A DEVASTATED bride feels her dream Alloa wedding has been left in ruins as her chosen venue is being sold off with next year's bookings cancelled.

Aileen Stewart was looking forward to tying the knot with Tullibody-born fiancée David Grainey in May next year, but was enraged when Gean House called her up to hand her deposit back.

The Advertiser understands weddings from the end of October onward will be cancelled as owners Ceteris sell the property to a new owner – one which does not wish to carry on with that type of business.

The current owners say they are “desperately sorry” to disappoint customers and have negotiated to honour as many bookings as possible this year.

While Aileen is getting a refund on her wedding, she has already secured a number of other suppliers for the occasion and felt like she had the perfect package for a brilliant price, but it is now all being taken away.

She told the Advertiser: “It's also quite a popular time to get married so I feel like I'm going to struggle to get the same date and potentially lose some of my suppliers.

“And you pay non-refundable deposits to these people; I paid over £300 to my photographer and potentially could lose that.

“We will probably be heavily out of the pocket by the time we actually get a resolution to this all.”

Aileen, who hopes to hold the big day in the area as all the relatives are local, is now desperately searching for a new venue on the same day, adding: “We are literally in limbo and I imagine all the other brides are all in the same boat.”

Margaret Mary Rafferty, managing director of owners Ceteris, was proud to have operated Gean House as a “high quality” conference and wedding venue over the years – indeed it recently received accolades at the Scottish Wedding Awards.

However, she said that running Gean House “didn't fit with our primary purpose”, before adding that it “did bring benefits to the area”.

A number of other good venues are now available, she continued, and said that “we feel that it is time to let organisations that are experts in this type of service and marketplace take over”.

The MD added: “We are desperately sorry at having to disappoint customers and with this in mind we negotiated a long lead in time to allow us to honour as many bookings as we could for this year.

“All of those customers have been contacted and made aware of the situation.

“I know that is no consolation for those brides and grooms who are booked for next year, but we have tried to give them as much notice as we could in the hope that they would be able to find an alternative venue. There was no other way that we could handle this.”

Ceteris will now focus on its core business: providing commercial property and economic regeneration in Clackmannanshire.

This year, the team have become involved with Developing the Young Workforce and Career Ready to help young people.