The newlyweds say they forked out over R21 000 for their big day. Picture: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice
Cape Town – A couple, who waited nearly two decades to tie the knot, saw their dream wedding turn into a nightmare thanks to their wedding planner.

The newlyweds say they forked out over R21 000 for their big day.

But the excited Goodwood couple were left devastated when they arrived at the reception venue on Saturday and found nothing.

Guests arrived at 6pm to find the Ridgewood Sports and Recreation Centre empty.

“I was in total shock when I came to the hall and nothing was prepared. It was as empty as a shell,” the bride said.

The woman and her husband asked not to be identified because they are too embarrassed by the whole fiasco.

“We dated for 17 years and after having two children together, we decided it’s time to make it official,” the woman said.

To help her plan her dream day, she contacted the Malmesbury caterers last May, and met the owner.

“I found her on Gumtree and Facebook and saw she has a website. I was impressed, her things looked so tantalising,” said the bride.

“We had about six or seven meetings to discuss the wedding and she seemed original.”

But her 34-year-old husband said he had a gut feeling about the wedding planner.

“Whenever she visited our home for meetings, I would go into my room because something about her bothered me. It felt fake,” he said.

But his wife was adamant the wedding planner was the real thing.

“She even offered to make my wedding dress for an extra R2 700, and my bridesmaid’s dress for another R1 500,” she explained.

But when her dress arrived on Friday night, it wasn’t what she had expected.

“My dress was way too big around the top section. She sewed the dress by hand and used my wedding bra to sew into the dress for cups.”

After this disappointment, she didn’t think things could worse.

But she was wrong.

At the church, instead of bunches of fresh flowers, all they got was a bunch of dry flowers.

“It looked like funeral flowers. It was a dry bunch that you can buy outside the cemetery,” said the woman.

Empty reception venue in Goodwood Picture: Supplied

At the reception venue, the bride burst into tears realising she was taken for a ride.

“I paid R16 830 for catering, but there wasn’t even a caterer in sight,” she complained.

She said the wedding planner and her “drunk” husband rocked up at 6.30pm.

“She came in looking very woes (dishevelled) and said the food had gone sour and she will go buy food for the 90 guests.

“I was so furious because her husband was drunk and still had the nerve to tell us he drank beer to calm his nerves. Why did they even come back if they knew they messed up?”

Furious guests called police and the caterers were arrested by Bothasig SAPS outside the venue as they were trying to leave.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the arrest.

“Two suspects, aged 39 and 43 years old, were arrested [on Saturday] in a fraud case that occurred in Goodwood. They will appear in the Goodwood Magistrate's Court [on Monday],” she said.

The devastated bride has gone into depression and won’t even entertain the thought of getting her money back or planning another reception.

“After the chaos, we went home and bought take-aways for the family. I never want to do this again,” she adds.