Bride and grooms-to-be have been left in the lurch after the sudden closure of a restaurant in North Shields.
The New Exchange Brasserie and Bar in Howard Street has gone into liquidation, leaving some couples with just weeks to find an alternative venue for their wedding reception.
And one couple, who were due to celebrate their nuptials at the restaurant on March 7, have been forced to put their day on hold until March 2015.
Sarah Hiscock, 22, was due to marry her fiance Adam Hunter in just two months, but a phone call from a friend, who turned up at the venue to enquire about booking it for her venue, changed all of that.
“I just burst out crying,” she said. “I was really upset.
“She went to the venue because we couldn’t get a reply on the phone or email and there was a tiny notice on the door.
“I’m so angry that still I haven’t heard anything from anyone, they have handled it really badly and there are lots of people devastated.
“We were due to have the reception and night time there, had organised the DJ, centre pieces and everything.
“We have had it booked for about six months, and I spoke to them just a couple of weeks ago about booking a meal and they never said a word.
“I am just so angry.”
FindlayJamesInsolvency has taken over the firm, and customers who had weddings, parties and christenings booked are hoping to hear from them.
A spokesperson for FindlayJamesInsolvency said they did not wish to make comment at this stage.
Many disgruntled customers have written on social network sites to express their disappointment over the closure and how it has affected them, and the fact they have not been contacted by the administrators or those who ran the company.
Meanwhile a Tynemouth restaurant is offering those affected by the closure the chance to book their venue.
Gavin Bowmaker, owner of Allard’s in Front Street, said: “Our venue isn’t primarily a wedding venue, but since the extension and refurbishment of our premises we can cater for them.
“We have availability to cater for some of the people who are affected by the closure of the restaurant in North Shields, and we will also take into consideration the fact that couples will already have paid and lost deposits.
“If anyone wants to come along and have a look they are more than welcome to see what we can offer, or give us a call on (0191) 270 8990.
“We never intended to be a wedding venue, which is why we have availability, but if we can help these people than we will.”
North Tyneside Council, who own the building, said it had not received written confirmation of the administration of the restaurant.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The New Exchange Restaurant business has been placed into the hands of liquidators but the Council as Landlord still awaits formal written confirmation of this.
“The leaseholder has closed the premises.
“The attached notice has been placed on the premises to inform customers and members of the public.
“It is understood that a number of private functions, weddings and groupon voucher bookings are ‘live’.
“Naturally people are concerned at what will happen to the booking and in some cases financial deposits already paid.
“At this stage, the Council cannot do anything to advise in this respect or regain legal possession of the property until notice is received from the liquidator of its intentions regarding the business.
“A review of legal documentation with the leaseholder is to be undertaken immediately to see what options may be available to bring a resolution to this matter sooner rather than later.
“If any members of the public have queries they are asked to contact the case officer Ian McMullen at Strategic Estates Team on 0191 643 6526 or by email Ian.McMullen@nortyneside.gov.uk”