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No more weddings on pier

PUBLISHED: 12:50 03 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:18 05 July 2010

ONE of Suffolk's most unusual and unique wedding venues is no longer be staging ceremonies after its owner said it was a "logistical and financial nightmare".

ONE of Suffolk's most unusual and unique wedding venues is no longer be staging ceremonies after its owner said it was a “logistical and financial nightmare”.

Weddings had taken place at the end of the pier in Southwold for several years but last year Stephen Bournes, owner of the hugely successful tourist attraction, decided to close the venue and improve the pier for the benefit of the majority of its visitors.

He said: “The pier was a truly unique venue for weddings and I thought about it for two years - how could we make it pay? But in the end I had to do what is best for the pier.

“The wedding venue closed as hosting them although enjoyable was a logistical and financial nightmare, the weddings only took place on Saturdays and this meant that a portion of the pier always looked visually poor for six days of the week.

“Staffing was a difficulty as we needed five to six staff for weddings but had no need for them at other times. As such it was difficult to find people willing to cover for just weddings especially as most of the people we employ travel from elsewhere to Southwold. Also, most people wanted to get married during the summer months so we were very busy with weddings in June, July and August and then almost nothing at other times.

“We have very high costs to maintain the pier and the shops ensure this income.”

Mr Bournes added: “Another issue was the logistics of getting food down the pier to the venue during bad weather and as this is England it does rain quite a lot.”

He said that as well as these problems, when wedding services took place it meant that visitors were unable to walk the full length of the pier.

“When people visit the pier they want to walk to the very end, you cannot just stop halfway, and they were not able to do this while the weddings were being held,” said Mr Bournes.

Hundreds of weddings have been staged on the pier in recent years, including the nuptials of actor David Morrissey and novelist Esther Freud.

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