PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Imagine putting money down on a wedding venue, only to find out it abruptly closed and you can’t get your deposit back. It’s happening in one hometown.
Katy Rabassa and her fiancé Olie Massa met during their time at Radford University where they were best friends but didn’t start dating until after college. They eventually got engaged on a cruise to Mexico last fall and started to plan their wedding almost immediately.
“We had been to Nesselrod [Bed and Breakfast] during college for their Brewfest and we always had a really great time, so when we talked about venues, that was on our shortlist,” Rabassa said.
After a visit to the venue in January, they booked their September 19, 2020 date at the Nesselrod almost immediately. Fast-forward to November 9, they planned another trip to visit the venue because they wanted their parents to see it for themselves. That is until Rabassa said the wedding planner sent them a message the night before their trip.
“She texted us and said no one could stay in the house unexpectedly for the entire weekend due to a major plumbing issue,” Rabassa said.
They still traveled to town for a visit and quickly learned the phones had been disconnected and managers could not be found.
WDBJ7 had the same problem on Thursday. Signs outside of the bed and breakfast have been removed and people like Rabassa were given no notice of its closure.
“There is no venue now and no money to have a venue now,” Rabassa said. “The Nesselrod was out of our budget and was a wedding gift from my parents.”
Rabassa said she put down over $6,000 toward the space.
Court documents from the Pulaski County Courthouse show the man who manages the Nesselrod Bed and Breakfast, Mark Gordon, owes the owners $272,187 in unpaid rent from September 1, 2016 through June 18, 2019.
Gordon was court-ordered off of the property at the beginning of November.
Both our attempts and those of Rabassa to contact Gordon have been unsuccessful.
“Every girl dreams of their wedding day and to have this taken away from me, I would have never expected and I would never want somebody else to go through this,” Rabassa said. “Just stop doing what you’re doing. These are people’s lives, people’s most important days of their lives and to take that and turn it into a negative is just an awful thing to do.”
Rabassa and Massa are working to re-book their wedding at another venue for the same dates. The problem is they put down most of the money that they had for the Nesselrod, so they can’t afford a new space.
WDBJ7 has already heard from at least one other bride who said she lost her deposit as well.
We are working to contact the property owners. They were not listed on the court documents, and their attorney is out of town for the rest of the week.
Rabassa said she wants to hear from other brides who are experiencing the same issue. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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