GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Michigan woman says she is being forced to find a new location for her reception two weeks before her wedding.
"This is every bride’s nightmare”, says Kanesha Cox. “I told them I could find a different location; I have emails and emails of other locations willing to do this and now I'm stuck without a venue."
It started in September of 2016 when Cox chose the Ramada Plaza Ballroom on 28th Street in Grand Rapids. She says she liked the location because it was five minutes away from her wedding venue at Calvin College.
Cox signed a contract with Ramada for $3,917.76 -- which included a ballroom for 130 people, food, audio equipment and a service charge of $616, but not beverages.
"When I signed the contract we discussed it, but the manager wasn't certain of the package," Cox says. "So he gave me a sheet with prices and said we would go over it later."
Cox e-mailed the manager back in January, to check on the situation and that's when she got the bad news -- the hotel was undergoing changes. The manager advised Cox that they were changing into a Marriott and had gotten rid of all their staff.
In the email, Cox asks the manager if she should look for a back-up venue, but writes to her that the renovations are underway and scheduled to be done in March. A week later he writes, "We have every confidence that we will be able to host your wedding on the 27th."
Cox sent out her invitations and in March, she went to the Ramada hoping to meet with the sales manager. She learned then that none of the renovations had been started.
At that point, Cox began to panic and asked to speak with the General Manager, who told her that everything would be fine.
"She said 'By the time your wedding is done, everything will look beautiful and you won't even remember any of this happened,'" Cox explained. "So, at this point this the GM is telling me this, so I believed her."
Cox says she also got an updated contract that included beverages. The beverage package added $1994.35 to the bill -- the service fee was also $1,040.87, instead of $616 in the original contract. All this made her new total $6,619.93.
In early May, Cox said she wanted to see the renovations. When she arrived, she says the work wasn’t even close to being done. "That's when they tell us, you're not going to be able to have it here, but we found you three other locations."
That's when Cox contacted 13 On Your Side for help -- we attempted to talk to the sales manager. Off camera, he told us they found Cox another option and offered to pay the difference -- based on the new Ramada contract that's $471.
Cox says they offered to cover $500 for the contractors not having the work done and a shuttle for her guests to the new location.
The sales manager confirmed the $500 offer, but then, cut the conversation off. He referred us to their management company National Hospitality Services. We have not received a statement from the company.
We also contacted Ramada’s parent company, Wyndham Hotels, but did not get a response.
As for the Marriott, it did respond, but says it has not finalized a deal with the Ramada -- so it's still responsible for it's customers.
"I'm supposed to be enjoying everything about my wedding," Cox says tearfully. "Right now, my anxiety is through the roof. Every day I'm on edge -- I'm breaking out in hives. It's just too much."
As for that new venue, Cox says it's going to cost $7019.40.
"There's so much that's wrong with this -- it's May already, I get married on May 27," Cox went on. "I don't want to worry about any of this."
She has not signed a contract yet and will just have to keep her guests updated on where they need to go the day of her reception.
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