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X Factor crew wrecked our weddig: Pair's reception is ruined by catering errors and starstruck guests as show takes over hotel

By Andy Whelan

It should have been the perfect wedding in every way. The five-star country estate in leafy Hertfordshire had been booked for 18 months and bride Kelly Filistad had spared no expense.

But Kelly had not planned for the presence of The X Factor, which was filming scenes in the hotel on her big day in August.

Guests were served the wrong food, a wedding cake went missing, the DJ played the wrong track for the couple’s first dance and, instead of toasting the newlyweds, guests wandered off to find the ITV show’s judges.

Overshadowed: Kelly and Rob Filistad with X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, before the presence of the ITV show's cast and crew took the shine off their big day

So it left a bitter taste when, by way of apology, hotel staff offered Kelly the chance to have her picture taken with head judge Gary Barlow.

Kelly, 28, said: ‘Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of my wedding day. But it turned out to be one of the worst days of my life.’

The graphic designer paid £26,000 for her wedding, including £14,000 to The Grove – said to be David Beckham’s favourite hotel – to hire its luxury Ivory Room for their 80 guests.

The Grove’s website promises weddings held there ‘will be perfect, right down to the last tiny exquisite detail’.

But the problems began as soon as Kelly and her mother Kathy, 52, a council worker, arrived the day before the wedding. Kelly said: ‘We arrived at 2pm but were kept waiting in reception until 5.30pm.

‘When I got in the room, the bath was broken and the TV wouldn’t work. A maintenance worker came to fix them. I was later told that the hotel had been too busy to inspect my room.’

The following morning, it became clear why staff had been so preoccupied. ‘I opened my door to find the hallway filled with crew and filming equipment. They were filming Louis Walsh, who was staying next door.’

The scenes being shot were of the judges – Gary, Louis, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos – meeting the show’s finalists.

Shattered hopes: The couple chose The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire as their dream wedding location - only for staff to be distracted by the filming

Kelly and husband Rob, from Watford, were married at 2pm and afterwards, while they posed for photographs in the hotel grounds, Tulisa came to speak to them. Kelly recalled: ‘Tulisa said my dress was exactly the kind she wanted for her own wedding. She joked, “I’m going to have to speak to my boyfriend now to get a move on.” She was lovely.’

But The X Factor soon proved an unwanted distraction. ‘Outside, parked in what was supposed to be our exclusive entrance area, were lots of X Factor vans loading equipment and making a racket. Many guests would not stay seated for the meal as they became more preoccupied with finding X Factor people.’

The menus described the mouth-watering food – guinea fowl and white-oil velouté, braised baby fennel and celeriac fondant. But to Kelly’s shock, guests were instead served roast chicken. She never received an explanation. The wedding planner offered a free round of drinks – and to introduce the newlyweds to Gary Barlow. Kelly said: ‘I replied, “I don’t care about meeting Gary Barlow, my wedding is a disaster.”

‘After the meal, we were supposed to have biscuits that Rob’s mother Francesca had brought from Sicily, but I was told they had been lost. I burst into tears again.

The wedding planner also broke down.’

Kelly discovered that flowers, costing £1,000, were missing. Then, when the couple were taken on a tour of the grounds for photographs, they had to stand aside while X Factor cast and crew passed. ‘When Louis saw us, he looked surprised and asked, “Is this your wedding?” When I said it was, he turned to Rob and joked, “How did you get someone like her?” ’

A further 70 guests had arrived for the evening reception and the couple headed back to the Ivory Room for their first dance. But the DJ played the wrong Carpenters song – Close To You instead of We’ve Only Just Begun.

‘A second wedding cake was due to be served at 6.30pm, but did not come out until 11.30pm after all the guests had gone home,’ Kelly said. ‘By 9.30pm I couldn’t take any more, and I went upstairs in tears and stayed there. I don’t blame The X Factor.

I blame the staff for being so distracted.’

They later agreed a £6,000 refund with the hotel management. Rob said: ‘It was heartbreaking to see Kelly crying on her wedding day.’

A spokesman for The Grove said: ‘The matter has been settled with the client and we don’t have any further comment.’

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