Tipperary bride overwhelmed by public's generosity after strangers rally to rescue her big day

Tipperary bride overwhelmed by public's generosity after strangers rally to rescue her big day

Carol Fleming and Dermot Molloy

A Tipperary bride says she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity and support she has received from the public who have stepped in to save her big day after a wedding company failed to pay out a €10,000 prize.

Carol Fleming and her partner Dermot Molloy from Drangan won a €10,000 prize to pay for their wedding from Dublin based company ‘Winourwedding.ie’ in March 2016.

However less than a month before Carol and her partner Dermot Molloy were to walk down the aisle, Ms Fleming received an email from the owner of the website to say they were “unable to pay the balance” of more than €7,000 due to “cashflow problems.”

“We weren’t going to go ahead with the wedding last week. For the last 15 months it’s been nothing but stress. We had small deposits paid for but the remainder of the balance had to be paid out. We didn’t have the money ourselves so we were going to cancel the wedding,” Ms Fleming told the Tipperary Star.

Last Tuesday Ms Fleming posted a message to her Facebook page warning other bride and grooms who entered the competition about her experience when she was inundated with offers from suppliers, photographers, florists, bands and boutiques to provide their services free of charge to help make August 17 the day of her dreams.

“I still can’t believe it. I put that message out as a warning to others who might have entered but never for a second did I expect anyone to offer to help with the wedding.”

“I’ve received hundreds of Facebook messages from people offering everything from unity candles to dresses, table plans and wedding favours. I’m still trying to reply to people to say thank you.”

“The ‘Help I’m getting married’ page on Facebook have been fantastic. They stepped in to help and liaise with suppliers and I can’t thank them enough. I had one lady message me from The Cakery in Cavan saying she wanted to make the cake and when I told her I’m in Tipperary she said no problem she’d drop it down.”

“It’s just unbelievable how generous everyone has been.”

Receptions Bridal in Clonmel, Tony Connolly Menswear Clonmel, The Fairy Godmother, Mark Kennedy Photography from Ballingarry, the band Panic Animals and Jane’s Flower Cabin are just some of the many businesses who have stepped in to offer their services to Carol and Dermot for free on August 17.

The childhood sweethearts, who got engaged over two years ago, had previously decided to postpone getting married after their son Danny was born with a rare heart condition which left him on life support for seven months.

However when Ms Fleming’s sister spotted the competition to pay €10,000 towards a wedding she decided to nominate the Tipperary couple to give them the day of their dreams.

The vote based competition saw Ms Fleming and her partner earn more than 24,000 votes,  at a cost of €1.25 per vote, as friends and members of the public rallied together to treat the family.

With less than a month to her wedding Ms Fleming received an email from Elaine Whitney, owner of winourwedding.ie, to say she would not be able to pay out the remainder of the balance leaving the couple more than €7,000 short.

“I was just shocked when I saw the email. She was paying off small amounts for the cake and things so I thought she would make the payments closer to the date,” explains Ms Fleming who said she repeatedly gave Ms Whitney the “benefit of the doubt.”

“I had asked before if there were any problems and I was told everything was fine. I know a couple who had won the same prize on the Win Our Wedding website before so I felt it was legitimate. My son has been ill so my main focus is on him. If she contacted me 12 months ago to say she couldn’t afford to pay out I would have been relieved as I was sick of going over and back between suppliers who weren’t getting paid,” she added.

“The next few weeks will be very busy but I want to thank everyone who helped us along the way.  The kindness and generosity has been something else and neither myself, Dermot or Danny will ever forget everyone’s support.”

In a statement to the Irish Examiner owner of winourwedding.ie, Elaine Whitney,  explained she had no option but to close the company due to cashflow problems.

The Dublin based company, which started in 2013, ran competitions offering weddings worth €20,000.

However Ms Whitney said that the company fell into debt but that she continued running competitions to try to make money to pay for the prizes. Each vote in the competition cost €1.25 however it was also possible to purchase multiple votes in bundles for €2.50 and €5.

“There are two things I’m guilty of, one is not closing the company in 2016 and the other is letting couples down. I am absolutely heartbroken,” Ms Whitney said