Anastasia Tsoumbanos and Natalia Kapourelakos have probably never felt so relieved to be setting up tables and chairs.
They had much bigger concerns on April 5, 2014, when the function hall they owned, Lakeview Pavilion in Foxborough, burned down just after a couple said their wedding vows. The nearly 110-year-old structure was destroyed by a discarded cigarette, but the wedding guests and workers all made it out safely.
Now, the two sisters are gearing up for their first wedding celebration since that fateful night. The big event is scheduled for Friday.
“This is our passion,” Tsoumbanos said. “We love this industry. We had no doubt we wanted to rebuild.”
The sisters said their new facility cost $7 million. Much of the expense was covered by insurance, but they said they wanted to make the new building bigger, beyond what the policy would cover. The old facility was about 16,000 square feet in size. This one, they said, is 25,000.
One of the biggest differences: The new function hall can accommodate two weddings, while the old building could only handle one at a time. One of the new ballrooms can accommodate as many as 165 people, while the other has room for 400. (The rooms can also be combined for as many as 500 guests.)
Each of the ballrooms, Kapourelakos said, has a private entrance, bridal suite, cocktail area, and outdoor deck.
The old building was a retrofitted ballroom-dancing hall. But this time around, the sisters were able to tailor the structure for their specific needs.
“We made every decision about the design and features about the new venue with the brides and grooms in mind,” Kapourelakos said. “It still has the high ceilings [but] it’s more modern right now. . . . We changed to an all-white decor so our venue would be like a blank canvas for the brides to decorate with their own special touches.”
Architect Lou Allevato said he aimed for a simple design without many flourishes. He also envisioned a building that would impress brides, grooms, and their parties as they pulled up for the big event.
“To see it rising from what were the ashes of that devastating event, it’s really quite fulfilling,” said Allevato, whose firm, Allevato Architects Inc., is based in Franklin. “Anastasia and Natalia were absolutely committed to making one of the best wedding venues in this part of the country.”