Dream wedding to go ahead after council scuppers plans

A Christchurch couple whose wedding plans were scuppered after their venue was boarded up may yet wed happily ever after.

Julia Walker booked the Christchurch City Council-owned War Memorial Community Centre in New Brighton more than a year ago.

On Thursday, just nine days before the wedding, she rang the council to arrange access to the building.

She was told the building had been shrink-wrapped, surrounded by scaffolds, and the view had been covered up by wooden boards.

Her dream wedding became a nightmare.

"There is no way we can use that venue. We have no access to the deck, there is no view of the beach, even though it is literally a beachfront venue," she said.

"It would be like getting married in an abandoned warehouse."

Within hours of the couple's plight hitting headlines on Saturday, Rawhiti Golf Club in New Brighton and Corporate Club in Yaldhurst were offering the couple their venues.

Hirepool Events offered the couple a marquee if they found a place to pitch it.

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Walker said she hoped to view the venues this weekend.

"Things are looking a lot brighter," she said.

The council emailed Walker's fiance, Jimmy Williamson, on July 15, exactly a month before the wedding, informing him of the repairs.

He did not see the email. They did not receive a follow-up call to make sure they knew.

In the email, the council said it knew they would be "disappointed with the news", but told them it would be a "plus" that they would be the first to use the resurfaced floor.

On Thursday, in another email, it told them stilettos were forbidden due to the resurfaced floor. It also offered them a $250 discount from their total bill as compensation.

The couple had been scrambling to find another venue which would take the caterer, DJ, and decorations Walker had secured for the wedding.

Their marriage certificate, which they had just received, listed the centre as the venue, and Walker worried moving venues would mean the document was not legal.

Council community facilities rebuild manager Darren Moses said the council understood the impact of the scaffolding and shrink wrap, but said they were necessary to repair the facility.

He said the council had been in "regular contact", by phone and e-mail, with Walker over the last month.

Walker said this was not the case, and she had received only one email before she found out on Thursday.

The council would try to arrange an alternate venue, Moses said.

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