Sidmouth College saves the day to put on couple’s wedding

PUBLISHED: 13:04 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 03 October 2018

Rebecca and Mark Burdus and their daughter Billie at Sidmouth College with Principal Sarah Parsons and Alison Pollentine. Ref shs 39 18TI 1965. Picture: Terry Ife

Rebecca and Mark Burdus and their daughter Billie at Sidmouth College with Principal Sarah Parsons and Alison Pollentine. Ref shs 39 18TI 1965. Picture: Terry Ife


A newly-wed couple who avoided a wedding day disaster have spoken of their ‘eternal gratitude’ to Sidmouth College, which opened up its doors to host their big day.

Rebecca and Mark Burdus wedding day was saved by Sidmouth College. Picture: Rebecca BurdusRebecca and Mark Burdus wedding day was saved by Sidmouth College. Picture: Rebecca Burdus

Rebecca and Mark Burdus found themselves 24 hours from cancelling their nuptials last Friday after their marquee company was forced to pull out due to bad weather.

The couple had spent 18 months planning a festival wedding in the FolkWeek camping field, which is in front of Ice House Lane, where Rebecca grew up.

The couple, who are parents to Mary-Bess, aged four, and Billie, two, had held a smaller ceremony at the Harbour Hotel on Thursday to sign the official paperwork, as it was where Rebecca’s parents were married.

But they woke on Friday morning to news of weather warnings at the weekend. With the thought of turning away 350 guests upon them, the bride-to-be called her old school in tears and was left amazed when a few hours later the school said ‘yes’.

Rebecca said: “Alison [Pollentine, college business manager] phoned back and it was the call that saved the day.”

Within five hours on Saturday morning, everything from catering vans to decorations and toilets was transferred from the field to the hall.

“Sidmouth College saved my wedding,” said Rebecca.

“I never imagined I’d get married in my old school hall.

“We are eternally grateful to the college for making it work for us.

“Nothing was too much for them. We put everything we had into the space and it worked perfectly. We had 24 hours to rebuild a wedding for 350 people.”

On Friday morning, the wedding plans looked in doubt.

“We woke up in our beautiful suite [at the Harbour] and were going to go down for a scenic breakfast and that never happened; I was telling myself it’s just a wedding,” said Rebecca.

“It wasn’t that we just picked a field, it was the sentiment behind it. I grew up in Ice House Lane and we had a plan when we get to have a wedding with everybody we loved. It was all about family, that was the theme.

“We even thought about going down the pub, but we couldn’t even find a pub because it was carnival night.”

The couple said the team of Liz Harris, George Horn and Alison Pollentine did not know how much they had done.

“What ended up being a happy-ever-after story, started with so much drama,” said Rebecca. “If we can start married life getting through those 72 hours, we can survive anything.”

The couple also thanked an incredible team of friends for rallying to their aid and caterers and band that adapted to the change in plan.

Sarah Parsons, principal of the college, said: “We are a community school, we are about working with the community. It’s important that links continues.”

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