A bride-to-be has claimed her picturesque dream wedding has been ruined by scaffolding erected around the church.
Susan Forde, will marry partner, Rob, in just over a week’s time and had been looking forward to the big day after it being repeatedly pushed back because of the pandemic.
But she and her partner have been left distraught after scaffolding was erected around the Church of St Mary Magdelene in Melton, Leicestershire, ruining the couple’s picturesque location.
“I never thought I would get married, but I met Rob and that all changed,” Susan said.
“I’m a believer in God and want to get married in a church. I have been to Stapleford Hall a lot over the last 25 years and just fell in love with it. This was the only place I could imagine getting married at.
“When you’ve invested so much time and emotion into this over so many years, it’s upsetting that my dream has been ruined.”
The appearance of the scaffolding and associated works came at short notice and has left the couple from Oadby angry at those in charge of the church and Stapleford Hall.
After investing thousands in their wedding and delaying it multiple times, they say they’ve been badly let down.
Rob said: “We had paid so much over the years, money which has gone into the upkeep of the place and this is what we get in return?
“I’m angry they’ve behaved like this,” said Susan. “Why couldn’t they hold back until after our wedding? It would have been just a matter of days, that’s all.”
The Churches Conservation Trust, which owns the Church of St Mary Magdalene, said the scaffolding was needed out of urgency.
A spokesman said: “As a charity, we have been fortunate to receive a grant from the Government’s Heritage Stimulus Fund to carry out urgent repair work to the tower pinnacles and parapets of the west tower, which has become heavily fractured due to weather erosion and unstable,
“This funding opportunity is time-limited, and we are obliged to carry out the repair works as soon as possible.
“We are very sorry for the distress caused by the appearance of scaffolding at the church. We realise the huge impact this must have had on the individuals involved and for this, we are very sorry.”
Stapleford Hall was keen to point out how urgent the works were.
A spokesman added: “As the work was deemed as essential emergency repairs, Stapleford Park is pleased that this amazing church is being safeguarded for the future.
“We sympathise greatly for the couple and can confirm that no element of the wedding ceremony or reception has been affected due to the nature of the works to the exterior of the church.”
“We have also offered suitable alternative ceremony locations for the couple.”
Susan and Rob turned down this alternate offer and will go ahead with the ceremony on December 19 even though it wasn’t how they had imagined.
It’s a major part of our day,” said Susan. “There’s a picture of the church on our order of service. We’ve got people coming from Ireland and Leeds for the day and all of them want to see the church.”
“This isn’t going to be the same. It’s so disappointing.”
“We’ve been treated shoddily and are not happy,” said Rob.
“We believe more could have been done to avoid this happening.”
The Churches Trust said they did everything they could.
A spokesman said; “We were in touch with the Stapleford Estate as soon as we were aware of the works needing to take place at the church to enable them to liaise with the couples and we offered options of rescheduling or refunds.
“In the meantime, our contractors are doing what they can to make the church as presentable as possible despite the scaffolding.”