Jilted bride says fiancé dumped her for their newlywed wedding planner
A jilted bride has revealed she is selling her unworn dress after her fiancé left her for their newlywed wedding planner.
Donna Bettiss, 28, from Horsham, West Sussex was left devastated after partner James Routledge, 30, dumped her just weeks before their big day in 2018.
James left his wife-to-be to start a relationship with work colleague Paige Hannington, 27, who had helped the couple organise and plan their wedding.
Miss Bettiss is now selling her unworn £1,800 wedding dress to get rid of ‘bad memories’ and said he was ‘heartbroken’ to learn Mr Routledge was now engaged to Ms Hannington – who was married when she started her relationship with him.
Mr Routledge and his new fiancee said they got together after a night out when they both confessed they were unhappy with their relationships and were attracted to each other.
Donna Bettiss, 28, from Horsham, West Sussex was left devastated after being dumped weeks before her wedding
James Routledge, 30, left his wife-to-be to start a relationship with work colleague Paige Hannington, 27, who had helped the couple organise and plan their wedding
Software partner coordinator Miss Bettiss listed the £1,800 Sophia Tolli ‘Monte’ sleeveless tulle and sequin gown on Facebook for £600 two weeks ago.
Ms Hannington said she and Miss Bettiss hadn’t spoken since the wedding was cancelled and added ‘it would be hard [for Donna] to hear that she and James are incredibly happy’ but she ‘wished her happiness’.
But Miss Bettiss said she felt ‘completely betrayed’ by someone she considered a friend.
She said: ‘I was distraught that someone I knew and trusted and was discussing such an important time in my life with, could do that to me.
‘However the way I feel now is very paranoid to discuss how amazing my relationship is with any other woman. She totally destroyed my confidence.
‘When James decided she was who he wanted there was nothing I could do but let him go.
‘I didn’t cause them any problems or try to stop them progressing. I even saw them on a night out but I just left them to it. I wasn’t going to make their night out with their friends awkward so I kept my distance and kept my friends away from saying anything to them.
‘The day I let James go was the day I realised he no longer loved me and I couldn’t force someone to love me or stay with me, that would be selfish.’
Regarding the sale of the dress, she added: ‘It [the dress] has been at my uncle’s house until recently, but now it’s hanging in my wardrobe.
‘I can’t keep it, there are too many bad memories. I desperately need it gone if I want to move forward and rebuild my life.
‘Having it hanging there is a constant reminder of what happened.
‘I originally listed it for £1,000 on eBay but there was no interest in the dress, so then I listed it for £600 on Facebook and wrote what my partner had done.
‘Since I wrote that I’ve received lots of positive messages.’
The advert reads: ‘Open to offers, never worn. Wedding was cancelled due to [redacted] fiancé.
‘Desperately need gone, cost me £1800, had it a year and it’s a constant reminder.
‘Sophia Tolli dress size 16 never altered.’
Miss Bettiss and Mr Routledge met in March 2011 at a nightclub in Horsham and the following day she searched for him on social media and sent him a message.
Mr Routledge and Miss Bettiss, pictured together left and right, met in 2011 and quickly fell in love, moving in together after six months and then getting engaged soon after
Mr Routledge gave Miss Bettiss a diamond cluster engagement ring, pictured
Six months later the loved-up pair moved in together and Mr Routledge then proposed and presented her with a diamond cluster engagement ring.
Miss Bettiss said: ‘I instantly fell for him and we soon spent every single day together. After a couple of months he told me how in love with me he was.
‘We were both really, really happy and so madly in love – head over heels – I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.’
The pair were happily engaged and bought a two-bed end-of-terrace house where they lived together with her cat Sammie.
The bride-to-be booked four-star Nutfield Priory in Redhill, Surrey, as the wedding venue for April 2018 and picked her dream wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses and busied herself making hand-crafted decorations.
As she immersed herself in wedding planning, newly-married Ms Hannington regularly offered her wedding planning advice over cocktails.
Miss Bettiss said: ‘The whole time from June up until November was wedding planning.
Donna is selling the wedding dress online, left, after her ceremony was called off. Pictured right is Miss Bettiss trying on the dress
‘Paige and I would meet up for a cocktail and she would give me stuff for my wedding. She even gave me her spreadsheets which were a massive help.
