BRIDES and grooms across the region have been left reeling after a popular wedding venue shut down.
The 15th century medieval castle at Clarencefield stopped trading on April 8, making a number of staff redundant.
The partnership which owned the property and traded the hotel is in the process of making an application to be declared bankrupt and for business advisory firm Johnston Carmichael to be appointed as a trustee to deal with its creditors.
One couple due to marry there this summer were Suzanne Campbell and William Wakefield, from Dumfries.
The 23-year-olds had booked their nuptials for July 6 and have already forked out £6000 towards the cost of their big day.
Suzanne said: “We found out through a friend who knows someone who works at Comlongon.
“When we were told we were heartbroken that all our hard work had been for nothing. We have been planning for almost two years for our special day and then found out with no contact from Comlongon.
“We both felt absolutely devastated after putting so much work into our special day. We had suppliers booked, invitations were out and replies were in too.”
The couple have luckily managed to find a new venue, Dalswinton Estate, but have just 12 weeks to finalise the details.
Former Annan Academy pupil Stephanie, who now lives in London with her beau, also had a summer wedding booked.
Stephanie and partner Philip Dewhurst put down a £2400 deposit and a further £2400 fee to hire the castle for the day, with more cash originally due to be paid this month.
But a worried phone call from Stephanie’s dad on Monday threw their plans into disarray.
Stephanie said: “My dad called me to say he’d heard a rumour, the castle was in trouble, and asked me to check it out to put his mind at rest.
“Unfortunately, when I called, I was informed it was correct.
“I was inconsolable and my manager sent me home that afternoon.”
She added: “Philip and I were both devastated. We have spent the best part of a year and a half organising our wedding and friends and family had booked travel and accommodation for that weekend.”
Luckily Stephanie’s parents were able to secure their daughter and future son in law a new venue but Stephanie fears for those who lost out on even more money, or are not left with enough time to make new arrangements.
Donald McNaught, restructuring partner at Johnston Carmichael in Glasgow, is set to be appointed as trustee to the partnership that owned, operated and managed Comlongon Castle, and he is urging those affected by the castle’s demise to get in touch with him.
He said: “We will be dealing with creditors’ claims after the partnership business behind Comlongon Castle encountered liquidity problems during the past year and ceased trading just over a week ago.
“We are aware that the time between Christmas and Easter is widely recognised within the hotel industry as a difficult trading period – and the business arrived at a point where it could no longer continue to operate.
“I would encourage anyone who had a booking with the hotel to get in contact with Johnston Carmichael immediately.”
To speak to a Johnston Carmichael representative call: 0141 222 5800.