A MUDDLE over a marquee at a top rated Yateley hotel left five wedding parties in the lurch.
All five had booked receptions at the Casa Dei Cesari hotel on the assumption that a marquee would be provided.
But they were shocked to learn last month that the hotel was unable to put up a giant tent in its grounds after all.
They were left searching round at the last minute for an alternative venue for their receptions.
One of those who was left in tears at having her wedding plans ruined was Lisa Sackley, of Church Circle, Farnborough.
She booked her reception at the hotel for July 12 because it advertised that a marquee would be available.
"It was always her dream to have a marquee on her wedding day," said her mother, Mrs Wendy Aldam, last Thursday.
But then, like a bolt out of the blue, she read in the Star last month that the hotel had been refused planning permission for the marquee.
"We were devastated at the news," continued Mrs Aldam, of Elizabeth Drive, Church Crookham.
"All along we had been assured by the hotel that everything was in order. We didn't think in our wildest dreams that anything could go wrong."
She was also annoyed that her daughter had read about the planners' decision in the Star, and not from the hotel.
"I feel the hotel should have kept my daughter informed about what was happening," she added. "I think they treated her disgracefully."
After a series of panic phone calls Lisa found a hotel near Wokingham which, due to a cancellation, was able to accommodate her reception.
Mr Tarvinder Obhrai, a Casa dei Cesari director, apologised last Friday for the letdown - but said Hart Council was to blame.
He said initially council planners had assured him that permission was not required to put up the marquee for 28 days or less.
"We took bookings on the basis of this advice," he continued.
But then the council came back and said planning permission would be needed after all, even to put up the giant tent for just one day.
The hotel applied for planning permission, but its application was thrown out because of protests from nearby residents and the Yateley Society.
Mr Obhrai said that, like Lisa Sackley, he knew nothing of the decision until it appeared in the Star.
"We have been here since 1975 and we have a good reputation in the area," he added. "I'm certainly not happy at having to turn these people away."