Heartbroken bridal couples have been left out-of-pocket after being jilted by a leading wedding venue.
Dozens of men and women are now facing a race against time to sort alternative arrangements for their big day after discovering the doors shut at the Rock Hotel, Holywell Green.
Couples have had no explanation for the sudden closure and cancellations of wedding ceremonies and no offer of refunds for deposits from either recent publican Lawrence Smith or hotel owner Enterprise Inns.
One bride and groom to be were stunned to find the hotel boarded up just days before they were due to tie the knot tomorrow.
Paul Delee and Maggie Hannah, booked The Rock in April for their wedding reception this Saturday.
Maggie said she thought someone was playing a prank when she received the phone call to say the hotel was vacant with less than a week before their big day.
The couple, both 51, of Huddersfield, who had paid £1,800 in full for their wedding, said they feel “utterly betrayed” by the licensee and the leased and tenanted pub company who they have tried to desperately contact.
“We have had text message replies from Lawrence Smith apologising.
“Enterprise Inns haven’t been helpful. No-one has contacted us, it’s criminal.”
Fortunately, for Paul and Maggie, Berties @ La Cachette at neighbouring Elland, which was the catering contractors for The Rock, came to the rescue and said they would offer a free wedding package to the “jilted” couple.
Bertie’s @ La Cachette managing director, Jon Nichols, said: ““We were concerned to learn that The Rock had suddenly closed its doors, but more concerned for Maggie and Paul.
“As catering provider for a proportion of The Rock’s wedding bookings, we would like to help out wherever possible to make sure that any future wedding bookings in the immediate future go ahead as planned.”
Maggie said she is so relieved that Bertie’s @ La Cachette has stepped in to save her big day.
“The staff at Bertie’s have been amazing - we can’t thank them enough,” said Maggie.
Newlywed Shelf couple, Adam, 35, and Emma Johnson, 36, who tied-the-knot in Kos, Greece, but who had booked a wedding party for last Saturday at The Rock Hotel said they were “shocked” to see their party venue boarded up less than 24 hours before hundreds of guests were due to arrive.
“We turned up the night before as we had a room booked and were planning on enjoying an evening celebrating with champagne. When we saw it all boarded up and a notice saying ‘nothing of any value was left inside’, well we just stood there in shock, it was surreal, we thought it was a hoax.” said Adam.
Mr Johnson said they had received an email from the hotel’s manager on September 1 asking to confirm a champagne reception for 250 guests to which they replied.
“We had no inclination that anything was wrong from the correspondence. We feel totally ripped off,” he said.
The couple and their guests had booked all 29 rooms.
A frantic Adam and Emma then dashed around in a hope to find an accommodating venue.
Fortunately, Halifax’s Tower House came to the rescue and the couple then made contact with their guests to tell them of the change of venue although a number of guests were unable to make it due to accommodation shortage.
Tower House manager Robert Oddy said :”It was a mad turn-around but we managed to sort it so that it was all alright on the night.”
“In the end we had a lovely evening regardless and were just so happy Tower House could accommodate us,” said Emma.
Another couple Mandy Clarke and Russ Crowther, of Pye Nest, who paid a deposit for their wedding ceremony and breakfast party at the The Rock Hotel on October 11 said they too were horrified to learn of the sudden closure after receiving a call from Halifax Register Office.
Mandy, pictured, said they are “furious” they have had no proper communication from either the manager of the hotel or Enterprise Inns.
Sharon English and Lee Sherwood, 43, of Wheatley, Halifax, were also “devastated” to discover the September 2015 wedding they had booked and put down a deposit on had been cancelled with no official warning or refund.
Mr Oddy, of the Tower House, Pye Nest, and Mr Nichols, of Berties, said they have had a number of distraught bride and grooms-to-be coming to them in the hope of sourcing an alternative venue to accommodate their big day.
There was hope that the hotel may re-open after a voice mail recording said it was due to re-open on September 10.
But the voice mail recording was then changed to say the venue would remain closed and inquiries should be directed to Enterprise Inns.
Enterprise Inns said it became aware of the closure after a couple, who were staying at the hotel, had gone out for a walk to return to a boarded-up site.
All the couples have been told by Enterprise Inns that the responsibility of the bookings and refunds lies with the publican and they would not be reimbursing any of the victims.
Enterprise Inns, when approached by the Courier, said: “We were made aware earlier this week that The Rock had closed due to the publican’s decision to cease trading and leave the hotel.
“Whilst we own the property, The Rock has been operated totally independently by the publican with sole responsibility for the day-to-day running of the business, including all bookings. We were given no notification of his intention to leave and have had no further communication from him.”
The Courier was unable to contact Lawrence Smith.
The Rock Hotel freehold is for sale for £725,000 with specialist leisure property firm Fleurets which has offices in Manchester and London.