Brides left in a panic as wedding venues suddenly shutdown

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by TERESA WOODARD / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 2:27 PM

CARROLLTON, Texas -- The disconnected phone line was the first clue. Brittany Wills and husband-to-be Ashford Dixon had to come to Carrollton, near Dallas, to see the rest for themselves.

They peeked in the windows at Cappella Court Gardens and saw emptiness, they said. It's where their dream was supposed to begin, in less than a week.

"Sunday - this Sunday, December 16 - at 2:00," Brittany said.

The aisle Brittany Wills was supposed to walk down Sunday might as well have vanished. Cappella Court is empty. And so is the Alexander Mansion at 333 W. Davis in Garland.

Both facilities are owned by the same woman. Both have disconnected phone lines, and websites that were taken offline Monday afternoon.

"We had [our finalization] meeting the day after Thanksgiving, we paid our last money," Dixon said. "Everything was good. She said she'd see us in two weeks, that it was gonna be beautiful, and gonna be wonderful. And now, nothing. Just nothing."

The florist providing flowers for Wills and Dixon called them after she said she saw moving vans outside the Carrollton location. Every phone number News 8 tried for the owner was disconnected. She did not return our e-mails either.

"Definitely not the way I anticipated starting the next phase of our life," Dixon said.

News about the shutdown began spreading Monday and panicked brides and grooms to be began showing up, unsure of what to do. Andrew Maldonado was angry.

"We paid everything," he said. He and his fiancee were set to marry at Cappella Court on January 3.

"There was no indication anything's wrong or anything like that," he said of his final meeting at the facility in late November. "Just, 'We'll see you on your wedding day.'"

Maldonado and a group of others stood in disbelief.

"I can't even describe it," said Jennifer Clark, in tears. She was scheduled to be married at Cappella Court June 30. "Supposed to be the most special day of my life, and it's taken from me, and I don't know what to do now."

She said she just made a payment last week. She said she hopes local wedding vendors might be willing to help her and other couples who have likely lost thousands of dollars.

The couples exchanged information and all planned to take some kind of legal action -- all while planning a wedding, once again.

"We are still getting married," Wills said. "Nobody can stop that. Nobody.

The Star Hill Ranch wedding venue in Austin is offering help to those affected. For more information click here.

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