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ONLY ON 3: Orton Plantation cancels weddings, crushes brides' dreams

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Orton Plantation cancels weddings, crushes brides' dreams

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.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


cancelled weddings

This makes me sad. Orton Plantation has had a long history in my family, and I had hoped my daughter would be able to hold her upcoming wedding there. Her great-great grandfather, Kenneth Murchison, was the first cousin of Kenneth McKenzie Murchison, who purchased Orton in 1884. It has remained in the family until its recent sale.


Please contact me for a tour of the beautiful City Club at de Rosset!
Located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, the mansion's terraced gardens are a lovely setting for a wedding ceremony and reception!

Ceremony Set-up Services

If any of the brides are still considering beach or garden weddings Beachside Occasions can help. We are a special events company focusing on unique wedding ceremony set-ups for alternative indoor and outdoor venues. For more information please check out our website or look us up on facebook.

Wedding Site

I have a fairly nice single wide trailer on a 1/2 acre of my grandma's land located off Hwy 87 that i rent for more unpscale weddings. If you would like more information or some photos of events i have hosted there, please reply to this posting. Thanks. You won't be disappointed

Is this place still

Is this place still available for weddings?

All weddings?

Does anyone know if all weddings are canceled? A friend was suppose to get married there in a few weeks. I would hate to show up and get turned away.

cancelled weddings

I am sorry to hear that these women are having their hopes and dreams smashed.

Everyone that is affected by this rediculous situation should consider River Landing in Wallace. There is a beautiful clubhouse there and has superb service. I had my wedding there in April and the staff, including director Del Baron was fantastic! Contact him if you would like more information.


Seems as though the owner

Seems as though the owner has done an about face on his last news article. If I recall, he said he would honor those commitments. While this is a "private" location if someone said they were going to honor something then they should.
The State of North Carolina should have bought it and made it public.
Sorry young ladies try the legal route.

Orton reneging on contracts

I too, had planned to have my wedding at Orton Plantation. I was also assured by Abi Blackerby that my wedding plans would not be affected by the renovations. Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail informing me that my contract would not be fulfilled. I am angry because I've already booked my vendors to reserve their services for that specific date & venue. Now, I don't know what I am going to do.

New Hanover County - Arboretum

The new expanded wedding lawn at the Arboretum on Oleander Dr. is the perfect place to have a garden wedding. It offers many choices of where you can have your ceremony and/or reception. Best of all we are the most reasonable priced venues in southeastern NC to have a outdoor garden wedding. If your interested in more information please call the Arboretum at 798-7660.

Poplar Grove Plantation for Wedding

So sorry to hear about the cancellation. Poplar Grove in Wilmington is a beautiful 16 acre southern plantation, a great place to be married. Manor house, gazebo, courtyard or lawn ceremonies. Indoor seating for 175. Affordable and friendly staff. Call Betty at 910-686-9518 ext. 27

I understand, but...

I do understand that it is now private property, and in truth, was before, but it seems a shame to cancel a big event when many other arrangements for a wedding center around the site. The honorable thing would have been to see the contracts through. Frankly, the owner should be ashamed that they lead the brides to believe that they would be able to keep the venue costing them precious time for replanning.

What date were the weddings?

Have a friend getting married there. What dates were the weddings? She also was assured by the coordinator. Anybody know the legal course they can follow?

How about having your

How about having your wedding at Brunswick Town State Historic Site?
It is a beautiful location and adjacent to Orton Plantation..

They do have weddings at Brunswick Town why not give them a call.