Wedding 911

My venue filed for Chapter 11... any other Garces brides or grooms out there?

Hi everyone - has anyone had a similar issue? In September 2017, my fiancé and I put a 20% downpayment at our venue. We selected JG Domestic/Cira Centre, which is part of the Garces Group, in Philadelphia. Our wedding date is July of 2019, so as of the time I write this, about 14 months away.

Last week, we hear on the news that Garces has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. My fiancé and my mom both were trying to do damage control before I found out. My fiancé spoke to the venue and they basically said it's restructuring and our wedding will be fine. My parents, who are generously supposed to pay for the remaining cost of the wedding, are really unhappy with the idea of giving this venue any money now.

Side note - yeah, nobody from Garces reached out to us. We had to contact them.

If our wedding was this summer, I wouldn't be worried. But we have over a year left. I need to find time to have me, my mom, and my fiancé speak with the venue again. There's no clause in the contract discussing bankruptcy. 

Have any of you been in a similar situation?

Re: My venue filed for Chapter 11... any other Garces brides or grooms out there?

  • You may want to contact YOUR lawyer, but I would not be quick to give them any checks any time soon.  You very well may be just fine, really, OTOH, you may also be out 20% depending on how the Bankruptcy goes.  A lot also depends on why they're filing as well as whether or not you'd need to go to bankruptcy court (hence why to contact your lawyer!)..

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'd be looking for a new venue. Yeah, that probably means you lose that 20%, but why throw good money after bad? It sucks, but that's how bankruptcy works. 

    Sure, it may be a restructure and they may be fine, but it may not. They might go under but sell out to a new management company, or they might just close. Not something I'd be willing to risk.

    Also, FYI, it would have been unexpected for the venue to contact you and notify you that they'd filed the 11. If they do dissolve, all creditors will be notified of the creditors' meeting as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. But if the intention is to restructure debt, notifying prepaid clients would be contrary to their interests. 
  • My cousin was in a similar situation a few years ago, but her venue filed bankruptcy and then sold (I think that was the order of events). She found out when she was driving past one day and saw the sold sign out front with a "coming soon xyz" sign next to it. She was absolutely livid, which was understandable since this was like two months before her wedding or something. She called a bunch of venues and there was a newer one, that had previously done only catering and had recently purchased a venue to host events or something and they gave her a tremendous deal.

    You've got plenty of time, I would call around and see what other options you might have, and just consider the deposit from the first place a sunk cost. Have you booked any of your other vendors yet? They may have suggestions for other venues they've worked with as well.
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