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East Hartford couple whose wedding venue closed without notice, get some help from FOX61 viewers

Kelsey Poe and JJ Bray were ready to tie the knot with their Wolcott venue closed without notice, but FOX61 viewers stepped in to help.

GRANBY, Conn. — Kelsey Poe and JJ Bray met at Eastern Connecticut State University, fell in love and were planning their dream wedding for May 30, 2020.

However, when the couple called Mahan’s Lakeview Fine Catering in Wolcott to check-in, they weren’t answering. The venue wasn’t returning their calls or answering their emails.

“Around this time last year, we had already been trying to contact our old venue, Mahan’s Lakeview, and emails came back, phone number disconnected,” Poe said.

Mahan’s Lakeview Fine Catering had permanently closed its doors without notice.

At a loss for what to do, the East Hartford couple reached out to FOX61 News for help – and everything changed.

“I was watching FOX61, eating dinner, and all of a sudden I heard Kelsey’s name and her story, and I was captivated,” said Kristine Vincent, director of Granby Parks and Recreation.

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After seeing the couple’s story on FOX61, Vincent and the team knew they wanted to step in and do anything they could to help them out.

“I came into work the next morning and my coworker said to me, ‘Kristine, did you see the story about the woman who lost the wedding venue facility?' and I said ‘oh my gosh, yes I did,’ and at the same time, we both said to each other we have got to make this happen,” Vincent said. “We have Holcomb farm, we have this beautiful place, we have open space, we’ve been trying to run things within the COVID guidelines and have been very successful. So, we said, we can do it, challenge accepted, bring it on, we’re gonna try to get ahold of her and make it happen.”

Vincent and her team reached out to different people who helped them get in contact with Poe’s mother.

“It was a little awkward trying to explain hey we’re just calling out of the blue and we want to offer our wedding space to you but her mom was super excited and she got in touch with Kelsey,” Vincent said.

Immediately after Poe’s mom notified her of the big news, the bride- and groom-to-be called the venue and immediately said YES! They were shocked at how stunning the venue was when they went to go visit.

After their first visit to the farm, they all hit the ground running, essentially planning wedding No. 2.

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The couple was lucky enough to transfer almost all of their vendors to their new date, something they are beyond thankful for.

“I was going from such a low point of what are we going to do, still excited to get married but just the stress of nothing being planned, but when they reached out it was such a massive sense of relief,” Poe said.

With a new date – this weekend – and a new venue, the couple said they are most looking forward to seeing family they haven’t been able to see due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They said they are thrilled to be in the home stretch to becoming Mr. & Mrs. Bray!