Bride stunned as wedding venue closes six weeks before her big day

Sarah Carty
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

A couple has been left without a wedding reception venue, just six weeks before their big day, after finding out on the news that it unexpectedly closed its doors over the weekend.

Melanie MacPherson, who hails from Melbourne, told Be her fiancé’s mum rang the couple on Sunday to let them know that The Willows on St Kilda Rd had gone into liquidation.

The call was the first the 41-year-old bride and her fiancé had heard of the sudden closure, with Melanie claiming the venue didn’t even email them to let them know their August 11 wedding day would be thrown into disarray.

Melanie said The Willows emailed her last Thursday to organise a time to meet to discuss reception details and when she replied, she realised that the email and the website had been shut down.

A couple has been left without a wedding reception venue, just six weeks before their big day, after finding out on the news that it has unexpectedly closed its doors. Photo: Getty Images

However, it never crossed her mind that they would have gone into liquidation and tried to call them to let them know there was something wrong with their systems.

“We found out a couple of days later what had happened and we were like, oh well that’s nice isn’t it,” Melanie told Be.

“I’m just stunned that they can think this is an appropriate way to do business.”

Melanie’s parents had paid the venue $5,000, which was half of the total price.

“My mum and dad contributed the same amount to my two older sisters’ weddings, and the idea was that they would do the same for us” she said.

“But the understanding was because my parents paid the first two-and- a-half thousand with their credit card, they were supposed to be able to claim that back.

“That’s not looking like it’s going to happen.”

The couple had sent out their wedding invitations and Melanie now believes that the sudden change in venue might affect their guest list.

The Willows on St Kilda Rd shut up shop, leaving couples without a wedding venue. Photo: Supplied

“We can understand if we’ve got to move everything, things are going to change, people might not want to come from interstate anymore depending on what we can do,” she said.

“We think we’ve told everyone. I’ve remembered to tell the cake maker, it’s all those little things.

“I guess we’re lucky in that The Willows offered most stuff, like they offered the decorations, so there’s not a lot of outside sources that have to be rejiggled.”

Melanie said that thankfully, she had never dreamt about her ideal wedding and saw the reception as more of a fun party.

“We really want a quiet wedding anyway so we hadn’t hired music or anything like that. We were going to do it all ourselves,” Melanie said.

“We had friends that were going to do the photos so we’re lucky. We’ve got a smaller budget.

“I feel so incredibly sorry for any of the people that were supposed to be this week.”

Now, Melanie and her fiancé are tasked with finding another venue in just six weeks, with the bride creating a spreadsheet in the past few days to fill with new appointments.

“My fiancé is catholic, so we’ve got to make sure there’s a church nearby and we want to make sure we’re getting similar things,’ she said.

“A lot of the ones that are left, if we were looking at spending $10,000, we’re going to be close to $20,000, just for a similar thing.

“We’ve got saving but that was going to be to buy a block of land and build a house It does change things.”

All efforts by Be to contact The Willows have gone unanswered.

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