The interior of the Royal Leigh Palace Suites, with the 'Upgraded Premium' seating close to the top table.

A couple from Leigh On Sea in Essex have angered the 150 guests that they have invited to their wedding by offering them the chance to UPGRADE their wedding party experience for a fee – the couple will take a 40% share of the money from any packages that are purchased by their guests. According to an invitation that we have seen at Southend News Network, guests have been told that they can pay a ‘one-off fee’ of £199 each to enjoy an enhanced SEVEN-COURSE wedding breakfast, unlimited alcoholic drinks, guaranteed parking spaces and a premium table setting with the best possible view of the speeches. The manager of the Royal Leigh Palace Suites has told our Chief Reporter that he will offer the service to other happy couples in the future if this initial trial wedding is a success.

City trader Eleanor Strange and her arms dealer partner Marcus DeFrook have told Southend News Network that they think that the offer ‘represents fantastic value for guests,’ and Eleanor added: ‘We are not insisting that guests take out the hospitality packages on offer, and we will still welcome non-paying guests with open arms on the big day in August as we would assume that their level of generosity will reflect their decision. What we are actually doing is giving people the freedom to choose, and they have a fantastic opportunity to make their day with us that little bit extra special. We are not running this promotion instead of asking for gifts – it is more of an optional extra.’

Function Manager Lee Vendu said: ‘Modern couples are looking for creative approaches to gifting, and we feel that this is the perfect way to both enhance your own wedding guest experience and give newlyweds a much-needed cash injection to start their married life. Our trial couple will get £80 every £199 Premier Package that is sold, and from what we have seen so far in terms of sales they should have enough for a honeymoon to remember. If guests do not choose to upgrade their wedding guest experience, our main bar is competitively priced, and Eleanor and Marcus have also laid on a reasonably-varied buffet.’