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Baltimore-area wedding venues are swooping in to help disgruntled clients of events manager Church and Company

People who booked weddings and receptions at two Baltimore venues say the Church and Company representative Alex Fox has stopped responding to them.

After couples say problems with event manager Church and Company have left them in the lurch, operators of wedding venues throughout the Baltimore area are reaching out to disappointed customers, offering alternative sites for weddings and receptions even mere days before the scheduled dates.

“We want to be available to help those brides who need help,” said Kim Barth, owner and operator of La Banque de Fleuve and La Banque at the Seaplane Base, twin wedding venues in Havre de Grace.

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Annie Noel Applegarth, director of operations at The Cloisters in Lutherville, agreed. “We, all of us, circle the wagons and try to help them out,” she said.

It’s hard to say exactly how many couples have been affected by the problems with Church and Company, which booked weddings at two venues in Federal Hill and Hampden. Customers say the company’s owner, Alex Fox, has stopped responding to them. Some maintain they did not get what they had contracted for, and others’ events will not go off as planned after the venues’ owner severed her relationship with Fox. At least two customers have filed lawsuits.

Fox did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

More than a dozen couples have related their tales of failed communications, bounced checks and impending court dates on a Facebook group created in October under the name “Church and Company Support Group.”

Operators of at least eight venues have posted on the page, offering to work with couples looking ro re-book their weddings and/or receptions. Many have noted they have dates available even in the coming weeks, and have said they are willing to negotiate on price as well.

“The first thing we want to do is to reach out and say, ‘How can we help?’” said Andrew Labetti, general manager of the Embassy Suites Inner Harbor Hotel and The Grand. “The first thing we want to do is ask them, ‘What do you need, and how can we make this work?’”

Applegarth said she was approached by a couple back in October, when rumblings about trouble at Church and Company first started to surface. They had a wedding scheduled for the next weekend and, because of a last-minute postponement, The Cloisters was able to accommodate them.

“That was the only date that was available in October,” she said.

The Cloisters, Applegarth noted, is having a previously scheduled open house this weekend, and is offering a 15 percent discount on weddings scheduled between April and June.

Labetti said he’s heard from “a couple of brides already,” and that he and his staff are eager to help. “We try to get them in here right away and figure out a way to work with them,” he said. Their facilities can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 200 people, he said, and prices can be negotiable.

“We can figure out a way to make it work within a certain price point,” he said.

Barth, who has been renting out her venues in Havre de Grace for seven years, said she would be happy to work with any couples looking for a new place to have their wedding. And that includes referring them to another venue if hers are unavailable.

“We do whatever we can to make it better, we really do,” said Barth, adding she had only become aware of the Church and Company situation today.

“We really want to go the extra mile to accommodate those girls, to do everything we can to help them move forward,” she said. “To me, they're all my daughters … all those aspiring brides, I want to help them fulfill that vision.”

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Venues willing to help

Operators of the following venues have indicated, through the “Church and Company Support Group” Facebook page, that they would be willing to work with disappointed Church and Company customers:

Accelerator Space, 417 Benninghaus Road, Baltimore. acceleratorbaltimore.com

Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore. centerstage.org.

La Banque de Fleuve and La Banque at the Seaplane Base, 321 St. John St., Havre de Grace. labanquedefleuve.com

Chase Court, 1112 St. Paul St., Baltimore chasecourt.com

The Cloisters Castle, 10440 Falls Road in Lutherville. cloisterscastle.com

The Elm, 3100 Elm Ave., Baltimore. the-elm.com.

The Grand Baltimore, 225 N. Charles St. thegrandbaltimore.com

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