Utah Wedding Venue Closes Locations Nationwide
Salt Lake City— A wedding venue company out of Lehi has shut its doors for good, leaving brides all over the country stranded before their weddings. Having first opened in 2007, NOAH’S Event Venue (officially NOAH Corporation) grew to 6 locations in the first four years. By 2018, NOAH’S had 42 event centers all over the country.
Last May, NOAH’S filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began closing their venues in other states. At this time, BBB began getting an increased number of complaints from brides who had made payments on their deposit, only to find out their location had closed.
One of the biggest costs in any wedding budget is the venue. Venues can cost several thousand dollars, and the deposit itself is a major expense. Of those that reported to BBB, the total amount lost from deposits alone was almost $48,249.69 reported losses with an average of $4,386.34 per person.
“Venues are the backbone of a wedding. Without somewhere to be, you can’t get married or have your reception,” said Jane Rupp, president and CEO of BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah. While some locations remained open in an effort for the company to restructure, over the last week a court order forced them to close all remaining locations.
With most venues requiring non-refundable deposits, it can be very hard for couples to get their money back, even though they will not receive purchased products and services. Those who have been affected can seek refunds through their banks or the bankruptcy court, though it will likely be a lengthy process that isn’t guaranteed to produce results.
Finding a new venue won’t be easy, especially if large portions of the wedding budget were paid to a now non-existent company. Additionally, if the event date is only a couple months or less away, out-of-state guests may have already made travel arrangements. Since venues are generally booked so far in advance, finding a location that can accommodate the original date will feel impossible.
Today, NOAH’S released a statement on their website saying that those who lost their reservations may still be able to host their event at the building site, but with another management company:
“…many building owners are willing to host events and are looking for new operators that can honor your event contracts,” the message says. “If you are interested in still hosting your event at your reserved location, even though NOAH’S will not be the management and servicing company please email us…”
But the release makes no mention of whether any amount already paid will be honored.
In any case, these brides and grooms are likely to be incredibly stressed when searching for a replacement. BBB cautions those who are looking for a replacement venue to take as much time to research new options as possible, and be wary of scammers looking to take advantage.
BBB has several tips find a reputable business:
- Research the company. Before you fall in love with a venue, do your research. Look at as many webpages as you can find to see what others are saying. Look for businesses that have plenty of internet presence. Read reviews, and check their profile on BBB.org.
- Check how long a business has been operating. You can find a business’s registration details online. Also, searching the company name next to “bankruptcy” or “court” may pull up any history of financial problems. However, understand that a business might close at any time without warning.
- Read the contract. Make sure you thoroughly look through everything in the contract before you sign it. Ask for sample contracts from several different venues to see what’s standard and what isn’t. If you’re uncomfortable with something, talk to the venue about editing or changing your contract. While they might be unwilling to budge, you never know! Ask questions if you’re concerned, and don’t sign if you don’t feel comfortable.
- Check for unexpected fees. Some caterers, hotels or reception venues try to charge extra for “plate splitting,” “cake-cutting” or “corkage” fees, especially if you bring in a cake or liquor purchased from another source. Ask whether any fees apply beyond the cost per person, gratuities or room rental, if applicable.
- Double-check prices. Research what other venues cost, and resist high-pressure sales tactics to make you commit to a product or service on the spot. If you hear about the prices at a bridal expo or other event, make sure you check that the prices are the same after the event.
- Book within your budget. Work out a reasonable budget so that if something goes wrong, you aren’t left without the means for a back-up plan.
- Get it in writing. Get all sales promises in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, name brands, etc. Make sure all oral agreements are included in the written contract. Cancellation policies should also be included.
- Pay with a credit card. Avoid paying in cash up-front for services. If you pay by credit card you have protection in the event of a problem that is not available with other forms of payment.
- Follow up. Confirm all services one or two weeks prior to the event and verify all of the details agreed upon.
Before going out of business, NOAH’S had an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau for not responding to their consumers’ complaints.