‘We also did a lot of over text and Facebook and she would tag me in different things.’
In September Miss Bettiss picked up her designer wedding dress and said the gown, which hugged her curves, made her feel like royalty.
She added said: ‘When I went to pick up the dress with my mum and tried it on I said ‘mum I feel like a princess’.
‘I felt so pretty and elegant and it struck me that I really was getting married and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.
‘Mum was crying and other people in the shop were welling up too.’
But two months later in November 2017 she was stunned when her fiance delivered the bombshell news that he didn’t love her anymore and the wedding was off.
Miss Bettiss said: ‘When he told me he didn’t love me anymore and that we weren’t going ahead with the wedding I was broken. I collapsed to the floor and cried my eyes out.
‘I went for a walk to get away from the house to process what had happened – the James I had loved had gone.
‘When I came back to the house, he told me there was nothing to talk about. I had no option but to leave.
Mr Routledge is now engaged to Ms Hannington, pictured together, and they have wished Miss Bettiss happiness with her new partner
The new couple, pictured, said they got together after going out for a drink and realising they were both unhappy in their relationships
‘I rang a friend who told me to pack a bag and go to her house straight away. I was up all night crying my eyes out.’
She added: ‘I didn’t go to work, I didn’t eat, sleep or talk. I didn’t do anything. My friend said she’d never seen anything like it.
‘I just went completely numb and sat in the same spot for four days.’
Miss Bettiss eventually moved back in with her parents and lost three stone in weight due to the stress of the break up and not eating properly.
Since the break-up she has slowly started to rebuild her life and met her current partner, 28-year-old data analyst Nick Pashley, four months ago.
She said: ‘Last October I started to rebuild my life – I changed job and have been focusing on my well-being.
‘I met someone new on Bumble called Nick – he’s my rock.
‘If Nick was to say “let’s get married'” I don’t think I could go through it again as the experience has turned me into a commitment-phobe.’
Mr Routledge said he paid for most of the wedding so was the one losing out on cash.
He added: ‘Donna paid for some small craft items to make personalised champagne flutes, but I paid for the big stuff.
‘Her dad contributed [a portion] towards it but was reimbursed once the wedding was called off.’
Ms Hannington, a photographer, added: ‘Donna has never attempted to contact me to try to have it out.
‘It would be hard to hear that James and I are incredibly happy.
‘We’re in a fantastic situation and I’m aware Donna is in a new relationship. I personally wish her happiness.
Miss Bettiss, pictured with Mr Routledge in 2011 shortly after they got together, said she lost a lot of weight after the break-up because she ‘didn’t eat or sleep’
‘I was married to another person. I worked with James and we had been friends for three years and we went away, with other people, on a work trip and we got chatting.
‘I’d said I was deeply unhappy in my marriage and I needed to end my marriage.
‘I’ve been friends with James for a very long time. I know he wasn’t very happy. I feel like I went into my marriage very unhappy. My first thing to do was to ask him if he was happy to which he told me he wasn’t happy.
‘We sort of ended the conversation there because we’d had too much to drink and think maybe we’ve got alcohol and emotions and things like that.
‘We went home that day and I’d been speaking to many friends about the fact I wanted to end my marriage so I went home and ended my marriage and then next thing I knew I saw James at work two or three days later and he told me he’d left Donna.
‘Nothing then happened for probably four or five weeks – as you can imagine I’ve got emotions running.
‘So it wasn’t the best time to start a relationship, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do and we just ended up going out for a drink to chat about stuff.
‘I was going through a divorce, I had no idea what I was doing.
‘I personally think James was quite fair in that situation. I can’t have imagined him walking down the aisle.
‘Nobody wants to be stood there in their wedding dress and then him have cold feet on the day. I understand her pain but I do feel I haven’t had the chance to have a conversation with Donna.
‘I do feel sorry for her, if it’s going to make her feel better I’m happy to sit in front of her and we can thrash this out and I can clear things up. It’s quite a difficult situation.
‘I also don’t want humiliation for Donna. I honestly didn’t because looking at him that day when he told me he was unhappy I would never have pushed him down the aisle to humiliate her.
‘Not that I think he would have but if he did I would have felt like it was on my shoulders.’