiple businesses in Fife, you expect a level of trust.

“And they’ve just thrown that out the window with the way they’ve handled this.”

Kingdom Hotels, who has not responded directly to STV’s request for comment, told the Courier: “We have to look at our businesses and the sad thing is functions suites are being used less and less.

“Weddings are becoming smaller and since the pandemic, everybody seems to be tightening their belt on celebrations.

“Effectively, what we have is a function room that is not getting used enough.

“When you pay rates on a business as high as we are, you have to maximise the business space.

“We feel there is more of a demand for occupancy rooms rather than a function room.

“Official letters went out as well as emails for people we didn’t have an address for.

“They were sent out yesterday via first class so you would assume they’d be seen this morning.

“It’s unfortunate, but we can’t be blamed for slow post.”

The GIlvenbank Hotel is turning the event space into more occupancy roomsSTV News

Other local venues have stepped forward to try and help, with some even offering to match deals couples had in place before.

Although there is of course limited availability in most calendars.

The Old Manor Hotel in the East Neuk is one of those trying to get in touch with disappointed couples.

General manager Steven Carleschi said: “We certainly wanted to try and help. Some people were customers of the hotel before, some had been people in the community that we knew.

“I think it was just about trying to do our best by reaching out with some of the dates we had available.

“We still do have some dates available this year, we also have a sister hotel, the Bay Hotel along at Kinghorn, and certainly if you want to reach out and get in touch with us we can try and accommodate you as best we can.”

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