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Showing all Wedding Venues - UK reviews for Proud Brighton Ballroom in Sussex
Address: Proud Brighton Ballroom
  83 St georges road
  Bn2 1ef
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Warning to other couples, brighton ballroom cancelled our wedding!     
Iím writing to you today in the hope that someone will publish this story and that other couples will not end up in our situation. The company involved needs to learn that they simply cannot treat people the way we have been treated with no consequences Ė compensation should not be seen as a way to keep clients quiet. Answering back on internet sites will only further upset already appalled customers.

In October last year, my fiance and I visited Brighton Ballroom formerly the Hanbury, in the hope that we could book it for our wedding venue. We liked the venue and thought it would be perfect for our wedding, despite the staff seeming a little disorganised and sometimes unable to answer our questions. The following month we paid our deposit and were reassured that our wedding date was definitely booked with them. We struggled to get a receipt, and had to chase the individual responsible for our booking, but were eventually sent a PDF of the paid invoice.

In the following months we were finding it harder and harder to get through to anyone to answer important questions we had about our wedding. We blamed it on the run up to Christmas, and hoped we would get better customer service and advice in the New Year. In January, we started to try and contact the venue again in earnest. Only then did we discover (via an out of office) that the individual responsible for our booking had actually left. We hadnít been told, or been given the details for the member of staff who would be taking over from them. I left numerous messages for contacts I had never met, in the hope someone would get back to me. Eventually I had a phone call from a rude young man who proceeded to tell me that they had lost all of our paperwork (numbers for wedding etc.) which we had completed on visiting the venue back in October, and had no record of ourselves. All of our paperwork that is, apart from our deposit and date of wedding. Again, we were reassured that our wedding was still booked with the Brighton Ballroom.

The missing paperwork would mean another trip to Brighton (we live in Southend) in order to go over these details again. As we had so many unanswered questions, we didnít mind going to the venue again as we thought we might have more success face-to-face than we had over phone and internet. We arranged and booked to go to Brighton around two weeks before, and we also booked in to eat at the Ballroom the night we were staying, Friday 11th February. Brighton Ballroom does not offer a free tasting of their food, even if you are booking a wedding with them Ė you still have to go to the venue and pay for your food. We were also not offered any compensation for our missing paperwork and the inconvenience of travelling to Brighton a second time.

On arriving at the venue on the 11th February, a member of staff began to show us around the venue. I explained that we had seen the venue, had a booking, and were there to meet with a member of staff. We waited in the upper bar with all of the details, questions and worries we had about the venue, after a disastrous journey from Southend (it had taken 4 hours to get to Brighton that day).

The member of staff we had the meeting with came over and nervously, almost tearfully told us that management had decided to refurbish the venue over the Summer months, and that our wedding was effectively cancelled. We were told that this was due to the company having lost a lot of money since opening.

If this were the case, why they were closing during peak season in a venue like Brighton is completely beyond me Ė let alone cancelling their wedding bookings during this time!

This also meant that we had 6 months to find a new venue, and had lost the money from our registrar.

The member of staff we dealt with was very apologetic, but then also informed us that we would not be able to get our deposit back until Monday due to their Accounts teamís working hours! The company knew for a few weeks we were planning on travelling down on that date, and the refurbishment decision was made (we were later told by the manager) 2 weeks before. Why our money wasnít made ready for us is completely beyond me! Why they didnít call and cancel our meeting is also beyond me!

We were offered no compensation on the day, and the second member of staff we saw flatly refused to give out her managerís contact number. We were given an email only. We couldnít even vent our frustration to the staff we were presented with Ė the ones who had to tell us the bad news, as they both seemed so inexperienced (the first having been promoted to Operations Manager in the last week from working in the kitchen previously) and completely unable to offer us any kind of compensation.

We obviously didnít attend dinner that night Ė as we would have had to pay!

We werenít offered alternative dates either, it seemed Brighton Ballroom had made up their mind, they didnít appreciate our wedding booking, they didnít want to help us when it still stood, and they didnít want to host our wedding. How can you treat people like this when your company are already losing so much money?!

Since then, we have had a few curt emails from the owner Ė firstly offering us compensation in the form of a meal with free bottles of Cava! We explained we didnít plan on going to any of the Proud venues again, and that compensation for the money we had wasted on a registrar would be more useful. In fairness, this was paid, but not without a comment from him that he didnít feel it was Ďfairí that we didnít want to spend our money at the Proud venues again! I donít feel itís fair he cancelled our wedding, but then I think he has difficulty seeing it from our point of view.

I have also posted onto a wedding chat area, so that other couples looking at the Ballroom as a venue will think twice. The owner was all too quick in finding this post and stating that he had offered my fiance and I £400 to spend in his venue! (the actual offer was dinner for you and 3 friends with bottles of Cava). As another bride-to-be truly stated underneath, compensation in this form is meaningless Ė the stress of finding and booking a venue 6 months before the date, let alone changing all the plans you had for the venue cannot be glossed over by visiting the very venue which left such a bitter taste.

Perhaps if the owner spent more time getting his customer service up to scratch, and less time trawling the internet for negative views of his venue that he can argue with, his business might be doing a little better.

We felt we needed to highlight our experience as the ballroom website is still offering itself as a wedding venue and there could be other couples out there who are unaware that their wedding has been cancelled.
Faith harrison - 17/02/2011
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