PLANNING their dream wedding has turned into a real nightmare for Jodi Dryden and Andrew Winter.
Two fires, serious injury, the announcement of a Royal Wedding and spiralling costs have all prevented the couple from saying “I do”.
Last year, just weeks before they were due to walk down the aisle, their Southwick home was devastated in a blaze caused by a faulty fridge.
Forced to postpone the wedding, they named the same date the following year, only for Prince William and Kate Middleton to reveal they would tie the knot on the same day.
That announcement sent costs soaring as couples rushed to share their big day with the famous pair and caterers, photographers and registrars doubled their prices for the public holiday.
And just when they thought their run of bad luck had come to an end, the hotel which was due to host their reception was burnt to the ground.
Dad-of-one Andrew, 26, whose mum died last year, also had to give up his job as a support worker after he injured his back in an accident.
“It’s been one thing after another,” he said. “Just when you think nothing else could happen, something else comes along.
“We’d had to postpone the wedding because of the fire, but we thought we’d keep the same date for the rearranged one.
“We just couldn’t believe it when William and Kate chose the same date for theirs.
“The cost went through the roof because it was a public holiday.”
The couple, who got engaged five years ago, are expecting a deposit refund from the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, which was almost destroyed in a blaze late last year, but are still struggling to get their dream wedding back on track.
“We looked all over for an alternative venue, but the only suitable one we could find was in Hexham,” said shop assistant Jodi. “It’s all getting a bit too much and we’re both a bit stressed out, but we’re determined to get married.”
Jodi’s mum Tracey, from Thorney Close, said the catastrophes have made them more determined than ever to get married.
“Everything that could go wrong, seems to have gone wrong,” she said. “The fire at the house was terrible. The whole interior was gutted and all the furniture they had saved up for years for was destroyed.
“They had to move out for six weeks and live with me while the builders carried out repairs.
“Eventually, they managed to get things back on track and then the Royal Wedding was announced.
“They’d had their heart set on April 29, which was when they go engaged, and then the hotel burns down.
“You just can’t believe their luck.
“Now we’re rushing around to arrange someone to take the cake up to Hexham, a photographer, coaches to take people up there, and someone to fit the dress on the day. Nobody is available.
“All they want to do is get married.”