Two weeks ago, our reception venue reBar suddenly closed up shop citing bankruptcy. As you can imagine, the stress was instant—we had to call WedSafe to get our money back, find a new venue, DJ, and caterer, coordinate with the vendors we had already booked, notify friends and family who might have already made travel plans, and on top of that I had to keep myself together enough to be able to execute all these things. Thankfully our friends and family immediately leaped into action. BM G worked her old wedding planning contacts to find us a new DJ option, and my mom offered to pay for a wedding planner* to help us secure a new venue. For every time that I’ve cried sad and angry tears over losing reBar, I’ve cried happy tears five times more over how everyone, including the Brooklyn community, rallied so quickly around us.
By late, late Friday evening (possibly the wee hours of Saturday morning), the former reBar event coordinators had emailed all of the affected couples. The employees were just as blindsided as we were, but could not, in good conscience, abandon us. It was the first time I had heard an official statement from anyone at reBar and was the final nail in the coffin of our reBar wedding.
Through the ex reBar coordinators’ emails, the ex reBar couples were put in touch with each other. Facebook groups were formed within hours, initially just to vent and commiserate, but in the coming days were used to organize legal action, alert people how and what to file with the various authorities, and also share information from venues and vendors in the Brooklyn area that were willing to help us piece our weddings back together. When a couple visited a venue, they would report all the details back to the Facebook group—even if the venue wasn’t right for them, hopefully it would be right for someone else. Eventually, a shared document was created to centralize all the venue and vendor information: who, where, what they were willing to offer, what dates they had available, how many guests they could accommodate, etc. And in many ways, the Facebook group became a support group. When one bride felt like it was all too much to take on again and talked about giving up her wedding altogether, dozens of other brides sympathized with her but also encouraged her to not lose hope, offering help in any way we could think of: free amateur hair and makeup, sharing decorations, finishing up DIY projects, or just a stiff drink at the local bar.
Mr. S and I used that shared list to narrow down our options of Brooklyn venues that could accommodate a party of our size. If you recall from our first venue hunt, a NYC event space that can hold 150-plus people is not easy to come by. After we visited our options over the course of the following week, Mr. S had his favorite: The Liberty Warehouse. The space is beautiful with fireplaces, exposed brick columns, views of the Statue of Liberty, catering by the chef of the renowned River Café, and an all-inclusive package at a price that we could afford (only because the coordinator there wanted so badly to help us out). But with all it had going for it, I had my doubts. It was too…pretty…too formal, too perfect, not enough grit, not enough edge. reBar was a bar! This place had valet! This wasn’t the wedding I had been planning for the past seven months.
I tried to explain my predicament to BM G in a way that she would understand: “Imagine someone is offering me a baby pink tweed Chanel suit at 75% off. I’m not a tweed Chanel suit! I’m a Helmut Lang leather jacket! Do I want a tweed Chanel suit now just because it’s 75% off?? Or maybe…I really have always wanted a tweed Chanel suit, and I talked myself out of it a long time ago because I knew I could never afford it!!” (Who knew venue hunting would turn into a therapy session.)
And because she’s so smart and knows me so well, BM G responded, “There are things we can do to that space so it looks like you’re wearing just the Chanel jacket and not the full suit.” That made me feel better. And deep down, I knew I had to stop comparing everything to reBar. There was no more reBar, but there were lots of other possibilities, whether they be with The Liberty Warehouse or another venue, and I had to give them a chance.
And so, I’m happy to announce that the new Squid wedding venue is The Liberty Warehouse! After poring over pictures of the space in all the various ways it can be set up and considering we’ll still have an amazing all-inclusive package, I’m convinced we made the right choice. Apparently Mr. S has good gut feelings when it comes to wedding planning in crisis mode.
The entrance. Leave your car with the valet here.
Image via BizBash
We won’t be making use of this outdoor ceremony space, but in the top right corner you can see a tiny Lady Liberty.
Image via The Liberty Warehouse
The only catch is that we had to change our date—instead of our original Saturday, we will be getting married on the following Friday. At first this really bothered me, but in talking to our friends and family, they’re totally down for a Friday wedding since it’s the perfect excuse for a long weekend. I made sure our photographer, videographer, and florist were available for our new date (they all are—phew!) while Mr. S handled the church and hotel room blocks.
Back at the Facebook group, people reported that the former reBar DJ was honoring all his contracts and providing DJ services at a very, very, very discounted rate for the affected reBar couples. We immediately contacted him once we solidified the date with The Liberty Warehouse and locked him in for our wedding. That was a huge relief as it’s really important to us that our reception is a PAR-TAY, and a stellar DJ is crucial to achieving that.
People have commented to me how quickly we’ve been able to rebuild our wedding. To me, there was no other choice. I had to move on quickly. Until we had a new plan, I couldn’t feel settled—my mind was constantly going, and I couldn’t sleep or focus on anything except fixing our wedding. And in order for me to let go of what reBar could have been, I had to find something to look forward to, something to make wedding planning fun again.
I have no doubt our wedding will be more amazing than our original vision. Not because we have the perfect venue or the perfect date or the perfect anything, but because it took the support, compassion, and love of a village to get us there. To the ex reBar coordinators, DJ Ben, and everyone else that has stepped up to do right by the #reBrides, you have some very, very good karma coming your way.
*We did end up hiring a wedding planner only because it helped somewhat with my stress levels. However, I still did most of the legwork because I am a crazy person. Luckily the cost of a wedding planner falls under “extra expense” on our insurance policy since we wouldn’t have hired her if we still had reBar. We will be reimbursed in full for the cost of her services. I should probably also give the update here that we have already received our check from WedSafe for the $22k that we lost to reBar—less than one week from when I filed the claim. Not bad, huh? Moral of the footnote: get your wedding insurance.