EVERETT — On Monday, Kris Vanden Bosch visited the Monte Cristo Ballroom in downtown Everett to drop off one last payment for her daughter’s wedding on Saturday.
She found brown paper lining the glass front doors and a note that read, “We regret to inform you that as of today, we will no longer be in business.”
Vanden Bosch immediately called her daughter, Chloe Wehmeyer.
“I was shocked,” Wehmeyer said. “I’m not often literally speechless, but I couldn’t say anything.”
She had just a few days to replan nearly her entire wedding.
The Monte Cristo Ballroom, at 1507 Wall St., provided an all-inclusive wedding service, with food, drinks, decorations and even dresses. All weddings at the venue have been canceled through 2021.
Couples who had planned to get married there received a text message around 3:30 p.m. Monday. It said the business was closing due to decline in the owner’s health. “We can not express how sorry we are,” it read.
Wehmeyer, 21, has been extremely busy for the past day or so.
“You already expect the week before your wedding to be stressful, but this is insane,” she said.
She already had a dress she purchased from another store, but had to take care of almost everything else.
On Tuesday, she booked the brand-new Hotel Indigo near the Everett waterfront.
“We’ve had about 10 calls since last night,” said Jordan Nemo, the hotel’s guest services manager.
The 142-room hotel, which overlooks Port Gardner and the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place, officially opened this month, and now is making room for jilted couples.
The hotel has already booked several weddings. Its largest ballroom can fit about 250 people, and smaller ballrooms can accommodate from 30 to 100 guests.
Patty Davis, general manager of Hotel Indigo, says they’ll waive the meeting room rental.
“Anything we can do to help,” she said.
The hotel is providing linens and place settings, which Wehmeyer planned to rent through the Monte Cristo. Hotel Indigo staff also will help clean up after.
“It’s very similar to what we had,” said Vanden Bosch, Wehmeyer’s mother. “I trust this is going to go off without a hitch.”
The Monte Cristo was named Best Wedding Venue in the Herald’s 2019 Readers’ Choice awards.
Phone numbers listed for the business were disconnected on Tuesday. Emails to the owner went unanswered.
Some other businesses were offering to help stranded couples, including The Historic Everett Theatre, just around the block from the Monte Cristo.
Theater manager Curt Shriner can’t loan out the space for free, but a donation of about $1,500 to the nonprofit organization could be a starting point.
“We can get a catering company, we can decorate the stage,” Shriner said in an email. “We will do our best to help if we can.”
Other couples are still wondering what to do.
Haeley Johnston, 21, had planned her wedding at Monte Cristo next summer. She was depending on most of the amenities.
She’s trying to find a venue that’s available on her original date, July 26, 2020, so she can keep the photographer she’s already booked and paid for.
At this point, she feels hopeless.
“We had already put a lot of our wedding budget into the venue. I had already picked out my dress because that was included, and now that’s just gone,” she said. “We pretty much have to start from scratch, but with a lot more limited resources, money-wise.”
She’s also worried that because their date was during the swing of wedding season, there won’t be many other places to choose from.
She isn’t sure if they’ll be getting any money back from the Monte Cristo.
“In the original text, which it’s terrible they just texted everyone, they said they were working on refunds,” Johnston said. “They were booked every weekend through 2021, so just the amount of money that would have to be refunded is insane.”
She’s worried that she’s lost thousands of dollars.
Johnston also noticed that the business’ webpages were taken offline within a day.
Monday morning, she was on the Monte Cristo website looking through decorations. It was gone by the time she got home from work.
Johnston will be trying to fix all of this from Pullman, where she lives and is studying at Washington State University. She grew up in Everett, and her parents have been helping her plan the wedding.
She feels for the couples who planned to get married sooner.
“It’s so much worse for the brides getting married this weekend, or within a month,” she said. “That just seems impossible. At the end of the day, I’m able to get married, and that’s what’s important. It’s a heartbreaking situation.”
Katie Gelgisser and Jimmy Anderson planned to get married there in June.
They hope to keep the wedding on the same day, so their guests don’t have to reschedule. Anderson’s ring also has been engraved with the date.
Gelgisser has been feeling overwhelmed, she said, but Anderson has been supportive.
“We’ll get through it,” he said.
This story has been modified to correctly identify Jordan Nemo as guest services manager of Hotel Indigo.