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Wedding venue in St. Augustine abruptly closes, sends couples scrambling

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – At least a dozen couples are scrambling to find a new spot for their wedding after a St. Augustine wedding venue abruptly shut down.

Rachael Dungan’s fiancé, Ken, popped the question back in June. They’ve been looking forward to their dream wedding at Culinary Outfitters.

“It was all new and exciting and fun and everyone loves to plan a good party, right?” Dungan said.

The plans came to a screeching halt Wednesday afternoon when the venue posted a message on Facebook saying that it was shutting its doors.

“I’m lucky to have a little over a year to compensate for plans. There’s a girl I reached out to, her wedding is in two weeks and what do you do at that point?” Dungan said.

Dungan said she knows of other brides who just put deposits down within the past two weeks and that the venue was promoting their event services at a bridal expo one month ago.

Dungan put down a $2,700 deposit, and she said Thursday night, she finally heard back from the owner.

An email she shared with News4Jax reads the venue had just five days to vacate “due to unforeseen events.” It reads in full:

“At this time, I’m sure you know about the closure of Culinary Outfitters waterfront location. Due to unforeseen events, we have 5 days to vacate premises, we are not ignoring calls we have just had a lot on our plate. We are working with several venues for the option of detouring your event to another venue, we will also respect your choice of a refund plus you so choose. If you would like to reschedule your venue heather will be reaching out once we have confirmation of available venues. If you would like a refund, please be patient as we will be processing refunds to clients with oldest booking first. We will be reaching out individually to manage your expectations on when you can expect a refund.”

The email addressed to Dungan states that her full refund should be deposited by Friday afternoon.


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.