FLOWER MOUND (CBSDFW.COM) – A wedding planner is in hot water with dozens of North Texas husbands-and-wives-to-be, who learned this week that their weddings won’t be going on as planned and money spent may be unrecoverable.
Businesswoman Janice Falkenstein ran the Chapelle des Fleurs in Flower Mound. On Wednesday she went an email to her clients saying the chapel is now closed.
It seems Falkenstein was evicted because of back rent.
Bride and groom Ali and Jason said they have lost thousands of dollars on their wedding that is scheduled for January.
“I’d put down a down payment of $10,000 and everything, we thought, was okay and reserved,” Jason explained. “We had a contract signed and the check went through.”
Ali Phillips and Jason Duck are both teachers and one of the 47 couples that Falkenstein sent an email to expressing “great sadness” for not providing the services she was paid for.
The landlord who actually owns the building, Sheila Hodge, said Falkenstein has been regularly late on rent for eight years.
“Had it been any other type of business besides something like this, no landlord will let you get that far behind in rent. But this is about peoples lives,” she said. “Yes they [couples] are angry, but they’re more concerned about, ‘now what am I going to do? She’s got my money.’”
After speaking with several of Falkenstein’s previous clients, CBS 11 News learned that the business owner would only accept cash or checks as payment. Any consumer has a certain amount of protection when using a credit card, but checks are the same as cash.
While Hodge has no obligation to Falkenstein’s clients she says she has been trying to help the couples, who have summer weddings planned, find other venues.
“This is their day, this is their very, very special day and I just feel like — I can’t do it. I can’t take that day away from them. I just can’t do it,” she said.
For many of the couples the closing of Chapelle des Fleurs means more than just losing a venue. In addition to renting the space for special occasions, Falkenstein also offered package deals that included catering, alcohol, decorations, flowers etc.
Ali and Jason hadn’t contracted for all of the services Falkenstein offered but still have their wedding in jeopardy.
“We have multiple other vendors that were independent from her that were already scheduled for that date,” Jason said. Ali added, “Family is coming in and everything’s already planned out around that date.”
The Chapelle des Fleurs website, which apparently at one time consisted of venue information, photos, tours and testimonials, has basically been taken down. Now the site consists only a copy of the email Falkenstein sent to her clients and “thanks” to a list of vendors.
Falkenstein has not responded to requests for an interview.
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