LAST weekend’s heavy rain, which saw popular Port Elizabeth venue La Casa at The Lavender Barn submerged in water, was not enough to wash away Andrew Byron and Odette Kruger’s wedding plans.
With four weeks until the big day, the couple were starting to get anxious about finding a new venue.
Slipperfields manager Jana Rademeyer heard about their plight and decided to step in and offer a generous hand on behalf of the venue, which is located near Lady Slipper, just outside Port Elizabeth.
"I was doing some business when I overheard the couple’s story from the owner. I asked him to put us in touch.
"Then I spent my 67 minutes yesterday [Wednesday] with them and in the space of a short meeting, we’d made a plan for them to use our venue, free of charge.”
The couple are scheduled to get married on August 11.
Byron said: "It’s such a relief because there’s nothing you can do once the invitations have been sent and everybody’s made arrangements to come down from all over the country.
"We’ve got family coming from Botswana, Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Changing the date – that just wasn’t going to work.”
Lavender Barn chef Mauro Nettl will still do the catering at the wedding.
Although Nettl had originally reported that 70% of the restaurant’s contents were retrieved from the waist- deep waters, he did not hold out much hope for the future of the building, after it was flooded for the second time.
"Once a building stands under water for a certain amount of time, as the Lavender Barn currently is after this weekend, I’m pretty sure they condemn it,” Nettl said.
"I’m really heartbroken over what happened, but the upside has been all the support.”
La Casa customers who did not want to forfeit their bookings have shown their loyalty by keeping Nettl on as caterer, while moving their functions to other venues.
"I’m still very much involved with the wedding couple and about eight other bookings.
"We’re looking at relocating La Casa at The Lavender Barn, but we’ll definitely be staying in Port Elizabeth – the support here is really incredible,” Nettl said.