Like any bride, Amanda Sanchez expects a little Hollywooddrama at her April wedding. But Bollywood drama?
"I started crying," she said.
Rewind to April 2013: Amanda and Chris Phillips are engagedat the batting cage where they like to blow off steam. Quickly, the happycouple begins planning a dream wedding for April 26, 2014. And they settle onhosting both the ceremony and the reception at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
"Outdoor ceremony, indoor reception," she said."They sold me on their ballroom."
Everything was arranged. Venue? Set. Flowers? Done. Music?Check. And so, invitations went out to 82 people Wednesday morning.
That same night, the phone rang.
Just 94 days shy of the big day, Sanchez's meticulousplanning took a sudden U-turn when the Hilton abruptly cancelled.
Nabil Salloum, general manager of the hotel, said the hotelmust make room for IIFA, the International Indian Film Academy Awards, whichwill take place in Tampa at the same time. Even though the Hilton hotel boasts30,000 square feet of event space, Salloum said there simply isn't any room forthe Sanchez-Phillips wedding and India's Oscars.
"The IIFA is going to be taking up every single inch ofspace, of our ballroom space, and we will not be able to accommodateboth," he said.
Sanchez is dumbfounded, yet she realizes what's at play inbeing one-upped by India's A-list.
"[IIFA] is going be a much more big ticket event thanour little 80-person wedding," she said.
Salloum apologized, but said the Hilton is merely exercisinga clause that is outlined in the contract that both parties signed.
Sanchez acknowledges that she signed a contract that givesthe property an out. Still, she's miffed.
"It is extremely frustrating because not too manyplaces are going to have the same date open," Sanchez said.
Salloum said the hotel is refunding Sanchez's deposit. Ithas also found an alternative Hilton location in St. Petersburg and offered acash payment to cover expenses such as new invitations.
"I'm not exactly sure how much it is going to be, butit is going to be at least 50 percent of what the wedding was going to costher," he said.
Sanchez said she'll have to visit the St. Petersburglocation before she decides whether it will work. Then reality set in. Herwedding is three months away—and she's not sure where it will take place.
"I can't be picky at this point," she added.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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