A COUPLE'S hopes of a dream £20k wedding in Bologna have been dashed – after their flight operator switched the flight times for their wedding guests.

Michelle Goulden and fiancé Mark Caunce had planned to tie the knot – at the third time of asking after two previous wedding plans sadly had to be cancelled – in a three-day celebration, with all of their closest family and friends flying out on July 31, returning on August 2.

Michelle, 38 and Mark, 43, planned to head out there on July 28 with their three-year-old twins and parents, so they had a few days to get things finalised.

But when one of their 48 guests went to book their flight, they discovered the only flight out that day was many hours later than the flight Michelle had advised her the details of.

Michelle, who grew up in Ellesmere Port and went to school in Chester, explained: "On looking at this flight and comparing the flight number from other guests who had already booked, I found that they had shifted the outbound flight from 9.35am departure to 6.20pm departure which would mean our guests would miss the first afternoon (lunch and bottomless Prosecco) and evening celebration (sunset cocktails and dinner).

"On further review I found they had also moved the homeward bound flight from 5.20pm departure to 10.50am departure which meant the lunch and wine tasting we had booked would be completely missed also.

"We called Ryanair multiple times, as have our guests, to be told that although they have changed the 'proposed' time they may change it back and it had not been confirmed by email.

"When we asked when this confirmation would take place we were told it could be up to a week before the flight date!"

The couple, who now both work in Manchester but live in Aspull, Wigan, say they were "stuck in no man's land" as they couldn't ask all their guests to fly out with another operator on the slim chance Ryanair could reinstate the original flight times, meaning a refund would not be possible.

What compounded the issue was this was the third time the couple have tried to plan their wedding.

Michelle said: "We had originally planned to marry in Cyprus but my fiancé's mother became very ill with cancer and would not be able to fly, so we rearranged it for the UK.

"Unfortunately the cancer was very aggressive and she passed. We waited a year to plan again and now this has happened."

The couple then tried to get refunds for all their guests, cancelling the wedding after paying a £7,000 deposit, but Ryanair's customer service team initially refused, meaning the guests would have to wait to see if they were able to get refunds.

However, after The Standard got in touch with Ryanair, all guests have now been refunded.

Michelle added: "Mark, my fiancé, spoke to Lorraine, a customer services manager and she apologised and said they will be listening back to the calls I made and that their systems have fallen down.

"My fiancé did ask if they would do anything for the money we have lost through our wedding but no real commitment or comment on that.

"It has been a horrific experience when it should have been such a happy time, especially after what we had already been through, but the fact those who wanted to be with us are not losing money is a weight lifted off my mind."

A spokesperson for Ryanair confirmed guests had been refunded and said: "These customers’ bookings had a flight time change on both the outbound and inbound journeys.

"Customers affected by flight time changes of over two hours can request a free move or refund once they are notified by email or text message.

"These flights were six months away and customers had not been notified yet, as the flight times were subject to further possible changes."

Ryanair has been forced to review its summer 2020 schedules as a result of the 'non-delivery' of the currently-grounded Boeing Max aircraft during that time.

This has resulted in a small number of flight time changes or route/frequency cuts.

Michelle and Mark previously featured in The Standard in 2017, speaking of their harrowing ordeal at a Caribbean resort that was ravaged by Hurricane Irma.

The couple, who were spending that holiday with their then-10-month-old twins and and Michelle's parents Mo and Billy, were then left for more than a week with no available flights back to the UK and in a hotel where they were made to feel unwanted.