AN ANGRY bride-to-be hit out at a Purton wedding venue because she faces losing her £4,000 deposit or paying extra to delay her big day.

Lucy Finch has been planning her September wedding to fiancé Eddy at The Pear Tree for 16 months. But is now frustrated that she cannot postpone the celebration to next year. She fears that keeping the original date will limit who can attend and put vulnerable loved ones at risk.

She claims that the venue is only allowing free postponements in the eight weeks before the date, or unless government guidelines force them to do so - the company disputes this and says that they have offered this at up to 14-weeks' notice.

The 29-year-old from West Swindon said: “I realised in May that I didn’t want it to go ahead this year because of the restrictions. I can’t imagine 100 people being allowed in one room in a few months’ time.

“My nan’s 92, and my dad and one of my bridesmaids have asthma so they’re shielding. It wouldn’t be a proper wedding if they weren’t there – who would walk me down the aisle? It’s ridiculous to have to wait until it’s eight weeks away before being able to delay without losing the £4,000 deposit, if they treat it as a cancellation, or paying a transfer fee.

“The longer I wait, the fewer dates will be available next year and they’re still taking new bookings when existing ones like ours that need to be delayed should get priority.”

Lucy and Eddy have been together for three years and she has been planning their big day for much of that time. Lucy hopes to have a provisional new wedding date as soon as possible because florists, caterers and photographers have already been booked and she wants to rearrange with them before their 2021 schedules are too full.

Near the end of May, the Pear Tree opened its doors again to allow interested couples to tour the grounds.

A spokesperson for the venue said: “The Pear Treehad to react quickly to understand the impact of Covid-19 on both our business and our booked couples.

“We moved swiftly in the first instance to postpone without charge those weddings that simply could not go ahead due to government restrictions.

“Without any further clarity, we have then continued to extend the opportunity to postpone and since mid-May have been offering this out to the end of August, a full 14 weeks in advance, at a huge cost to our business.

"Despite the devastating impact on our business, the pressures on our team, and the scale and urgency of the task, this has been an entirely cooperative and amicable process with virtually all our couples with very few exceptions.

“We appreciate that couples beyond August are also anxious about their own weddings but we hope that further updates from the government will provide some clarity for us all.

"As things stand, we expect to be able to put on a fantastic wedding for all dates beyond August. If that situation changes, we will of course continue to act fairly and reasonably but our business cannot afford to move or cancel now weddings in the future that we currently expect to be able to put on.

“For those who need a resolution now, the standard transfer fees in their contract do apply but we have demonstrated fairness since the outbreak of Covid-19 to those affected and will continue to do so.

"Having invested millions in the two-year renovation of The Pear Tree to create a stunning venue with a brilliant team, we can’t wait to get back to hosting happy, fun and safe weddings for our couples as soon as possible."