Created: July 07, 2020 06:23 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque couple’s wedding plans are in limbo after their wedding venue closed its doors for good.
Richard Rice and Samantha Emerson picked a date, put down a deposit, signed a contract and invited friends and family to celebrate their marriage at Occasions Event Center.
“We paid a $500 dollar deposit,” Richard said.
Richard said contact with the venue owner quickly fell off after they reserved a date.
“I would love to tell you about the communication, but there has been no communication. It was all fine and dandy once we paid. She kept in sort of decent contact once we were trying to plan the venue and book the venue. As soon as we booked the venue we had absolutely no contact at all,” he said.
The couple said they’ve reached out to the owner, Celine Reyes, through every means possible, but she is nowhere to be found.
“Website’s shut down. Absolutely gone—wiped off the face of the planet,” Richard said.
“About a month after no contact she started liquidating all her assets,” he added.
Back in April, Reyes posted a video on Facebook blaming the pandemic for the downfall of her business.
“Hi, everybody this is Celine. I was going to do a real quick live video to talk about what we’d be normally doing at this time is getting ready for event season. We’d be right in the middle of it, getting ready for the weekend, but that's all come to a halt and you know why. That's because of COVID-19,” she said.
The couple said they want their experience to serve as a warning to others.
“After the deposit down, they just cut all ties,” Samantha said.
“I feel very, very cheated,” said Richard. “I think we should have gotten our money back and a little bit of contact."
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