Bride hosts ‘wedding’ dinner alone after fiance gets HFMD
Bride goes ahead with wedding dinner even after groom gets HFMD
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.
Ms Caryn Lee with fiance Andy Peh
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.
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.
"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.
SHOULD RESTAURANT HAVE ALLOWED CANCELLATION?
"The restaurant would have had to close to the public, which means they lose that day's sales. If they had given a refund, they would earn nothing for the day."
- Mr Jeremy Nguee, owner of catering company Preparazzi
"Food planned for the catering event may not translate well to be served in small, a la carte portions.
- Mr Bjorn Shen, chef-owner of Middle Eastern restaurant Artichoke, on why the restaurant cannot just open to the public instead
WHAT IS HFMD?
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection caused by a group of enteroviruses, most commonly the Coxsackie virus.
It is a common childhood infection though adults, too, can be affected.
A person with HFMD may suffer from some of these common symptoms: fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, rash or small blisters on palms of hands, soles of feet and buttocks.
The virus gets transmitted when a person has contact with the bodily fluids of someone with the disease.
NUMBER OF REPORTED HFMD CASES IN SINGAPORE:
2016: 3,365 (as of Feb 13)
Facts and figures from the Ministry of Health