Devastated brides and grooms have demanded answers from a lavish wedding venue after almost 50 of their guests were struck down with severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Rebecca and Brodey Fitzgerald hosted their $20,000 wedding reception at The Park in Albert Park in Melbourne’s south on Friday.
But in the hours following the big day, their guests – including two pregnant women who were ultimately hospitalized – fell ill with serious gastro.
Surprisingly, this is the fifth such incident to occur at the park in the past month, with around 230 guests from various different functions affected.
Rebecca and Brodey Fitzgerald (pictured) hosted their $20,000 wedding reception at The Park in Albert Park in Melbourne’s south on Friday. But in the hours following their big day, around 50 of their guests – including two pregnant women who were ultimately hospitalized – fell ill with serious gastro.
“We just want some form of answer as to how this happened,” Ms Fitzgerald told A Current Affair.
“We spent so much money trying to have the best day possible and now I just feel like everyone’s memory of our wedding is going to be negative.”
Days before their wedding, the newlyweds were reassured by Park management that they had received the green light from the council and health department to remain open.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald now deeply regret having “trusted the professionals”.
About 80 attendees at a medical conference dinner held at the Park on September 13 reported falling ill, while a wedding held three days later was spoiled after another 80 guests were struck down by gastro-like symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness.
Mr Fitzgerald himself fell ill, spending the day after the wedding in bed at a luxury hotel the couple had booked to continue the celebrations (the couple are pictured)
Newlyweds (pictured) demand answers from The Park website
The venue was cleaned and received a clean bill of health from the Department of Health and the Portland City Council, allowing the Fitzgeralds to continue with their wedding.
“We got a call from the wedding venue three days before the wedding and they just explained to us that we would see it on the news and not to worry about it,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The room had been deep cleaned and they reassured me that everything was fine. They got council approval and none of our guests would be affected at all.”
When Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald informed the venue they were told “maybe it was a gastro-contact virus brought in by one of the guests”, which left them made furious.
“It brings back all the good memories from the wedding because you’re trying to focus on the well-being of your guests,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
The couple had treated themselves to an expensive hotel room in the city the day after the wedding when the groom himself fell seriously ill.
“I was so upset that I couldn’t spend what was supposed to be a magical weekend with my partner – now my wife – and all I did was lie under the covers on the bed and let Bec walking around the city alone – trying to enjoy it alone,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
‘How are you doing that?’
Shockingly, the illnesses reported at Fitzgerald’s wedding are the fifth such incident to occur at the Park (pictured) in the past month, with around 230 guests from various functions affected.
The venue voluntarily closed its doors for two weeks after the latest outbreaks
The day after Fitzgerald’s wedding, another outbreak reportedly struck 40 guests at another wedding.
The Park announced Tuesday that it had voluntarily closed its doors for two weeks.
But the Fitzgeralds believe it is “a little too late”.
“However, it’s a good thing because I would hate for another bride or someone going through a big event to have to go through what we went through,” Ms Fitzgerald added.
The Park would have offered to reimburse all events.
“We have the highest standards in health and safety practices in place and are deeply saddened that this outbreak has occurred and affected a number of people,” The Park said in a statement.
Bahaa Harb, manager of The Park, said Tuesday he made the voluntary decision to close out of “an abundance of caution.”
“We had taken all precautionary health and safety measures prior to recent events. However, as cases of illness were reported following a weekend event, we have decided to temporarily halt operational functions for the next two weeks until we have more information.” Mr. Harb said Nine newspapers.
“It is possible that these outbreaks are unrelated, but we have decided to close out of an abundance of caution until we have more information.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the venue for further comment on the new outbreaks.