Storm damage forces venue to cancel couple’s wedding

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Planning a wedding is already a stressful endeavor, but for one local couple – the stress is just beginning.

Four years ago, Steven Bernard and Cristina Leal caught each others’ eye for the first time, and said it was “love at first sight.”

The couple ran into trouble last year when Bernard got severely sick from the flu. He said he died twice at Landmark Hospital, and when he recovered – he knew he had to propose.

“It was time to tie the knot,” he said.

Ceiling damage at the Phenix Sportsman's Club
Ceiling damage at the Phenix Sportsman’s Club

The couple planned for a February 21 wedding, with a winter wonderland theme, fittingly enough. Storm after storm wreaked havoc on their venue, the Phenix Sportsman’s Club in West Warwick. The ceiling tiles are bending and wet, some have fallen, the bathroom is ruined – forcing the venue to cancel on the couple just 10 days before the wedding.

“It was going to be a perfect day, and it turned into a nightmare now,” said Leal.

The couple says it’s too late to change the date. Not only is it a special date to them, since it was the day Bernard was admitted to the hospital one year ago, but they can’t find a new venue to host their big day.

“Everybody’s booked. Either that, or they want outrageous money, and we don’t have it,” Leal added. “The invitations have been sent out. I mean, how do you change that in 10 days?”

Regardless of where it will happen, the couple said they’re excited about the wedding.

“I cannot wait for the day,” said Bernard. “I cannot wait.”

The Phenix Sportsman’s Club felt terrible they had to cancel on the couple, but said there was nothing they could do. Bernard asks anyone who knows of a wedding venue that can book them with just 10 days notice to send him an email at

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