A COUPLE who were forced to cancel their wedding have won a legal battle with their venue over unfair cancellation charges.

Alan Barnes, 52, and Carol MacGregor, 56, of Troon, South Ayrshire, were due to wed at the Lodge on Loch Lomond in June but were forced to call it off due to personal circumstances just over 10 weeks before the big day.

They believed they would only lose the £500 deposit they had paid, but as part of their contract the hotel demanded they pay 75% of the "anticipated costs" for the entire wedding.

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The hotel, based in Luss, Argyll and Bute, claimed the contract was "standard and perfectly fair" and raised a court action against the couple when they failed to pay.

However, Ayr sheriff John Montgomery found the contract was unfair and ruled the couple should not be forced to pay the £2011 asked of them.

Sales representative Mr Barnes said: "It was a huge relief when the sheriff found in our favour.

"Although the sum they were looking for was not massive, it struck me as paying money for nothing and totally unfair."

Mr Barnes and Ms MacGregor, an education audiologist, plan to marry abroad next year before throwing a party for family and friends on their return.

Andrew Hepburn, manager at the Lodge on the Loch, said he has no plans to amend the contract in light of the court decision.

He said: "From our point of view, the wedding contract is fairly standard and perfectly fair.

"You put contracts in front of people so that they understand the agreement they're entering into.

"We don't force people to sign them, they do it freely and it is only when things go wrong they claim they are unfair.

"What we sell is perishable – in this case it would have been very difficult for us to sell another wedding on that date at such short notice.

"People generally book their weddings more than a year in advance so we were obviously losing out.

"It's too costly and frankly not worth our time to pursue it any further."

He added that, prior to the court hearing, the hotel did make some concessions to the couple by removing charges for three rooms which they managed to sell to other guests for the night.