Tips and next steps for couples who had planned to have their wedding at one of the venues

In my 10 years of editing Columbus Weddings and freelancing for its predecessor, Columbus Bride, I’ve seen businesses go under abruptly. It’s terrible, but it happens from time to time. But nothing has shaken me quite as much as this week’s announcement that Dock580 and its sister restaurant/event space, Juniper. They were among my favorite venues in town; when a submission from one of them came in, I knew it was going to be beautiful. Knowing that two of the most popular venues in Central Ohio were unable to stay solvent through the pandemic is scary, too—what does it say for smaller venues? For other vendors?

Usually when something like this happens, I compile a list of resources for affected couples. Often, the rest of the local wedding community steps up to support them, offering discounts or other assistance. But I can’t, in good conscience, go to other venues and ask them what they’ll do to help Dock580 and Juniper’s couples. I know those venues are likely struggling, too, after months of being unable to make a fraction of their typical income, if they’ve been able to make any at all.

Instead, all I can offer is my knowledge and advice, and my deepest condolences to everyone whose wedding is affected by this closure and the Covid-19 pandemic as a whole:

If you have wedding insurance, file a claim immediately. Most policies cover the unexpected closure of a business and will help reimburse lost deposits, etc. If you didn’t already have insurance, you may want to consider it. You won’t be covered for this closure, but it will help protect you financially if any of your other vendors go under. If you paid a deposit that will not be refunded, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. A letter from Dock580, which we obtained via NBC4, says that the venues’ owners are working with a county court to “establish a process for creditors to submit claims for money they are owed.” Owner Steve Rayo has made himself available for questions via steve.rayo@dock580.com, noting that legal questions about how this affects you should be directed to your own legal counsel. Rayo also notes that responses to emails may be slow, as the venues “no longer have a full staff, and there will be many inquiries.” You also can inquire about the possibility of keeping your event at the building; Rayo’s letter tells interested couples to contact Melissa Johnson, managing director for Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, at mjohnson@cameronmitchell.com. At this time, it is unknown whether the catering company plans to purchase the space. Because so many spring and summer couples have already rescheduled their weddings, open dates in 2020 and 2021 are rapidly being booked. If you want to re-book at a different venue, I encourage you to consider a Friday or Sunday date, or one in the “off” season of January through March.

These are difficult times, but if there’s one thing I know about the Central Ohio wedding community, it’s that it’s resilient. It’s tight-knit. And its vendors truly, deeply care about the couples who choose to marry here. My heart goes out to everyone whose dream day has been affected by the events of the last few months, but I encourage everyone to keep in mind the most important thing: your love for your partner. Whether it happens next week or next year, in a beautiful venue or a backyard or a courthouse, surrounded by all your family and friends or just with the two of you and an officiant, your wedding will happen. Face these challenges as a couple. Have faith and fortitude in one another and together, you can overcome anything.