AURORA, Colo. — Colorado's fall wedding season is just around the corner. But instead of celebrating, some Colorado couples are scrambling after a popular Aurora event center suddenly closed its doors.
Every day, there's a new wedding-related delivery at the home of Chris Martinez, the grandfather of the bride. He and his daughter, Victoria Jaramillo, have been by the couple's side all along, helping to plan and pay for everything.
In January, they booked Aurora's Summit Event Center, a perfect venue for a 300-person reception on Sept. 23.
"So, I put $1,000 down in January right away. Since we signed the contract, we put that deposit down," Martinez said.
Everything seemed settled, and the invitations were sent. But two weeks ago, the family saw a post on the Summit Event Center's Facebook page announcing it was shutting down after negotiations failed with the landlord.
"Evicted from the property in two hours," the post said, in part.
This left the family scrambling in search of a last-minute reception venue and their $1,000 deposit.
"We found out they were closed on Facebook. You're posting and you're saying you want to help families, but you hadn't even contacted us at all," Jaramillo said. "I'm very frustrated."
Emails show staff first emailed the family stating, "No deposit was given."
"They were wrong, and I had the documents," Martinez said. "So then the conversation switched to, 'When will we get our money back?' And then she said, 'I will put you on the list.' To me, that means that I'm possibly not getting my money back. I became, honestly, very fearful. They will file bankruptcy, and we will lose our money."
Contact Denver7 reached out to the Summit Event Center's owner, Michael Schaefer. He said in an email, “I have returned almost all of the deposits for future events and we have helped many of them find new venues. The bottom line is the pandemic destroyed the business and we were never able to recover.”
Shortly after that statement was sent, Martinez said he received a deposit pending in his bank account, returning his $1,000.
"I truly believed that [you were] the only way we got it back. We really honestly didn't know if we were gonna get it back. We were worried," Jaramillo said.
She said they have since booked a new, more expensive wedding venue and needed the deposit money for it.
"It's going to be perfect," Jaramillo said. "We are so thankful."
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