By Jessica Lovell
Megan Davies is apparently just one of an untold number of local brides who found themselves in a bind last week when they learned that Guelph Place Banquet Hall had closed. And she feels like she’s one of the lucky ones.
“Right now, I’m fine because we got another hall, but I feel terrible for people who are scrambling,” Davies said.
“Scrambling” is exactly how Delta Guelph Hotel senior sales manager Lynn Vanschaik described the very upset brides who have contacted the hotel looking for a new location to host their May or June weddings.
Davies’ wedding was scheduled for April 26, but she hadn’t yet printed the invitations, because she had a bad feeling about her chosen reception venue.
“We didn’t print the invitations just because we hadn’t been hearing from them,” she said.
The hall’s manager, a man by the name of Nick Sutter, had been hard to get ahold of when Davies wanted to do things like check out the venue and book a tasting to plan the food for her reception.
“There was never any voicemail,” said Davies.
She learned the hall had closed Wednesday afternoon via email.
“We understand that you had a booked event with the facility and we sympathize that you have been placed in some disposition,” said the email, signed Head Office Riza Enterprises Ltd.
The company does not own the building, but leases it from the owners and operates as Guelph Place Banquet Hall. The website for Guelph Place, guelphplacebh.com, fails to load, and the phone number listed online is out of service. A Facebook page for the hall has also disappeared.
An inquiry to Olga Ciaravella, one of the building’s owners, received a “no comment.” It was through Ciaravella that Tessa Kampen, owner of Guelph Mompreneurs, found out that the organization’s Every Day Living Show fundraiser on March 1 would have to find a new venue.
“I was upset obviously,” Kampen said. “I’ve been planning this event for months.”
When she called last Tuesday to talk to the business owner, it was the building owner who picked up the phone and told her the hall was closed.
Ciaravella tried to find a way to accommodate the event, but wasn’t able to make it happen, Kampen said.
She’s since managed to get a spot at the Holiday Inn on Scottsdale Avenue.
Kampen had printed off 2,000 event notices, half of which have already been handed out, so she is now faced with the headache of trying to get the word out about the venue change.
She is hoping the banquet hall’s owners will let her put a sign up directing people to the Holiday Inn.
Davies and Kampen each paid a $500 deposit to book Guelph Place. Kampen was lucky enough get a call from the manager Thursday to say she would get her deposit back. “Whether I see it, I don’t know,” she said with some doubt.
Davies also suspects she has lost her deposit.
In spite of her misgivings, she had booked the hall because it was where her parents held their own wedding reception years ago.
“It was kind of a sentimental thing,” said Davies.
But she is not getting too upset about the closure. She has a friend who caters who was willing to step up on short notice, and she was able to book the St. George Greek banquet hall on Dovercliffe Road for the same date as her wedding.
“We were lucky enough they didn’t have any (events) on the 26th,” she said.
By Jessica Lovell