MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Devastating news for couples across the country, as a popular wedding location closes its doors for good.
According to online records, NOAH’s Event Venue filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in May 2019. Last week, an email sent to employees from the company’s human resource office states that it filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, closing all locations across the country.
Hundreds of couples, including some from the Madison area, are now out thousands of dollars and a wedding venue to boot.
“We've been together for about 5 and a half years,” says Leigh-Anna Mullikin of her fiancé Tyler Holden
The couple first met while working at a Deerfield Subway restaurant. Holden popped the question on New Year’s Eve 2017.
“We had planned on having a longer engagement, just because I was working full-time and I’m a full-time student. So we were trying to extend it a little bit to make it a little bit easier financially,” Mullikin tells NBC15 News.
With less than 100 days from her May 16 wedding date, Mullikin received shocking news.
“I looked up our location to see if we were affected, and it said permanently closed,” she remembers.
Mullikin and her fiancé had booked the NOAH’s Event Venue back in August 2018. Since then, they have paid more than $7,000 in services and deposits.
“We were just there,” she says. “Myself, my mom and then my mother-in-law, we were just there. We discussed the details of the bar services and I signed the contract and paid the deposit for that … There was no hint or anything that there was something else going on."
Last week’s filing of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy means liquidation for the company, selling off its assets to pay creditors. It is still unclear whether customers will get their money back.
“It depends on how many assets are available. So that’s all going to depend when it goes through the courts,” says Tiffany Schultz, the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau.
Schultz explains that money gained from selling the company’s assets goes first to back taxes, secured creditors and employees. Any leftover money goes to “unsecured creditors,” or customers.
Such a change has left Mullikin, and hundreds of others, scrambling to find a solution.
“We've been communicating with other venues to see what has to be done, because we are in a short timeline now. It's no longer a little more than a year until we get married, we're down to three months,” she says.
That is where companies like the Madison Mallards are stepping in to help those in need.
“Our main priority is baseball, but we've done weddings as well. And we understood that people were out money and out their time of planning, and we just wanted … we view ourselves as kind of a community resource, and we always like to be community focused,” says Madison Mallards general manager Tyler Isham.
The Mallards are offering affected couples a deal of 50 percent off of the wedding venue.
“If that means hosting a wedding here in February in the middle of winter, we’re going to do it,” Isham tells NBC15 News. “If we can make one person’s life easier from what happened, that’s kind of what we’re here to do.”
Other Madison area vendors pitching in to help include The Fields Reserve and Dana Gee of
Wedding Planner Guide. Gee may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to help couples find an available venue for their big day.
While the location may still be a question mark for Mullikin and Holden, the ceremony will still go on as planned.
“We have no doubt about that, no matter what. We're definitely getting married,” Mullikin says.
NBC15 News reached out to NOAH’s Event Venue on both the local and national level, by both phone and email. So far, we have not gotten a response.
Experts with the Better Business Bureau say if you have put money down on the venue it is your right to file a complaint via DATCP or the BBB.
You can also visit USCourts.gov for more information on how to pursue legal action.