Bride in tears as planner does a runner

2013-07-12 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — When the driver passed the church’s entrance for the third time, the bride suspected the worst.

When her father-in-law arrived out of breath to press a bouquet of roses in her hand, she knew …

The wedding planner had left them in the lurch. There was no sign of the R21 000 wedding they had booked. But Monique Smith (22) pressed ahead and became Mrs Erasmus on Saturday, despite crying all the way down the aisle.

Metilda Mitchell, the bride’s aunt, is still seething. “It was a disaster. The bridesmaids cried. Half of the guests cried. It was more like a funeral than a wedding!”

Mario Erasmus (33) said his heart fell through his shoes when he heard there would be no decorations nor a wedding feast.

“My wife should not be this unhappy on her most important day,” he said.

He said the wedding planner had assured them the Friday night ahead of the wedding that everything would be all right — she told them she had even hired four people who would help to get everything ready the next morning for the wedding at 3 pm.

But when the wedding bells tolled on Saturday, the hall in which the reception was to take place was locked and there was not a petal, never mind flowers, in the church.

The first announcement in the church was that there would be no reception. “Do you know how terrible that is?” Mitchell said.

But family and friends started sending messages and some slipped out of church. When the kisses and photos were done, the small Rocklands farmers’ hall was festively prepared with tablecloths and plastic flowers, with braai packs and fires ready and a cake bought from the coffee shop.

The bride and groom were relieved to be able to host a reception but have laid a charge of fraud against the missing wedding planner. Walmer police confirmed that the complaint was laid.

If they get their R21 000 back, they will use the money to buy things for their first child, Erasmus said.

The wedding planner, whose name is withheld until she pleads in court, told sister paper Die Burger she wants to fix the mess she made.

“I swear I will pay back every cent. I am going through a very difficult emotional time — everything is out of control,” the wedding planner said.

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