‘I’m Britain’s unluckiest bride – and I haven’t even had my big day yet’
When Sophie Bohun booked her dream wedding she had no idea of the calamities that lay ahead.
Sophie, 31, is a contender for Britain’s unluckiest bride after a series of traumas which ended with her big day cancelled.
But she might have had an inkling things would not go smoothly after fiancé Matt Stevens chickened out from his proposal – twice.
Matt, 40, first planned to pop the question at the top of a volcano in Bali at sunrise. But after climbing to the top with the ring in his pocket, his nerves got the better of him.
Next he took Sophie to a posh London restaurant to do the deed and backed out again – because he thought the scene was too busy.
Eventually he asked Sophie one morning in bed and they began planning a beach wedding in Cuba for 24 guests for October 22 last year.
But six weeks before the big day, Matt’s mum Elaine, 62, had a bad fall while doing DIY in her kitchen and developed an infection. She could hardly walk and medics told her she might not be able to fly.
Days later Sophie’s sister Kirsty, 38, was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Her emergency operation was booked for the week of the wedding.
Sophie and Matt, from Minehead, Somerset, decided to go ahead without her despite Kirsty being the chief bridesmaid.
Sophie said: “We were all devastated. Kirsty’s health was more important than the wedding but everything was already booked so we felt we had to go ahead.
“Kirsty’s children Bertie, who is four, and seven-year-old Beatrice were meant to be my page boy and flower girl, along with their cousins, but they wouldn’t make it either.
“I didn’t want my mum Paula to have to choose between Kirsty and me so I told her to stay in England to look after my sister, which meant my dad most likely wouldn’t come out to see me get married either.”
Just when they thought things couldn’t get any worse, there was a blow four weeks before the ceremony when Thomas Cook went bust.
The couple had booked a £3,000 wedding package with the firm at the Iberostar hotel in Playa Pilar in Cuba.
Sophie said: “Thomas Cook staff were convinced there was going to be a buyout. They sent us an email the night before the collapse saying everything would be OK.
“But then we never heard from anyone again. The staff that we had been dealing with had lost their jobs.
“I was already doubting whether we should board the plane because I was worried about my sister, and Matt’s mum was hobbling about with her foot.
“In some ways it was a bit of a relief when Thomas Cook folded and we were told the whole thing was cancelled but, after everything that happened, we felt numb.”
The couple ended up booking a last-minute consolation holiday to Mexico and spent the day they were meant to marry on the beach. Last month they finally got back the £3,000 they had paid for their ceremony, hotel and tickets.
Their guests, who had booked through Thomas Cook as well, also got their money back because the trip was covered by the Atol financial protection scheme.
Sophie’s sister Kirsty’s operation was a success and she is now almost fully recovered.
But the £3,000 the couple spent on gifts for their guests was wasted because they were etched with last October’s wedding date.
Sophie, a personal assistant, said: “We knew Cuba was a long way for our 24 guests to travel so bought everyone jewellery and watches to say thank you. Unfortunately it’s all now sitting upstairs useless.
“All the napkins and table decorations and stationery had the date on too. So that’s also money wasted. It’s been a nightmare.”
The couple, who first got together in 2014 while both working in HR at Debenhams, say planning a new date has left them feeling flat.
Sophie said: “It’s hard to get motivated to rearrange everything again.
“We’ve started to throw some ideas around but nobody seems excited about it because they’ve been through all the disappointment with us. We are just disheartened.
“My dress is a beautiful summer one with little straps so I’d be keen to get married in sunshine.
“But I don’t think we will go abroad after our last experience. I don’t want to risk any more bad luck.”