‘I felt so relieved’: Couple finds new venue weeks before wedding

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Hundreds of couples across the country were left scrambling earlier this month, when NOAH’s Event Venue filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Several couples in the Madison area were affected by this closure, some of whom had wedding dates planned for just a few weeks away.

For Bianca Soto-Hernandez and Jeffrey Caldwell, wedding planning came even before the engagement.

“One of us had kind of a lot of plans put together,” Caldwell jokes of his fiancée.

The couple were engaged in April 2019. They booked a space at NOAH’s Event Venue last summer, planning for a February 29, 2020 wedding.

With only three weeks until their ceremony, the couple received devastating news.

“I was at my bachelorette party,” Soto-Hernandez remembers. “We all cried for a little bit. Like literally most of us were crying."
After NOAH’s Event Venue filed for bankruptcy, the couple was out $6,000 and a wedding venue.

“We had tried to be very proactive in getting everything done ahead of time so that we weren't having to scramble at the last minute, so that definitely threw a major wrench in our plans,” Caldwell tells NBC15 News.

With less than one month until the wedding, the Madison community came together to support the couple. Their vendor, Upstairs Downstairs Catering, worked alongside several others, including East Elm Photography, Event Essentials, Wedding Planner & Guide and the Lageret to find a new ceremony and reception space.

“I've personally not seen that happen, where they were just left out in the cold essentially. So I found it very devastating,” says Jamae Ramsden, manager of The Lageret. “Not only that. Just the wedding industry, the comradery of it all, we all work very close together. So it was devastating for all of us."

A last minute cancelation meant The Lageret in Stoughton was open on Leap Day, providing the couple with a new venue at minimal cost.

“Putting myself in their position and having that date available, I felt it was just the right thing to do, I guess, at the end of the day,” Ramsden says.

With only two weeks until their big day, Caldwell and Soto-Hernandez booked a brand new venue.

“It’s been a very fast process. Usually you we do things 15 months out, and now to take something that’s already been planned and bring it full circle in less than three weeks. It’s actually gone very smoothly though,” Ramsden tells NBC15 News.

“I felt really relieved. Because I was like, 'Okay. We've got somewhere to have our wedding,’” Soto-Hernandez says.

While the couple now has a new space for their big day, a refund from NOAH’s Event Venue does not seem likely.

Experts tell NBC15 News that any leftover money from the company will go to taxes, employees and “secured creditors” first. If there is anything leftover, the money could go to customers, though there could be a hefty legal bill involved.

Now just one week from the wedding, Soto-Hernandez and Caldwell say they are excited to start a new chapter of their lives together.