Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Wedding hell as guests get sick

Probes begin as food poisoning leaves couple and mother of the bride fuming
The Waikato DHB and Ministry for Primary Industries are both investigating. File photo
The Waikato DHB and Ministry for Primary Industries are both investigating. File photo

A young couple say their much-anticipated wedding is being remembered for all the wrong reasons after a number of their guests became ill.

The Waikato DHB and Ministry for Primary Industries are both investigating, but two months on from their November wedding, the 21-year-old wife - who did not want to be named - says the incident still upsets her.

"That's how we're remembered now. So it's not like 'your wedding was amazing', it's like 'your wedding is the one where everybody got sick, eh?' So it's not known by the actual day, it's known by everybody getting sick from it which sucks in a big way."

Dr Richard Wall, Medical Officer of Health at Waikato DHB, confirmed "a number of guests" - not all - became ill.

Of 22 responses, 13 reported having diarrhoea or vomiting.

The newlywed said the only food provided to guests before the reception was wedding cake handed out at the ceremony.

She said she had mild symptoms - migraines, stomach cramps, hot flushes - but many others, including grandparents, a heavily pregnant friend and a nurse were struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea.

The newlywed said she and her 22-year-old husband were unaware anything was amiss until about two days after the reception at the venue.

It was then the Facebook messages, emails, phone calls and text messages began flowing in.

"We had about 20 responses on Facebook and then it just grew and grew and grew."
She said after talking to those who got sick it seemed hard to pin down to one particular part of the meal.

"We can't really pin it down to anything. Some people didn't eat the ham and got sick, and you talk to someone else and they did eat the ham and got sick."

The woman's mother said she was sad and disappointed by the incident which had marred her daughter's special day.

"The actual venue itself is beautiful. Leading up to the wedding they couldn't be more helpful and were great, so the disappointment comes in the fact that their response to what's happened has been complete and utter denial."

The venue owner said he was sceptical of the couple's claims that such a high number of people would get sick at his restaurant.

"I have my doubts about the numbers. No one has been to the doctor to get any reports ... I don't know how truthful everyone is [being]."

He was expecting MPI to get back to him next week, but said no one had visited the premises.

An MPI spokesman said it had received notification from the DHB about the incident and has provided general advice to the business.

- NZ Herald

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