Ahwatukee couple scrambling to find new place to get married after venue set to close

Shawna Begay and her fiance, Tim Cowdell, are left trying to find a new venue after Lido restaurant said they will be going out of business.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 5:50 PM MST|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 6:10 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Shawna Begay and her fiance, Tim Cowdell, spent the day making call after call, scrambling to find a place to get married next month, with not much luck. “We’re not sure what we are going to do or where we are going to be,” said Begay. “We’ve reached out to at least five places that were listed, and they’re already booked.”

The Ahwatukee couple said they had the perfect place picked out, the Lido restaurant off Baseline Road and Lakeshore Drive in Tempe, right along the lake. They’d paid more than $7,000 in deposits and had their June 10 date locked up.

Then suddenly, this past weekend, the owner of Lido told them they couldn’t have their wedding there because the venue is going out of business at the end of the month. “I don’t know what they were thinking, maybe there was hope they could still have the process go on and maybe still hold the wedding,” said Cowdell. “But its unacceptable, not a way to run a business.”

“I was just in shock. My daughter was in shock,” said Begay. “We just looked at each other, and we’re like, what do we do?” The couple has already sent out invitations, with many guests coming in from New York, Alaska and North Dakota. Changing the wedding date now is not an option. “The address shows Lido on it, and now we’re not going to go,” said Cowdell. “We’ll have to tell all of the family a different location, yet to be determined.”

Arizona’s Family reached out to the owner of Lido, Edward Georgescu, who said they did everything they could to keep the business going and not have to cancel this wedding and the dozen or so other events they had on the books for 2023. “Unfortunately, our financial situation is not sustainable,” said Georgescu. “I am sorry they had to change their plans and find out the way they did.”

The distraught couple can’t understand why they weren’t given a heads-up sooner that the venue might be closing. That’s the least they could have done, and we would have been happy with that,” said Begay. “At least we would have had a backup plan, and now we don’t have anything.”

Georgescu insists he will provide full refunds to everyone whose event was canceled. That’s encouraging news for Begay and Cowdell, but there’s still the problem of finding a place to exchange vows. “Life throws wrenches at you sometimes, and you have to be resilient and figure out how to bounce back,” said Cowdell. “I think we will get through this.”

On Monday, the couple received $5,000 of their money back. Georgescu said he would send the rest on Tuesday.