Pick of the news

Is the ‘not posh enough for our hotel’ story for real?

This is the story: Law graduate Pauline Bailey, 27 and her partner Paul Carty, 51, an Engineer for the Ministry of Defence wanted to marry at the five star Stoke Park Country House Hotel in Buckinghamshire. Pick of the news

But then the couple receive a shocking email from the hotel’s wedding planner Michele Connelly. This internal email was never meant to be sent to them but accidentally was done. It was addressed to sales manager Carlo Zoccali at the hotel, and asked him for advice. “I know this doesn’t sound very nice but I am trying to put this wedding off,” she says, “as I don’t think they are the type of people that we would want to have at Stoke Park… Help!”

At first glance it seems that the fact this hotel has been extraordinarily snobby to turn away a couple happy to pay in this financial climate £240 a head – and for no proper reason than just not being the ‘wrong type of people.’ The couple today appeared in papers saying how hurt and offended they were at the email. Pauline Bailey, who works as a drug and alcohol counsellor, is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “we’re a respectable, middle-class, hard-working, well-educated couple.” They say they want to know why they were snubbed at the hotel – they believe it might be because of their age gap and the fact Mr Carty has a piercing on his face. Meanwhile the manager has written a grovelling email of apology (published in full.)

However, it then transpires (the very next day) that Pauline Bailey is actually a glamour model, who appears on Red Light Central TV and Playboy TV Chat wearing revealing underwear and knee-high boots. She is quoted as saying her fiance is ‘fine with it and I come home to him each night’. On the Sun newspaper’s website she is wearing considerably less. Could her glamour model job be a reason for the hotel’s bizarre email? Who knows, although frankly it’s not unusual for glamour models to hire top hotels for their wedding.

Only something nags me about this story. It probably is completely as it is – but could it be, might it just be a very clever PR stunt? On the Daily Mail website we are treated to lots of photos of a hotel that before this I’d never ever heard of. It looks fantastic. Captions under the photos say: “The plush hotel is set in 14 acres of stunning gardens and boasts a championship golf course” before going on to say “The hotel has been showcased some of the best-known films around.”

Meanwhile, Pauline Bailey, who claims to have booked another venue for their wedding, has been doing some different sort of TV – she has now appeared on ITV Daybreak. No doubt there could be other TV requests now – isn’t it almost time for the annual outing of I’m a Celebrity?

Which leaves me to wonder. After all, Pauline Bailey soars to fame. If she capitalises on this, she could become a household name. Meanwhile, the hotel gets the sort of exposure any PR would die for because quite apart from the fact it is as upmarket as The Ritz, before this I didn’t know about it. This story also basically advertises it as the sort of place which is select – hardly a bad thing. The thought of having a wedding at such an exclusive hotel is surely only going to increase bookings? After all, if this hotel ‘approves’ you, then you must be something special.

It is probably a genuine story – with a bizarre twist that in my view could strangely benefit all of them in the end. It’s just that after the recent publicity hoax on ITV This Morning, nothing would surprise me…

What do you think about this story? Let us know your thoughts below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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