Couple left shocked as Horsham hotel closure wrecks their wedding plans

A couple have been left shocked after a hotel near Horsham where they were due to get married announced its sudden closure last week.

Emilia Blaber and her fiance Ashley Theedom were due to wed at the Cisswood House Hotel at Lower Beeding next June and were staggered to learn it had closed.

“It has come as a real shock,” said Emilia.

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The couple had paid a £1,000 deposit last August and were still making plans for their Big Day when they heard from a neighbour that the hotel had shut.

Emilia Blaber and Ashley Theedom have had their marriage plans wrecked

“I have no idea what’s going to happen now,” said Emilia. “I have been phoning and emailing them but I haven’t heard anything.

“I very much doubt that we are going to get our money back.”

Emilia and Ashley, who live in Thakeham, had planned to hold their wedding ceremony itself at the hotel with 50 guests, along with a reception.

Emilia said that they had budgeted to spend £10,000. “Now we’ve just got £9,000. We’re trying to find another venue but it’s really difficult.”

Emilia and Ashley with daughters Gracie and Alicia

“The only other thing we have already booked is the registrar so we’re going to have to cancel that and I think there’s an extra charge for cancelling.”

Also disappointed are Emilia and Ashley’s daughters Alicia, eight, and two year-old Gracie who were to be flower girls at the wedding.

Announcing its closure, Cisswood House Hotel’s managing company - Royel Hotels - said it is taking steps to place the company into voluntary liquidation.

A spokesperson said: “As a result of the ongoing Covid pandemic and the continuing level of uncertainty surrounding the Omicron outbreak, we must sadly confirm that Royel Hotels UK Ltd, which manages Cisswood House Hotel, has had to cease trading and steps are being taken to place the company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.”

Insolvency practitioners BM Advisory have been instructed to assist in the liquidation.

Proposed joint liquidator Michael Solomons said: “The Cisswood House Hotel has been running successfully for a number of years, but unfortunately fell into financial difficulties due to the ongoing Covid restrictions and uncertainty.

“We understand that this will affect a number of people in particular those that have leisure memberships, wedding and other special occasion bookings.”

He said anyone affected should send enquires to [email protected] “and we will do our best to come back to you as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately, Royel Hotels UK is not in a position to fulfil the bookings.

“Once appointed the liquidators will market RHUL’s business and assets to ascertain whether any interested party will acquire these and whether it is possible for an interested party to take over the existing bookings.

“In the meantime, we would suggest the following: If an individual paid for their booking by credit card, they may have protection pursuant to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

“We suggest they contact their credit card issuer as soon as possible for information about how to claim a refund.

“If wedding insurance has been taken out, we suggest they contact their insurers as this may be an alternative way to obtain a refund subject to any excess that may be deducted from a successful claim.”