Kettering bride’s special day ruined by nut mix-up

Kayleigh and Stephen's first dance. Picture by Big Bopper Entertainment. NNL-171016-125308005
Kayleigh and Stephen's first dance. Picture by Big Bopper Entertainment. NNL-171016-125308005

A Kettering bride with a nut allergy saw her big day ‘ruined’ after being served a cake containing almonds.

Kayleigh Cortis, 23, was left with swollen lips and fingers and vomiting after the blunder at her wedding on September 22 – which was also her birthday – last year.

The caterer, Impressions Caterers Ltd, has now been ordered to pay more than £3,000 by the courts.

Youth worker Mrs Cortis said: “We told them about my allergy and they assured us the meal would be entirely nut-free.

“I got a plate of cake and I had an allergic reaction, my lips started swelling up.

“I had to take my wedding ring off as my fingers were swelling and I was sick.

“I couldn’t eat or keep anything down.”

While she was being cared for by new husband Stephen, a 24-year-old plumber, the food was cleared away.

But by then Mrs Cortis says the day at the Hunsbury Hill Centre in Northampton was ruined.

She said: “I look back at the pictures and but I can’t look back at them and smile.

“My make-up is running because I’ve been crying and you can tell I’ve been unwell.

“It’s not the sort of celebration you get to do more than once and it was ruined.”

Mrs Cortis says the firm offered to refund her £4,000 catering costs but she will never recoup the £12,000 the whole day cost.

She was still ill at the start of her honeymoon in Malta directly after the wedding.

She said: “I was still quite poorly when we flew out.

“I didn’t eat and didn’t drink for the first few days as I was so cautious.”

Following an investigation by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards team, the caterers admitted an offence contrary to the Food Safety Act at a hearing at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how the company has since made changes to its processes and asked trading standards to visit their premises to make sure their systems are fully effective.

The firm was given a penalty of £3,156.36, which included a fine of £850, investigation costs and an £85 victim surcharge fee.

County council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “It is very important that food businesses have the processes in place to ensure they know which foods can cause allergies and intolerances and that everyone working for the business is aware of customer allergies.

“Catering firms must also display signs inviting consumers with allergies and intolerances – some of which can be life-threatening – to notify staff.

“Our Trading Standards team is keen to work with businesses to help them navigate food safety laws and would encourage anyone who would like support to get in touch.”

In a statement, the company said it acknowledged human error from staff members on the day of the wedding and that it was a ‘one off incident’.