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A Kiwi marquee company has apologised to a bride-to-be and her fiance after the company office manager emailed the couple saying their wedding plans were "cheap, nasty and tacky".

Aucklander Steve Hausman emailed Great Marquee Company saying he and fiancee Paula Brosnahan would not require the company's services for their wedding:

Hi Klaus Paula and I went and viewed your marquee setup at Devonport the other weekend and unfortunately we did not like it.So this is just to let you know we will not require your services on 7 April 2007. Thanks for your assistance and we are sorry that it turned out this way although we are glad we looked at the marquee prior to booking as that would have been a huge disappointment. Regards Steve Hausman

The couple, due to marry in April next year, received this reply:

Hi Steve, Thanks for your reply. Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upper class clients which unfortunately you are not. Why don't you stay within your class level and buy something from payless plastics instead. Kindest Regards Katrina Office Manager

The spiteful email, forwarded on to a handful of Brosnahan's friends, ended up in hundreds of inboxes in New Zealand and Australia, and bridal message boards worldwide carried copies of the exchange.

Brosnahan told the Herald on Sunday that their wedding, to be held on a Whangaparaoa cliff-top, was far from a frugal affair. "We are spending $30,000 on this day, they don't know anything about our wedding so I can't see how they can label it cheap."

The company, whose website was temporarily down on Friday, has published this apology on its site:

This is not the view of The Great Marquee Company. If you are emailing us or visiting our website because of the recent (inappropriate) email communication between a customer and one of our staff.

We would like to advise that we regret the exchange. We have apologised to the customer concerned and this staff member's contract has been terminated and processes has been put in place to ensure it won't happen again.

We most certainly do not condone rudeness on the part of any of our staff or endorse the views in this particular response.

With a long history in Auckland of supporting events with our marquee hire, we know that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful times in a person's life and we do what we can to make it easy. You may be aware that the email that was forwarded by our customer has now reached some thousands of people. We do not believe it is fairly representative of the service that we usually provide, and perhaps more importantly it is generating many calls to the former customer which is stressful for him. We would rather not comment any further but move on having learned from this situation. Again, we pass our apologies on to this customer.

In an even better twist, the bitter-tongued staff member, who was promptly fired after the email came to light, is, reportedly, also the CEO's wife. ®

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