Newport News restaurant closes suddenly, bride left without venue

NEWPORT NEWS, (WAVY) – The last thing anyone wants before a wedding is added stress, but a bride is two months away from her wedding and now has nowhere to hold the reception.

Marion Easter reached out to 10 on Your Side after learning Bella’s Restaurant and Lounge closed, and she fears she is out of her deposit. But she is not the only one who claims they’re owed money.

Easter had been dreaming of December 18 since May: she had the perfect venue for the perfect wedding.

“It was just beautiful,” Easter said. “It was a nice event hall.”

Every detail was planned out, until last Friday.

“Just two months and now I have a major situation that I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Easter.

She was trying to make the second payment for the reception venue when she learned it closed. Now, Easter is without a venue, and apparently out her $750 deposit.

“Now I don’t have any place to put nearly 200 people,” Easter said. “It’s a Christmas wedding, all the event places are booked because of Christmas parties and stuff like that. So I’m left out here in the cold.”

10 On Your Side found a filing in Newport News General District Court, where the owner of a building company is claiming Bella’s owners, Maria Washington and Rachel Buchholz, owe him $4,400.

Dave Vaishnav, the owner of the Point Plaza Suites where Bella’s was housed, says Washington and Buccholz owe him $33,000 in rent. Vaishnav showed us the lease and the multiple notices of past due rent that he sent to Washington and Buchholz.

He is now looking for a new restaurant to take over the space. Neither business expects to get their money back.

Marion Easter feels the same way, especially since December 16 is creeping closer.

“I’m devastated, all of my invites are out in the mail,” Easter said. “The wedding is going to be a dream, but the reception is going to be a crash.”

We contacted the owners multiple times, but have not gotten any response.