Couple’s wedding ruined when family miss ceremony after hire bus disaster

The most important day in a couple’s life was ruined when the bride and half the wedding party were left stranded after their hired Routemaster bus failed to turn up.

Laura Simpson, 34, and Matt Simpson, 30, tied the knot on Saturday but their plans for a spectacular arrival of the bride’s car followed by family and friends in the bus were thwarted and they ended up taking their vows without their loved ones present.

The bus was due to pick them up at 1.45pm from the house of the bride’s mother Jackie in Tilney Road, Dagenham. They say repeated phone calls to the firm, London Routemaster Bus Company, went unanswered.

An agonising half an hour later, the bride and her father decided to leave in their hired Rolls Royce as the registry office in Langtons, Hornchurch, could not delay the ceremony any longer.

Nine bridesmaids – including the couple’s six daughters aged between 22 months and 12 years – three pageboys, the mother of the bride and about 20 guests were left behind to miss almost the entire wedding ceremony.

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The bride’s sister Susan, 27, who was a maid of honour, said: “We’re all gutted we missed it. My mum is in pieces.

“It was quite upsetting for the children too. They were looking forward to their mum and dad getting married.”

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She said she even feared for the wedding’s legality as she had been due to sign the papers.

The group received a phone call at 3pm from the wedding photographer, who said the bus had arrived at the venue of the ceremony instead.

The driver was sent to collect the waiting party and they managed to arrive in time to see the exchange of rings.

Susan added: “We paid a hell of a lot of money for this bus. We’ve been trying to ring the company since, but they’re not actually picking up the phone. I checked all the emails we sent, just in case there may have been a misunderstanding, but the booking was clear.”

The London Routemaster Bus Company put the hitch down to “human error” and today informed the Post that it had refunded the full fee plus compensation in excess of �1,000.

Director Mike Biddell said: “We as a company are very sorry that this happened. It was a genuine human error from the driver’s point. He lost the paperwork. The vehicle has to be in the place an hour before. He was there an hour before but at the wrong venue.

“We immediately refunded them the money for the vehicle hire and we gave them some compensation for the wedding.”

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