'I didn't cancel it, he did': Fury of devastated bride-to-be
BRIDE-to-be Jacinta Campbell was beyond devastated when she received a phone call on Monday saying her wedding had been cancelled.
Now after being told she would not receive a full refund, Jacinta is furious.
Ever since she was a little girl, the 21-year-old Rosewood woman dreamed of the perfect day at the perfect venue in a beautiful country setting.
Woodlands at Marburg was the only place she ever wanted to tie the knot with fiance Jared, so in 2016 Jacinta began planning.
In February 2017, she booked the dates and has been paying off the wedding each week since.
On Monday, the venue's operator, Michael Ellison, phoned about 40 brides-to-be to deliver the news that he and partner Jared had made the difficult decision to close the function centre.
He said his health had declined and all events after April 6 would be cancelled. All were told they would receive a full refund.
Jacinta was one of those 40 brides.
She immediately looked for alternatives for her September 8 wedding and cancelled other features she had organised including fireworks and a glowing dance floor.
She lost the deposit on those extras.
Then Mr Ellison rang Jacinta again and said a new operator may have been found to take over the venue meaning the weddings were no longer cancelled, pending confirmation.
Mr Ellison told the QT, he asked all brides to wait until Monday, February 12, before making other plans.
But Jacinta has already dealt with two different operators while planning her wedding and wasn't prepared to risk her wedding for a "maybe".
"I'm devastated," Jacinta said.
"But I've already cancelled everything else and I don't want to risk that in six months' time, right before my wedding, this could happen again.
"I just want my money back."
Even though he told the QT and posted on Facebook in a private group that all weddings were cancelled and full refunds would be organised, Mr Ellison said legally he had not cancelled Jacinta's wedding or violated the contract.
Mr Ellison told Jacinta if a new operator was confirmed and she still wasn't prepared to go forward with the wedding she had cancelled she would forfeit the $1500 deposit, as specified in the contract.
"The only way that contract will be null and void is if I can't produce the goods," Mr Ellison said.
"She has been told she will either receive a full refund on Monday if (handing over the business to a new operator) does not go ahead."
After the shock of the first phone call, Jacinta has decided not to have a wedding reception.
"No place will ever compare to Woodlands," she said.
"But I can't trust them anymore. We were so happy with the wedding Michael had organised for us, so to have it end this way has been so devastating.
"I just want my deposit back. I didn't cancel the wedding. He did."
Cooper Property Group owns Woodlands but is not involved in the operation of the venue.
The group's CEO Graeme Harding said it had suggested Mr Ellison and his partner Randall sell the business, rather than shutting down.
"We will give them all the assistance we can to try and achieve that," Mr Harding said.
"Of course the business purchaser would have to be approved by us. We'll see if we get a response from a suitable candidate in time."