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Wedded bliss in the sun after travel firm swoops to rescue

A couple whose dream wedding in the sun looked like going down the tubes after the collapse of Budget Travel have finally got to walk down the aisle.

Emer Kearns (26) and Michael Gardner (29) thought their hopes had been dashed when the travel company folded, putting all their wedding plans in jeopardy.

It would have been the second wedding cancellation for the Co Laois couple.

But Falcon Holidays came to the rescue and Emer and Michael exchanged vows at a ceremony on Gran Canaria on December 30.

The wedding party had been booked to fly out with Budget, but Ireland's largest tour operator went out of business in November.

"When this latest bombshell dropped, I couldn't believe it", Emer recalled.

"I heard about Budget on the radio. Then Michael rang me and said, 'don't you realise my family is booked with them'," she said.

The couple, from Mountmellick, had been planning the wedding for four years -- Emer bought her dress three years ago and their rings were bought two years ago.

Customers

Emer contacted the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which is responsible for refunding customers, but held out little hope of a speedy resolution when she heard the regulator was still dealing with claims lodged in mid-July. They realised they would not get their refund by the time they were due to fly out on December 26 and could not afford the €6,000 cost of booking again.

Emer turned to the Gerry Ryan Show on RTE 2fm and issued an appeal that led to Falcon stepping into the breach.

The couple originally had to postpone their nuptials in 2008 when they learned Emer was pregnant with their now 13-month-old daughter Sophie.

The happy couple were finally able to put the stress and worries of recent weeks behind them for their wedding at Gran Canaria's San Agustin Beach Club.

And they were glad to leave the bitterly cold shores of Ireland behind to enjoy getting married in balmy hot weather.

The ceremony was conducted by an inter-faith priest in the grounds of the hotel overlooking the sea with four generations of family in attendance.

Emer walked down the aisle accompanied by her dad, John, to the strains of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Celebration

There was even a double celebration with Emer's grandmother marking her 75th birthday.

The couple had the time of their lives and the day was "relaxed and enjoyable", according to the planners, Gran Canaria Weddings.

aphelan@herald.ie


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