Stena Lines save the Bateman Wedding from cancellation due to the Beast from the East
My article was never supposed to be the article to best summarise the tumultuous events of the Kilgannon Batemen wedding.
Please refer to this radio interview (17:02 onwards) to hear it from the couple themselves!
TheKilgannon Bateman wedding due to take place near Sligo in the Republic of Ireland was at risk of cancellation due to the Beast from the East.
The Irish bride and South African groom's Aer Lingus flight was cancelled while they were sat on it waiting to depart from Gatwick on Wednesday night.
After spending the next day in the airport trying to find a way over to Ireland it became clear that no flights were going to be heading over the Irish Sea.
A massive £1500 was spent on contingency flights by the bridal party in case one or two flights made it through the cancellations, none did however.
No surprise given that the winds were reaching near 90mph and visibility was low on approach into Dublin.
The guests' Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights were cancelled too, leaving only one option open.
A plan was hatched for an early Friday morning RailSail journey from London Euston to Dublin, via Holyhead in North West Wales.
The Bride's family sorted a coach from Dublin Port to the wedding venue, meaning the journey could be completed by everyone who made it on to the 14:30 Irish Ferries service from Holyhead to Dublin.
As the train passed through Crewe the wedding party felt like the tough times were now behind them.
Unfortunately it became apparent that Dublin port had closed due to the weather, and wouldn't open until at least 8am the next day.
The 14:30 Irish Ferries service was accordingly cancelled.
On the train to a remote corner of Wales.
Bride and Groom just hours from their wedding day.
Desperation set in, with some party members calling private jet companies to see if a group charter might be possible. £14,000 for 28 people was the quote.
It was either THAT, or waiting for the next scheduled ferry due to leave Holyhead at 2:30am on Saturday, wedding day.
Waiting in a ferry terminal from 2pm until 2am seemed a grim option with children and grandparents present so the party started looking for accomodation via Airbnb and the locks Holyhead travel lodge.
Despite spaces being listed, they all reported being booked up.
The train pulled in to Holyhead and the party trudged in to the Irish Ferries and Stena Lines ferry terminal.
Alan Williams from Stena Lines approached the group and said that they'd heard about the predicament and wanted to help.
Alan suggested that they could load the wedding party on to the Stena Lines boat that already docked, in order to relax there for the evening.
Even though the party explained that the SailRail tickets were for Irish Ferries, he dismissed it out of hand and said that didn't change a thing.
After collecting a list of names for the wedding party present and still due to arrive on later trains to Holyhead Alan sorted the whole party out with remarkable hospitality.
Thinking that getting the party on the ferry wasn't enough to recompense the inconvenience caused by travel disruption, Stena Lines went the full hog and offered cabins for everyone present, and a warm buffet meal.
Noone could quite believe what they were hearing.
Alan went further to explain that the ferry will be leaving as soon as it can, and that they'll do all they can to make the wedding happen.
The ferry left at 8am this morning and arrived into Dublin Port around 13:00 .
The guests have estimated the value of Stena Lines hospitality at near £3000, and they haven't asked for anything in return.
Picking up some South Africans already in Dublin since before the storm, the Bride's neighbours bus has now set out for the wedding venue.
Some guests still won't be able to make it, but thanks to Stena Lines the vast majority will, and just in the nick of time.
Before the ceremony has even started, it feels like it's not going to be a wedding soon forgotten.
I honestly can't express how much I wish other companies could see an opportunity to do something remarkable in desperate times like this.
it is the sort of gesture that restores one's faith in humanity.
Sue, Luca and Alan for setting everything up when we arrived at Holyhead
Rob for giving us champagne when we got on the boat
Ellen for sorting the group out with Cabins!
Wedding day heroes.
Aine and Heath Batemen