A COUPLE have been left angry and devastated after Bolton Council slashed their wedding ceremony numbers down from 50 guests to 20.

Chris Thorpe and Victoria Kay, from Farnworth, are due to get married on July 31 in the Queen Elizabeth II room inside Bolton Town Hall.

They were informed by Bolton Council on Monday that restrictions are still in place regarding weddings at the venue - despite the Government easing the majority of remaining Covid restrictions.

This is the third date that the soon-to-be newlyweds have scheduled their wedding for, having booked it originally for July 2020, then again on March 6 of this year.

With nine bridesmaids and six groomsmen, the couple fear that some of them will no longer be able to make the ceremony to ensure parents and young family members can attend.

Accounts worker Chris, 49, says he is furious and his fiancee Victoria, a 44-year-old care worker, is “inconsolable” at the thought of reducing the numbers for the pair’s wedding ceremony.

He said: “They have only given us 12 days notice, which is completely unacceptable.

“Apparently this is down to a staff shortage, but I’m not sure how they can know what staff will be available in two weeks' time.

“It seems that the council are picking and choosing which coronavirus guidelines to follow.

“I don’t understand how people are able to go to the nightclubs without masks or social distancing, and we’re not allowed to have our wedding ceremony, which has been booked in for months.

“It looks like we will have to tell some of our bridesmaids and groomsmen that they can’t attend our ceremony, and they won’t even give us a refund for the hire of the hall – even though they have cut our numbers.

“We just feel majorly let down.”

After the ceremony, the wedding party will then head for the reception at Farnworth and Kearsley Labour club - which is going ahead as planned with everyone who can make it in attendance.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We are sorry that this couple are disappointed with the maximum number which the QE2 room can safely accommodate.

“While legal Covid restrictions were lifted on Monday, organisations like Bolton Council are still required to risk assess their own activities to ensure the safety of all those attending.

“Ventilation is one of the key measures to limit the risk of infection.

"But the windows in the QE2 room cannot be opened and therefore there is very limited air flow.

“To reduce the risk of infection, advice has been to limit the numbers attending and request that people continue to wear masks whilst in the building.

“As well as keeping our staff safe, we want to minimise disruption to other services if members of the team are forced to self-isolate.

“Our staff can perform up to six ceremonies a day in the QE2 room and the same staff are also responsible for registering births and deaths.

“In the short term we are going to see if we can offer a larger room for ceremonies, but this may impact other parts of the wedding service.

“We will be contacting Mr Thorpe and Ms Kay to see if we can resolve their concerns.”