Five heartbroken couples sue owners of wedding venue after they closed without warning

Five heartbroken couples have sued the owners of a wedding venue in Minnesota that closed without warning ahead of their big days.

The couples have filed lawsuits against wedding venue owners Wayne and Angela Butt as well as their business Circle B Weddings and Events, reported KSTP-TV.

The lawsuits allege that they neglected to inform them that their venue in Isanti, Minnesota, was shutting down, despite all having left a down payment to book the venue.

In the court filings, they have demanded that their down payments and court filings be reimbursed. The suits are also asking for repayment of non-refundable deposits made to vendors, caterers, and DJs - all of which were booked in advance like the venue.

Four out of five of the lawsuits were filed in Washington County where the Butts live, while one was filed in Isanti County where their event planning business is located. The lawsuits are requesting more than $40,000, with each of the plaintiffs alleging they paid the couple and were told nothing was amiss, only to receive an email on 21 April informing them of the complete opposite.

The email stated that the owners were closing the venue permanently, and would not be receiving any calls or emails during that time.

“We kind of figured they weren’t going to give us our money back and this was our last resort,” bride Ellie Blaul told a local news outlet. She explained that she had paid for the venue in full totaling $8,243, and was expecting to have her wedding there in October. The sudden closing of the venue has decidedly put a wrench in her plans.

“We got the email and we were just in shock,” Blaul admitted. “Honestly, at first, I thought it was a scam.”

When she tried to reach the Butts, she found that their phones were disconnected. Later on, she’d come to find out that the wedding venue was also being listed for sale.

Outdoor wedding reception set up on woods (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Outdoor wedding reception set up on woods (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The sudden shutdown of the venue led many couples to either scramble for a new location or change their plans, which can make the already costly event all the more expensive.

Several businesses across Minnesota and nearby western Wisconsin reached out to them to help. One bride, Heidi Kafura, noted that the whole situation has made her more wary about signing contracts, especially in her search for a new venue.

“Our big thing when we’ve been looking at other venues is we automatically have said, can we have a copy of your contract because we’re scared,” said Kafura, who filed the lawsuit to get back the $5,641 she put down as a deposit.

She plans on having her wedding in August. Despite the setback brought on by the Butts suddenly shutting down their venue, Kafura said she looked at the situation as a learning experience. “It’s about us coming together, making that commitment together and we’ll figure it out one way or another.”

The Butts are scheduled for four hearings in July, with their lawyer Ryan Kaess telling outlets that he doesn’t “see a story here” and maintaining that closures are simply an unfortunate part of the wedding business.