THE diocese of Lincoln has defended a decision to stop holding wedding receptions and cancel existing bookings at the Old Palace, which has been converted into a hotel, after more than 30 couples were told to find a new venue.
The hotel, which is next to Lincoln Cathedral, has scrapped all of its wedding-reception bookings from 1 January 2016, blaming “wear and tear” on the listed building.
A letter posted on 12 August to people affected said that the cancellations were because of a “business reorganisation that significantly restricts the space and facilities available for hospitality at these premises”. Up to 35 couples’ bookings are believed to have been cancelled.
Deposits are being refunded, but some brides say that they face losing money paid out to other suppliers unless they can keep the same date, and are struggling to find a suitable Saturday venue at such short notice.
One of the brides, Rachel Toward, said: “I am angry at the way they have handled it, and that they feel a letter in the post is an acceptable way to break the news to somebody that the biggest day of their life has just been cancelled.”
Another bride said that she stands to lose £3000 in deposits unless another venue for her chosen date can be found. She has only eight months left until the wedding. “I was in floods of tears; I was beside myself,” she said. “All weekend, I’ve been on the phone to different venues across Lincolnshire.”
It is believed that the diocese of Lincoln is considering moving into part of the former hotel building. The deputy diocesan secretary, Will Harrison, said, however, that there were “no firm plans. . . We are doing what we can to help wedding parties find alternative venues.”