On Saturday, Bradley and Leigh-Anne Stevens could finally have that first dance at their long-awaited wedding reception. The first was cancelled last month after they arrived to an empty hall without the food, tables or decorations – for which they had paid – at the Richwood Sport and Recreation Centre.
The Goodwood couple, who had been together for 17 years before deciding to tie the knot on March 11, had the wedding planner, Natasha Lombard, the owner of I Do Weddings, in Malmesbury, arrested.
Lombard’s husband, Shane, admitted he had been drinking that day to cope with the “stress” of staging the wedding.
Natasha was released after police said they couldn’t criminally charge her and advised the couple to approach the Small Claims Court.
Lombard later repaid the couple their R17 000 and apologised to them via email.
She did not refund Leigh-Anne the R4 000 she had for her ill-fitting dress and that of her bridesmaid.
It has since emerged that the Stevenses were not the first to fall victim to the wedding planner, after several other couples contacted Daily Voice to share their horror stories.
But everything went smoothly on Saturday for the couple, who said their day was “perfect”.
The second reception was held at the same hall in Goodwood.
The two walked the red carpet which ended in an arch, and guests were welcomed with cheese and wine.
The couple was transported in a Mercedes Benz E-class, sponsored by Rola Motors.
Inside, the hall erupted in cheers as guests welcomed the radiant couple.
Bradley's attire was a three-piece navy blue suit with a lilac shirt and brown shoes, while Leigh-Ann looked stunning in a white wedding dress with a diamanté finish and silver bling.
The dress, red carpet, arch, invitations and flower basket were all sponsored by Etcetera Fashion and Bridal.
With tears in her eyes, the 31-year-old bride, looking slightly overwhelmed, said: “This is all so amazing.
“Everything from the start to finish is beyond what we expected and we didn’t have to spend a cent on doing the reception.
“Everything we got here today was sponsored by generous people. We are really grateful and want to thank all our sponsors.”
Bradley, 34, says he was in shock when he saw the hall, which was beautifully decorated in white and lilac.'Wedding wrecker' says God is on her side
“When we arrived outside the hall, my emotions ran away with me as I replayed that dreadful reception we had the first time around,” he says.
“I felt sad, but as soon as I got out of the car and saw everyone’s reactions, I knew this one was going to be amazing.”
Their 140 guests were treated to a lovely three-course buffet, including crab sticks as a starter and for supper there were hot and cold meats, chicken, salads, akni, roti and more.
For dessert, there were fancy cupcakes, a candy table, and guests were served vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce.
Daily Voice reader Ebrahim Saal, 30, from Pelican Park owns 365 Events and provided the sound and lighting for the reception.
“I felt so sorry for what they went through, so I emailed the newspaper to offer my services to the couple for free,” he says.
“With help from my friends Derek and Ashley, we managed to make the couple happy again.”
The dance floor was packed as DJ Ebrahim wrecked the decks.
Wedding photographer, Roxanne Abrahams, 26, from Mitchells Plain also lent a hand.
“When I read their story I was in total shock, I couldn’t believe it,” she says.
“So I immediately contacted the reporter to hook me up with the couple so that I can capture their wedding memories for them at no cost.”
The couple, who has two children, say they haven’t made any new honeymoon plans yet, but are working on it.
“My night was totally perfect, this was even better than the reception we planned ourselves the first time around,” sighed a blissful Leigh-Ann.