Wedding Venue Jilts Texas Couples and Police Are Called

A venue owner shuts her shops without warning

ByABC News
December 11, 2012, 5:30 PM

Dec. 13, 2012— -- There have been two moments when Brittany Wills of Dallas, Texas, said she thought to herself, "Is this real?"

The first was when her boyfriend Ashford Dixon, 25, proposed to her in February, a month before he originally planned. He saw her right after he bought the ring and said he couldn't wait any longer.

The second was this past Sunday when she and Dixon learned that the venue they were supposed to get married at this weekend had closed up shop, disconnected its telephone line and taken down its website without any warning.

"It just didn't seem real," Wills, 25, told "You just don't think that it happens to you. It's like stuff you see on TV."

Wills and Dixon estimate they lost around $6,100 to Capella Court Gardens in Carrollton, Texas, a wedding venue they thought they were fated to marry at.

Andrew Maldonado, 28, said he and his fiancée also thought Capella Court Gardens would be a great location for their Jan. 3 wedding. When they saw a news report this week that it had closed, they were shocked.

"The feeling was terrible," Maldonado said. "Obviously my fiancée was distraught, in tears. It's unbelievable that they can just straight-faced tell us, take our payments, and tell us 'Your wedding is going to be beautiful.'"

According to the Better Business Bureau, the owner of Capella Court Gardens also owns Alexander Mansion, a wedding venue in Garland, Texas. That building has also been shut down, its phone line has been disconnected and its website is no longer up.

One complaint has been filed with the Garland Police Department so far and a detective has been set on the case. The theft classification is from $1,500 to $20,000 making it a felony theft, Garland Police Department spokesperson Joe Harn said.

Garland police suspect there are other jilted couples out there.

"If (couples) feel that they've given them money they're not going to be able to get back, they can file a report with us," Harn said. "There will be some other things that come into play, as in any case. We've got to investigate to see what the surrounding circumstances are."

The owner of Capella Court Gardens and Alexander Mansion could not be reached for comment.

Dixon and Wills still plan to get married this weekend, although they don't know where.

They remain baffled about what happened to them.

After Dixon proposed in February, both his and Wills' mothers independently came across Capella Court Gardens and recommended their children get married there.

"It looked nice, had great reviews online," Dixon said. "It seemed to be perfect."

Dixon and Wills said they last met with wedding coordinators at Capella Court Gardens the day after Thanksgiving. Dixon said they saw the owner that day and all seemed normal.

"She said, 'We'll see you Dec. 16. Everything will be perfect,'" Dixon said. "That was the last we saw her."

The PhD candidate and his fiancée, who is studying to be a physician assistant, were shocked when their wedding florist called Saturday saying there were moving vans outside of Capella Court Gardens.

The couple didn't panic at first. Dixon said an automated voice message told callers Capella employees would be out of the office for renovations until Tuesday.

But when they heard moving vans were there again on Sunday, Dixon said he and Wills grew suspicious and went to check it out. By the time they got to Capella Court Gardens not only was the van gone, but so were the pictures on the walls and the furniture on the floors.

"We're all looking back on it retrospectively thinking it was weird to close up a week before (our wedding)," Dixon said.