Unlucky Maltese bride wins compensation after 2013 blackout ruins wedding

Wedding hall told to refund cash after generator failed to back-up power supply during nationwide power cut that ruined wedding party

An unlucky bride won compensation after a power blackout shut down her wedding
An unlucky bride won compensation after a power blackout shut down her wedding

The unlucky wedding party that suffered the worst of a nationwide black-out in 2013 has managed to win compensation after wedding hall Castello Dei Baroni, of Wardija, failed to restore back-up power.

On 20 September 2013, Malta was struck by a nationwide power cut – for most meaning an evening without air conditioning but, for some, an outage that caused considerably greater outrage.

Roberta Cutajar, whose wedding reception was brought to a halt when the lights could not be restored after the venue’s generator failed, demanded she be refunded the money she had paid in a consumer complaint to the court.

“You can imagine my disappointment, to say the least, of my wedding ending in such a way,” Cutajar said in her complaint.

Castello Dei Baroni Limited, who had hosted the reception, argued that the outcome could not be attributed to themselves, blaming the persons responsible for the supply of electricity, and refusing to grant a refund of approximately €3,000 which the couple had paid before the incident occurred.

Cutajar added that the venue became dangerous for guests in the dark, given that the area where the reception took place had a large pool in its centre.

Witnesses confirmed that the event was thoroughly disrupted when the generator went on and off at least six times, making a huge amount of noise the whole time.

The band was silenced, and no backup music, such as a CD player, was provided by Castello Dei Baroni.

Food was also apparently delayed, with staff having to use their mobiles for light and with almost no appliances functioning.

The wedding cake had to be cut far away indoors, where the only light was left, which could only be accessed by circumnavigating the pool and climbing six flights of stairs in the dark, a feat made no easier when wearing wedding attire.

Despite the ‘total darkness’, the guests also elected to remain outside due to the stifling heat inside the building.

Eventually, a makeshift spotlight was constructed with the assistance of the bride’s cousin – an electrician – using an extension cord and a 500W bulb borrowed from the cameraman, who had been unable to work in those conditions. He also noted the lack of maintenance that had been performed on the generator.

The court agreed that the venue owners should have been responsible in ensuring that the generator would have functioned properly in such circumstances so that the wedding could continue smoothly.

The Cutajars were awarded €1,915.69, after the court considered that the couple would be eligible for VAT refunds.

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