Restaurant responds after bride accuses them of 'inflexibility'

Her fiance had hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and was under home quarantine on the day of their wedding.

But the restaurant had been booked and their $8,500 deposit would be forfeited if they did not turn up.

So financial advisor Caryn Lee, 31, went ahead and hosted a dinner for more than 60 relatives and close friends as a way of saying "thank you".

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Ms Lee, who is three-months pregnant, was upset at what she considers inflexibility from Halia, a contemporary European restaurant with Asian influences, at Raffles Hotel.

She said: "They were very inflexible and there was no room for negotiation, not even when I asked if I could come down and speak to someone."

Ms Lee and her fiance Andy Peh, 33, met as colleagues at a financial advisory firm and decided late last year to tie the knot after a whirlwind romance.

The wedding and dinner were set for last Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, a doctor told Mr Peh, a financial services manager, that he has HFMD.

He was given seven days of medical leave and told to quarantine himself. He especially has to stay away from his pregnant fiancee.

Said Ms Lee: "I sent out a mass broadcast to our wedding guests at about 3pm (on Friday) to say it has been cancelled before calling the various vendors.

"Everyone was very understanding about what had happened and agreed to postpone at no charge, like the bridal studio, the decorators and even our baker, who said she could give the wedding cake away."

But the management of Halia said the deposit would have to be forfeited because the ingredients for the dinner, intended for 90 guests, had already been ordered.

Since the restaurant had been booked, they could not simply reopen to the public that day.

The deposit was 80 per cent of their bill, which would have come up to nearly $10,600.

So at about 10pm on Friday, Ms Lee contacted her guests again and told them that the dinner would go on.

"Instead of letting the reservation go to waste, Andy and I thought why not treat our close family and friends to a nice dinner?" she said.

RESTAURANT SAYS

In an e-mail reply to TNP, the management of Halia said since the cancellation was a day before, keeping the deposit was in line with their policy.

"While we do understand it is a circumstance of medical emergency, it is a policy, as with most venues, to decline the request for a refund.

"In light of the unfortunate circumstance, Halia has also waived the balance payment," the management said.

When asked whether it is taking further steps in service recovery, the management said the couple have agreed to a meeting.

As for the couple, the main focus now is for Mr Peh to get better.

SHOULD RESTAURANT HAVE ALLOWED CANCELLATION?

"It seems like a series of unfortunate events, but we are very thankful for the support of our families and friends through this. A wedding is only a day, but a marriage is for a lifetime," she said.


This article was first published on Feb 24, 2016.
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