Black day for a bride

WHAT was meant to be the happiest day of her life ended in disaster for bride Simone Sprenkeler when food poisoning from a hens' night at an Inverell Chinese restaurant ruined her wedding day two years ago.

Simone, her bridesmaids and mother were all struck down with severe vomiting and diarrhoea for a week after dining at the Sapphire Chinese Restaurant three nights before the wedding day.

On the big day the bride vomited while saying her vows.

By the morning of her wedding, Saturday, April 10, 2004 the bridal party were all so ill they found it difficult to leave the toilet, bravely doing their best to get ready with Mrs Sprenkeler eventually making it to her garden wedding ceremony 50 minutes late.

Mrs Sprenkeler, her mother Irene Devoy, her sisters Lauren Devoy and Rebecca Whetton and sister-in-law Kerry-Anne King launched legal action on the restaurant's owners Suny Yuen and Elan Chen in the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal of NSW.

Last week, Mrs Sprenkeler and her bridal party were awarded a combined $30,391 in compensation by the tribunal for "physical inconvenience, distress and disappointment" and for "ruining the wedding day".

The 25-year-old bride told the tribunal everything became a blur and all she could do was hold on to the toilet bowl and vomit.

"I burst into tears," she said about the moments immediately after the ceremony.

However, they were not awarded compensation for the cost of the doomed wedding, nor for pain and suffering.

Mrs Sprenkler received $10,000 while the other four women were awarded $5000 and small amounts as compensation for money spent on medication and petrol to and from hospital

Yuen and Chen subsequently sold-up and the Byron St restaurant is now under new management. Tribunal member D. Forbes ruled the restaurant was guilty of supplying food not safe for human consumption, which Yuen and Chen admitted was true.

Those who had eaten the food spent three hours at Inverell Hospital on the wedding day where they were given injections to curb the nausea, while Mrs Sprenkeler's new husband Michael, entertained the wedding guests at the reception without his wife.

The tribunal, held in Armidale last month heard that pre-wedding photos had to be cancelled. When the photographer arranged some shots of the bride and groom three days after the ceremony Mrs Sprenkeler became severely ill. She burst into tears before being helped to the toilet by her mother.

All five women can no longer look at, smell or eat Chinese food.

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