Meet the world’s unluckiest bride whose honeymoon was cancelled by Thomas Cook collapsing, hen do ruined by a stripper breaking his leg and a big day scrapped – by coronavirus.
Mum-of-two Steph Carr, 31, had been over the moon when her partner of 13 years James Fuller, 35, popped the question.
But a month later her dream wedding venue booking was cancelled when Netflix bought the venue.
She booked another place and also a two week trip to Florida for her honeymoon but devastatingly lost the £3,500 holiday when Thomas Cook collapsed.
But then her hen do ended in disaster when the ‘Dreamboy’ broke his leg and knocked an elderly woman unconscious after falling in the crowd.
And now her wedding next week and her subsequent rebooked honeymoon have been cancelled – due to coronavirus.
Mum-of-two Steph said: “It has been absolutely devastating – you start to feel like your wedding is cursed, like how could so many things go wrong?
“This is supposed to be every girl’s dream come true and a fairytale day but it has been more like a nightmare.”
Steph gave RealFix the full story…
As I opened the front door, my kids came trundling in with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of prosecco in their hands.
My partner of 13 years, James, 35, followed looking a bit nervous.
‘What’s all this for?’ I asked, Sophie, 11, and Harry, six – slightly taken aback.
James was an old romantic, but the gesture had come out of nowhere.
‘Daddy has a question to ask you,’ Harry chimed, giggling.
‘Will you marry me, Steph?’ James asked.
I was so shocked I could barely find the words.
‘Yes!’ I squealed eventually, flinging my arms around James and the kids.
We popped open the bubbly and toasted our engagement.
James had planned to propose the next day – after whipping up a Sunday roast – but he’d got excited and blurted it out early.
It didn’t matter to me how he popped the question, I was just thrilled he was finally making an honest woman of me!
I set about wedding planning straight away.
Excited, I couldn’t help myself.
‘Colour schemes, favours, flowers…’ there’s so much to think about, I sighed happily to myself.
Super organised, I enjoyed researching.
Everything seemed to fall in place quite quickly.
James and I went to a wedding fayre at nearby Littleton Park House at Shepperton Studios for inspiration – and we fell in love with the venue.
With it’s beautiful orangery, foyer with a grand piano and a white star-lit dance floor, it was perfect.
Luckily it was within our budget and we couldn’t wait to book it.
We set about making a wedding website and drawing up our guest list.
We booked lots of suppliers – opting for a pianist, florist, vintage car, photo booth, photographer and videographer.
And set about putting together our seating plan.
We even booked our honeymoon – two weeks in Florida with the kids straight after the big day. We planned to do all of the Disneyland parks, swim with dolphins and hoped to soak up the sunshine.
‘It’s all coming along nicely,’ I sighed, ticking off my to-do list with a flourish.
But in April 2019, I answered the phone and someone from our wedding venue said: ‘We’re really sorry, but we’re cancelling your wedding. You’ll get refunded.’
‘Why?’ I cried, totally confused.
They were really vague and just said they ‘weren’t doing weddings anymore’.
James and I were devastated.
We later discovered that TV giant Netflix had bought the venue.
As we’d already set our wedding date – and had booked suppliers around it – we struggled to find another place at such late notice.
The cheapest venue we could find was £2,000 more than our original venue of choice.
We booked an alternative and set the date for 27th March 2020.
We sued Shepperton Studios for the £2,000 excess because it was their fault we were left paying that much for a new place, and they settled out of court with us and paid us the money.
But it wasn’t until three months later that I saw in the press that Netflix had signed a production deal with the venue to have a permanent base there.
‘That’s why they cancelled our wedding,’ I sighed.
But we were in for even more of a shock, when in September 2019, Thomas Cook – the travel agency – collapsed and our honeymoon was cancelled.
‘I can’t believe it,’ I cried.
It’s closure meant we lost our £3,500 holiday.
I felt sick not knowing if we’d get our money back or be able to rebook.
We’d been saving up forever to afford to go and the kids were so excited and it was all coming crashing down around us.
I couldn’t get hold of anybody at Thomas Cook to find out – it was mayhem.
As soon as we could put a claim in for our money back, we did, but they said it would take three months before we could know if we were getting a full refund.
I took a gamble and booked the holiday on credit cards before we knew if we’d get the refund, and I booked through Disney directly this time with American Airlines.
It was more expensive as prices had soared due to the collapse, but we did thankfully get a full refund from Thomas Cook three months down the line.
With a new honeymoon booked, I thought that would be the last of her troubles and everything seemed to be going well again.
James had his stag do in October 2019 – and his mates dressed him up as a woman and took him go-karting, to Hooters and a club in Nottingham.
Then in February 2020, my friends took me to London for my hen do.
We hired a limo to take us to the ‘For Your Eyes Only’ club in Shoreditch to watch the sexy male strip show ‘Dreamboys’.
But we’d just arrived at the venue and were being stamped in, when disaster struck.
A stripper shattered his leg after jumping onto a 20ft fireman’s pole that ripped out of the ceiling, sending him crashing into the audience and knocking a 75-year-old lady unconscious.
It was carnage.
We were all sent to the back of the room whilst this poor guy lay on the stage with his leg facing the wrong way.
‘There will be no show this evening,’ a member of staff told us – as the poor chap was whisked away in an ambulance.
The night was ruined and we didn’t want to stay in London so we just called the limo back and went straight back home to a local cocktail bar.
‘Talk about bad luck…’ I said.
‘Well, it does come in threes,’ one of the party told me. ‘That should be your lot.’
With our wedding just weeks away, the countdown was officially on.
‘I just hope nothing else goes wrong,’ I said to James. ‘I feel like I’m cursed. How can so many things go pear-shaped?’
‘We must have used up all our bad luck now,’ he said reassuringly.
But just as we thought things couldn’t get worse, he unthinkable happened – when the government announced a global pandemic.
A deadly respiratory virus – called Covid-19 – was sweeping around the world, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.
The whole of the UK – along with lots of countries around the world – was put on lockdown which meant people weren’t able to leave their houses, except to exercise and pick up essential food and medicine.
It meant our big day was in jeopardy once again.
The elderly (people over 75) were told to self-isolate (stay indoors) for 12 weeks which meant our grandparents would be unable to come.
It wasn’t long before we realised our wedding wasn’t going to happen after social distancing measures were introduced – banning people from being less than two metres apart or gathering in groups or socialising outside of their household.
Just 13 days before our wedding, the venue we had booked advised us to reschedule and suggested a September 2020 date.
Even then, we don’t know for sure that our big day will be able to go ahead.
A couple of our guests don’t know if they can make our new date – which is upsetting – but understandable.
Every time something went wrong, I’d work so hard to fix it and find an alternative, but with coronavirus hitting the UK weeks before the wedding, there was nothing I could do to change it.
‘Your wedding is meant to be a fairytale, but this has been nothing but a nightmare,’ I sighed to James.
When we told the kids the wedding wasn’t happening, our little boy, Harry, said: ‘I hate this planet.’
They were so looking forward to mummy and daddy tying the knot.
We’ve felt stressed and deflated, but there’s nothing we can do to influence what’s happened or make it better. It is what it is.
‘I can’t wait to marry you,’ James told me. ‘Whenever that may be.’
I feel like the world’s unluckiest bride after having my honeymoon cancelled, hen do ruined and wedding day scrapped, but I know I’m the luckiest woman alive to be marrying James.
If you need this – A spokesperson from Shepperton Studios said: “Unfortunately, a vendor scheduled events when our facilities were unavailable. We are very sorry to any parties that have been impacted by this.”