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Wedding plans threatened by Yorktowne closure
After more than six years together, Danielle Behler and Danny Callahan were all set to tie the knot June 17, 2017.
The York City couple booked the photographer, videographer, band and venue before sending out about 250 save-the-date notices to friends and family.
But the recent announcement that the Yorktowne Hotel, where their guests were supposed to stay, will close for renovations Nov. 6 until 2018 has left those plans in doubt.
Behler said the wedding reception was to take place in Cherry Lane, followed by a parade to the Yorktowne for brunch and an evening downtown at local restaurants and bars.
"The plan was to spend as much time downtown as possible," she said. "Now all that is kind of just out the window."
Behler and Callahan wanted to show off the improving downtown, they said, but there's not enough other nearby lodging to accommodate the number of guests they invited.
The York County Industrial Development Authority purchased the hotel last December with plans for a $20 million renovation project.
False assurances: Behler said she had hesitated to sign a contract with the hotel in April because she was worried about when those renovations would take place, but she was assured by multiple representatives that no interruption in service would begin until at least 2018.
Mandy Arnold, a spokeswoman for the project, said the Nov. 6 closure date was chosen after numerous discussions with all parties involved.
"This is a very complex project with pretty ambitious plans," she said. "If we would've had the foresight, we would've liked to have given people this information further in advance."
Arnold said four weddings scheduled at the Yorktowne have been altered by the announcement. One has been successfully relocated to the Country Club of York, and two others are awaiting confirmation with new venues.
Amanda Waddell and Huy Tran were one of the other couples, scheduled to get married at the hotel Dec. 4.
Waddell said she also had been assured that the authority's purchase wouldn't affect her wedding plans, and she was making payments on the contract all the way through September.
"Then when we received the phone call that everything was canceled, I was completely shocked," she wrote in a Facebook message. "We are still getting over it."
New venues: Waddell said the hotel management has done a great job helping her find another venue, but she and her fiance are sad they "have to make the best of it" for their wedding.
"We styled everything around the Yorktowne ballroom, and now nothing matches our new venue," she wrote. "We wanted something unique and different, and now we don't have that option."
Behler said she and her fiance met with Yorktowne officials Wednesday, but they originally learned of the closure by reading news reports.
"It's beyond frustrating and just kind of appalling," she said.
Arnold said the authority was hoping to hold off on announcing the closure until it had time to reach out to all groups affected, but news organizations found out before then.
"We certainly understand that the decision to close has affected several events and weddings," she said. "We have ensured that the hotel staff are focused on helping to achieve satisfactory relocations and support services for guests. Our goal is to get the events and weddings back on track very quickly."
Behler added that, she spoke with officials Wednesday, they assured her they would do everything they could to make the situation right, including going to the authority to ask for more money if they found a location that was more than she wanted to spend.
"We aren't the most trusting at this point after all that has happened, so we want to believe that they will follow through with their word, but there is still some trepidation," she wrote in a follow-up email.
Behler said it's looking more and more likely that they'll have to change the date of the wedding, which could pose a major issue for Callahan.
Callahan wrote in an email that his best man has a job that requires him to request his vacation time a year in advance, and if they have to change the date, he might not be able to make it.
"At the end of the day we know we will laugh about this eventually, but this is a stressful situation to find yourself in," he wrote.
Callahan and Behler both said they're happy to see the Yorktowne renovated but disappointed their dream wedding appears to be slipping away.
"We just wanted to be here on our home base and share our love for each other," Behler said.