BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- It's one thing to have your florist or even caterer cancel for your wedding, but how about having your wedding venue say, "Sorry. You cannot have your wedding here anymore." This nightmare is a reality for some brides in Brunswick County as Orton Plantation is breaking a contract and crushing wedding dreams.
"I opened the letter, and I read the first line, and I just started bawling my eyes out," bride-to-be Alyson Robles said. Robles is not the only bride whose special day has been taken away from her.
"My whole wedding was built around Orton Plantation," Heather Zajaczkowski said.
The brides-to-be are now forced to start from scratch. They received a letter in their mailbox Thursday telling them Orton Plantation will not hold the weddings they reserved more than a year ago.
"I'll be settling for second best, and no bride wants that," Robles said. "The bride wants the dream you've had since you were a little girl, so I'm just trying to find anywhere now that can help."
A new owner bought Orton Plantation in May. The two brides e-mailed and called Orton event planner Abi Blackerby when they heard about the sale. Blackerby assured both brides that the weddings would go on as planned telling them by e-mail, "Not to worry. We will make sure that the grounds will be gorgeous for your special day. We are honoring our contracts and our brides by maintaining these area."
But with Thursday's mail, Blackerby had reneged on her promise.
"At least give me a reasoning," Robles said. "Give me something more, or even four months ago when I addressed them whether or not my wedding would be affected. Be like, 'There's a possibility.' Not be like, 'No, you're fine.'"
"I'd like to see them reverse this decision and let me have my wedding at Orton," Zajaczkowski said. "Barring that, I'd like them to pay restitution and pay for the overages in my budget that is gonna happen because I don't have any other choice."
Despite a signed contract and e-mails from Blackerby, the two brides have no where to turn.
"Crying behind the camera, that's all I've been doing," Robles said. "I don't know what to do. I'm truly lost and confused. I've been planning my wedding since the day I got engaged. Since I was ten I was planning my wedding, and now it's all crumbling down."
Our calls to Orton Plantation and Blackerby went unreturned. Several couples affected by the Orton cancellations have contacted Airlie Gardens about their weddings. New Hanover County Parks and Garden Director Jim McDaniel says his staff is trying to accommodate as many as possible at Airlie and other county parks. They're also referring couples to other locations like the Arboretum. Gary Levesque, who coordinates weddings for the Arboretum, says the facility has plenty of availability. For more information, call him at (910) 798-7670.