FOX 29 Investigates: Wedding Nightmare - Fox 2 News Headlines

FOX 29 Investigates: Wedding Nightmare

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The cheap decorations Rivera was given. The cheap decorations Rivera was given.
Cepeda, the owner of the store that Rivera says almost ruined her wedding Cepeda, the owner of the store that Rivera says almost ruined her wedding

It's the heart-breaking story of a city woman who wanted a dream-come-true wedding, but claims the woman she hired to make it happen never did her job and almost ruined her special day.

"They just left it, just left it, they never set anything up for me..."

In the front room of Mandelene Rivera's small, North Philly apartment sit the remnants of the beautiful wedding she longed for, but claims she never got.

"It's not what I expected. A dream come true wedding. I'd never been married, I didn't expect that, I expected something beautiful" says Rivera.

The 44-year-old mother of five had planned an early evening, June 1st wedding at a local banquet hall.

She'd dreamed of a celebration of her love for her fiancée. One that would include her family and friends all set against an Arabian Theme.

"I am upset, yes, angry and disappointed," says Rivera.

Rivera, unemployed and struggling with a heart ailment, scrapped together just over one thousand bucks and paid a woman, Evelyn Cepeda, owner of the Party Place on North 5th., to provide decorations and put them up in the hall.

But when the afternoon of the special day came, Cepeda and her workers were no-where to be found.

"They didn't show at 2," says Rivera. "Not at all, no phone call nothing."

They finally showed up around 4:45. That was about an hour before the wedding, says Rivera, and only after a series of frantic calls and a visit to the Party Place. And even then, she says, all they did was dump it and run.

"They just threw it on the floor and left it there," recalls Rivera.

Rivera says she and her family took the decorations they did get, combined them with their own, and pulled off something close to the special day she'd hoped for. But angry Rivera returned to the store a few days later and recorded this bitter encounter with a worker on her own camera.

"I was embarrassed and humiliated you know I came here crying to you and begging you to help me. I gave you a lot of money and I want my money back," says Rivera.

Rivera also claims she and her husband were attacked as they left the store by Cepeda's friends. She says pictures show the scrapes and bruises they suffered.

"They just started attacking us they just started beating on us for no apparent reason..." she says.

Rivera has filed a private criminal complaint against her two alleged attackers in Philadelphia's municipal court. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.

As for Evelyn Cepeda?

When we showed up at her store to ask questions, it was locked-up, empty, and there was no one around.

We tried to reach Evelyn Cepeda through her company's Facebook page but she's not contacted us.

Meanwhile, Mandelene Rivera says she's left with the cheap decorations the Party Place left behind and deep disappointment.

She's sued Cepeda in civil court.

"I want justice to be served. I want to her to pay me my money back. It's inhumane. You don't do this to us," she says. "It's not right that take my money and you don't do your job. It's not right !!!"

After attempting to contact Cepeda and the Party Place through Facebook yesterday, the page appears to have been pulled down. And a phone number to the Party Place is no longer active. A hearing in Rivera's lawsuit against Cepeda is set for Friday.

A word of caution: Mandelene Rivera says she wishes she'd never paid Cepeda the entire fee before the wedding day.

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