'We don't know what we're going to do' - 40 couples left heartbroken as popular wedding venue closes
A heartbroken couple have had their dream day ruined after a popular hotel shut its doors with some 40 wedding receptions on its books.
Aherlow House Hotel in County Tipperary confirmed on Thursday it has ceased trading with immediate effect, with job losses for more than 25 hotel staff.
Independent.ie understands that some 40 couples had bookings with the popular venue to host their wedding receptions, and one such couple who are due to be married in July said the news has thrown their entire wedding into chaos.
“We had a date booked in July and [now] we don't know where to go now for the wedding reception,” said the groom, who asked not to be named.
“If we change the wedding date, we have to change hairdressers, photographers… even the honeymoon.
“Worst of all, we haven't been contacted by any representative of the hotel… [and] had to hear about the closure from third parties.”
The upset couple continued, saying that the closure was a double blow because the venue had a special meaning for the bride.
“My fiancée wanted this hotel because it means a lot to her; it is where she said she would always have her wedding even before getting engaged.
“She was a bridesmaid [there] a few years ago and she said when she got out of the car that day she knew that Aherlow would be where she would have her own wedding without a doubt.”
Management at the popular Tipperary hotel confirmed the closure in a statement, wherein they said it was “with great regret” that it would be unable to honour wedding and function bookings.
“Auburn Hotels (Aherlow) Ltd have succeeded in relocating the booking for a couple’s wedding for next week to Kilcoran Lodge Hotel… and a similar arrangement has been agreed with Clonmel Park Hotel… [but] now we are not in a position to carry through bookings received.”
The hotel operators say they had hoped during negotiations with a receiver from Grant Thornton that they would remain operating the premises.
However, the statement continues to say it “became clear that the receiver intended to place the hotel for sale on the open market.
“It is expected that details of all wedding and function bookings will be made available by the receiver for other venues to express an interest,” it concludes.
Independent.ie understand that a number of the wedding receptions due to held at Aherlow House have been moved to nearby hotels, and that Grant Thornton has instructed that refunds be issued for those with bookings.
"The Receiver continues to engage with interested parties with a view to reopening the hotel as soon as possible .
"The Receiver fully recognises the anxiety this temporary closure is causing couples who had booked weddings with the company that was operating the Aherlow House Hotel however, the unacceptable performance of that operating company under the lease agreement was not tenable and this has unfortunately led to this temporary closure. Updates will be provided as matters develop.”