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Chandler venue closure shocks brides, grooms to-be

CHANDLER, Ariz. — About 60 couples are currently searching for a new place to host their wedding after a Chandler venue suddenly shut its doors.

Like many of the couples, Javier Arias learned via email over the weekend that his chosen wedding venue, Inspirador near Arizona Avenue and Boston Street in downtown Chandler, was shutting down and his deposit would not be returned.

“After looking at eight to nine different wedding venues, then going back and saying we are going to invest in you and we have complete faith that you’ll take care of us on our special day, it’s exhausting and frustrating because at the end of the day, they are not doing the right thing,” said Arias.

According to the email sent to couples, the shop owner claimed to have been mistakenly foreclosed on. Court paperwork showed the business became involved in a lawsuit in late 2011, in which it was listed as a plaintiff against numerous defendants, including Compass Bank, which took control of the building on Tuesday.

“Despite a personal investment of our family’s life savings of $510,000 and making on-time monthly mortgage payments in excess of $650,000 for nearly five years and never being late, the property has been wrongfully foreclosed,” the email read.

Inspirador said it intends to fight the foreclosure and reopen.

Lindsay Haney, who had put down her first deposit of $1,500 for a December wedding at the Inspirador, said she last heard from the venue about two days prior to the notice of closure.

“We were planning our menu tasting,” she said, adding that she is contesting the deposit with her credit card company.

The email also informed couples that they should contact a venue called the San Marcos, which would honor their deposits. However, when Arias called, he was told otherwise.

“I reached out to San Marcos and the general manager told me they had not had any contact with Inspirador.”

In a post on Inspirador’s Facebook page, the owner said the venue had made contact with another venue who later backed out of an agreement. The post offered another venue in Scottsdale for couples to contact.

Haney said she got in touch with Inspirador following the email and was given a help line.

“I have reached out to Inspirador, who offered a help line and an email address, but have gotten no response from either source,” she said.

Prior to the closing post, Inspirador posted a congratulations message on its wall on April 19.

Multiple businesses also posted on Inspirador’s page in an attempt to reach out to couples.

“I’ve gotten a few responses from venues offering to help, but haven’t had time to follow up with them thoroughly,” said Haney. “No one has reached out to me on their own.”

For brides like Haney, who lives out of state but has family in Arizona, the Inspirador’s closure could mean pushing the big day back.

“Living in North Carolina and planning a wedding in Arizona is stressful enough and now we’re left with only eight months to plan the entire wedding over again. It’s highly likely that we’ll have to end up pushing the wedding to March of 2014.”

The Chandler of Chamber of Commerce (480-963-4571) is also offering help for the couples.

KTAR’s Carter Nacke contributed to this report.