Brides-to-be speak out after weddings venue closure
Couples due to get married next year have spoken of their feelings of uncertainty after the closure of a luxury venue near Keynsham.
Brides-to-be from across the area had paid thousands of pounds to secure Chewton Place for their nuptials over the coming months.
But the firm which runs events at the Georgian mansion, Aspire Venues, went into administration last week, throwing weddings and other family events into jeopardy.
Lauren Lane, 27, and her partner of ten years Daniel Welch, 28, have booked the location for their wedding on March 3.
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They have already paid out £4,500 to the company but are hoping they will get the money back through an insurance policy.
However, the couple, who live in Coleford with their two-year-old son Cohen, are now working on the assumption that they need to find a new venue.
Miss Lane said: "The problem is trying to find somewhere else. Also, we don't know if someone is taking over (Chewton Place) and whether they will honour all the bookings. We have only got nine weeks left."
An extra complication is that all the other arrangements, such as flowers, cars and the registrar, are all booked for that date, so they need to find a local venue that is available at short notice.
Miss Lane, who appealed for any venues with availability to get in touch, added: "This is not the best Christmas present."
Paralegal Jordan Bailes, 22, and her carpenter fiancé Matt Coles, 24, are due to have their wedding reception at Chewton Place on February 17.
They have handed over around £4,000 to secure the venue and are now worried they will not get that back, because they bought insurance only at the beginning of last week.
Without that money they are unable to pay for a new venue and are facing the prospect that their wedding might not happen at all.
Miss Bailes, who lives in Kingswood, said: "We are devastated. We don't know where we stand. We are seeing a lot of family over Christmas so will have to explain what is going on."
Naomi Reynolds and Stuart Maggs, from Hanham, in Bristol, had booked Chewton Place for their wedding in May and said the closure announcement had come completely out of the blue.
Miss Reynolds, a 29-year-old sales assistant, said: "We did it all early so we thought we could get Christmas out the way and just relax. It is just a big shock really."
The collapse of Aspire, which also operated at two other events venues in Backwell and Stroud, has resulted in 19 full-time staff and 20 casual workers losing their jobs.
Aspire has instructed a firm of insolvency practitioners to place it into administration, and creditors and clients with bookings are being written to.
Tim Ball, restructuring services partner at Bristol-based Mazars, is warning couples and families to "assume the worst" and work on the assumption they will not receive any deposits back. Instead, he is advising people with bookings to contact their insurers or credit card company.
However, the owners of Chewton Place are understood to be in talks with a potential new operator.
Rebecca Bozeat-Manzi, from the venue, said: "Aspire Venues Limited have ceased to trade but it is the intention to continue to run weddings, special events and conferences from Chewton Place if arrangements can be made.
"Important meetings and discussions are going on with all interested parties to that end."
A message left on Chewton Place's main telephone line advises people to email firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest situation.
If you run a venue that could help one of the couples, email news@ bathchron.co.uk and the Chronicle will pass on your details.