Three days before Matteo Ruggiu and Margaret Ting were due to get married, they dropped off their final check at the venue, Brooklyn's reBar, a bar, restaurant, and event space overlooking the downtown Manhattan skyline. The next day, Margaret got a frantic phone call from her wedding coordinator. reBar's owner, Jason Stevens, had abruptly shuttered the venue overnight without warning.
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"It was totally out of the blue," Ruggiu tells Yahoo Shine about the shocking news. Almost immediately, he and Margaret began to worry about what they were going to do. Their friends and relatives had already flown out from all over the U.S., as well as Italy, Taiwan, and Japan. There was no way to change the date. But they had a guardian angel, in the form of reBar's Special Events Coordinator, Katherine Cassell. Although Cassell, who was now out of a job, was just as blindsided as Ruggiu and Ting, she was determined to help them have their wedding as scheduled.
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The Friday before their wedding (which took place on May 11), Cassell helped Ruggiu and Ting retrieve personal items that they had brought to reBar, including wedding favors, photos, and decorations. She and other reBar employees offered their help, free of charge, to find an alternate venue and arrange flowers, a DJ (Ben Carlin, another reBar employee who worked for free), and other necessities.
"I cannot thank them enough for what they did. They lost their jobs, and they still wanted to help us," Ruggiu says. And he can't say enough nice things about the reBar employees who helped him and his wife to host a memorable day for their loved ones. "It was a beautiful day, and we were blessed with fantastic weather," he says. "Because of all that happened, there was an incredible energy that day. Everybody had a great time."
However, Ruggiu and Ting were not the only couple affected by reBar's sudden closure. Hundreds of other couples had already paid for part or all of their wedding, only to see the money disappear when reBar shuttered. An Indiegogo crowd-funding page has been set up to help these couples recoup the money they lost and help them pay for their plan Bs. A lawyer has also organized some couples who are planning a lawsuit against ReBar's owner, Jason Stevens.
Stevens has since been arrested for not paying more than $1 million in back taxes. He is currently out on bail.
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