OUTER BANKS, N.C. - The beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina have always held a special place in Glen Neel's heart.
"I've been going down there since I was a little kid. I just love it," Neel, a Pittsburgh resident, said.
So, he knew when he met his forever, Julie Shildt, the untouched dunes and the turquoise waters would be the perfect setting for their "I do."
"I took her down there and she fell in love with it, too," Neel said. "We just knew it was the place we wanted to have our wedding."
So, the couple booked the event at vacation rental home, "Risen Son," in Corolla with Twiddy, an Outer Banks vacation rental and real estate firm.
"It is 11 bedrooms, and it's gorgeous," Shildt said. "You go down to the beach, have your ceremony and come up for a poolside reception. We had 65 guests we invited for the wedding on May 24."
In March, there was a hiccup in the plans as coronavirus blew in.
"We reached out to [Twiddy] at the beginning of April because we wanted to make sure by the end of May we could still do our wedding," Neel said.
Neel and Shildt said repeated calls and emails went unanswered from the company until late April.
"They said they have been reaching out to the homeowner and they haven't been able to get an answer from them as to whether they can postpone it," Neel said. "I understand the homeowner wants to make money but this is unprecedented."
Twiddy has asked the couple in an email to pay Risen Son's full balance and told them the Outer Banks is reopening on May 16, but there is still a statewide ban on gatherings of 10 or more people.
"I can't expect my guests to come down and the wedding to be shut down and all of them asked to leave," Shildt said.
The couple even told News 3 they called and talked to the Dare County Sheriff's Office, who told them if they had the wedding, it would be shut down.
Right now, the couple has canceled their big beach bash and gotten refunds from the rest of their vendors, but no luck with Twiddy, which is now asking them to move their reservation to this fall.
"We just want a full refund or to move the date to the same time in 2021," Neel said. "If I treated my customers like this, I wouldn't have any business. We are not canceling because we want to."
Neel says he will pay the homeowner 100% in fees if he will allow them to move the reservation until next May.
This is the last email correspondence Julie and Glen received from Twiddy on May 7:
"I just left Glen a voicemail. I am so sorry for the late response and slow to action on a decision. As you know, this is a very fluid situation and one that is changing daily. The travel restrictions were lifted and we will be re-opening on May 16. I have put in the request to the owner and I am still waiting a decision to approve the switch.
"But, we really should start the re-market process now, if you are not planning on coming to the Outer Banks during your planned week even with the restrictions lifted, we would recommend that you re-market your reservation. You would need to request that the week be placed in our re-market program via your Twiddy guest account. Once your request is received and processed, your home will be placed back on the rental market."
News 3 reached out to Twiddy via email and phone and at publish time have still not heard back from the company.