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Liz Bruce left in tears after dream wedding to Peter Harding is cancelled due to refurbishments at Oakwood House in Maidstone

A bride-to-be was left in tears after finding out on Christmas Eve her dream venue had pulled the plug on her wedding due to refurbishments.

Liz Bruce, 47, and fiancé Peter Harding, 54, were planning to tie the knot at Oakwood House in Maidstone on October 17, 2020 having booked in November.

They are among nine couples who have received the disappointing news. In a letter, Kent County Council (KCC), which owns the Victorian country home, announced it had made the “difficult decision” to cancel all bookings beyond September 1, 2019 due to “an extensive building project”.

Peter Harding and Liz Bruce.Picture: Sean Aidan
Peter Harding and Liz Bruce.Picture: Sean Aidan

Ms Bruce and Mr Harding met online seven years ago and, after years of friendship, started dating in 2015. Last year Mr Harding, who owns a heating company, proposed to his partner on the back of a race car at Silverstone.

The pair started looking at dozens of potential venues in the county online, and visited six in person before falling in love with Oakwood House.

They learned their big day was off just as they were looking to spend their first Christmas together as an engaged couple.

Weddings at Oakwood House have had to be cancelled
Weddings at Oakwood House have had to be cancelled

Mr Harding, of Braunstone Drive, Allington, said: “My partner had a brief phone call from someone at KCC, but they were very sketchy with the details. We weren’t sure at first if it was just a sick joke, but when we got the letter it was confirmed.

“When you’re planning a wedding you’re open to all sorts of ideas, but when you actually find somewhere you want to be, you just get your heart set on it.

“I don’t suppose there’s any great time for a wedding to be cancelled but it was gutting to find out on Christmas Eve.

“Liz was far more upset than me about it, she was in tears at the time.”

A KCC spokesman said attempts were made to contact all nine affected couples by phone, then letter.

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