EA Dream Team:
The Bridal Kitchen: Donated a grooms cake for the reception
Chladek Wealth Management: Donated a wealth management package
Studio 500: Providing hair and makeup for the bride plus one
Horizon Limousine: Providing transportation to the couple
Pro DJ: Providing musical entertainment for their reception
KC Photobooth: Donated a photobooth for their reception
Freeland Photography: Donated engagement session and wedding photography
It’s natural to expect the unexpected, even as it pertains to your wedding day. However, no one would go so far as to foresee their photographer bailing on them, their transportation never showing up, or arriving at a silent reception because the music provider was MIA. Well, that is exactly what happened to some unfortunate couples in the Kansas City area when a metro wide scam spread across celebrations everywhere. This was all at the hands of a man by the name of Mario, who claimed to be the real wedding deal, all wrapped up in a rock bottom package price.
Mario had his game all mapped out. He lured unsuspecting couples in with an unbeatable price and the empty promise of securing vendors for them, so they could be stress free at the end of it all. The only catch was that he required payment up front to take advantage of his “generous offer.” But, after bailing on one too many brides, people started talking, and it wasn’t long before this scandal hit the news as a warning to any other couples who may be in his path of wedding day destruction.
Unfortunately, there was still one pair who caught the warning just a little too late. Mike Ross and Lauren Mosely had already paid Mario in advance for photography, limo service, musical entertainment, styling, and photobooth rental. Yet, unlike the other couples, they were fortunate enough to find out well in advance of their big day, so there was still time for it to be saved.
When asked what enticed them about Mario in the first place, the couple admitted it was the price. In trying to be diligent about sticking to their budget, his plan seemed like a dream come true. They found him at a bridal show where he was offering a “discount” for booking with him that day. In fact, he told them, “if you wait, the price goes up.”
He had mentioned all these other weekends he was already booked for, so while they were initially a little leery of the price break he offered, they justified that he had plenty of business to back him up.
It wasn’t until they had scheduled their engagement shoot out in Lawrence and he failed to show up that they started getting worried. They tried calling all three numbers they had for him, to no avail. After finally reaching him via Facebook, he wouldn’t directly admit that he didn’t show. Instead, Mario would only mention the option of rescheduling. He insisted that they could not get any money back because until they didn’t show up for the wedding, their contract is still considered as being upheld.
Lauren’s mom caught a clip about Mario being on the news, and that night, Mike and Lauren watched the coverage on Fox4 with Problem Solver Linda Wager. They were stunned by what they saw as they watched their future plans unfolding the same way as the other victims of this scam.
They were furious at first that this was happening to them. Then, the anger made way for panic, as they contemplated what to do. The worst part of it all was realizing how seriously their budget was being derailed, and the thought of how to make up for all the stuff he promised was enough to incite action. They immediately emailed Linda Wager, to thank her for bringing this story to light and sharing with her their own tale.
That is precisely when Linda called on the help of EA Bride to organize a relief effort of sorts for this deserving young couple. So, last December, at the EA Bride launch party, unbeknownst to Lauren and Mike, we had a little surprise in store for them. With some amazing vendors who refused to let someone like Mario ruin the reputation of the wedding industry, they stepped forward to show this couple true generosity and compassion when it comes to making their big day everything they dreamed possible.
So, with Fox4 cameras rolling, we called the couple to the front of the room, as they were gifted with photography, DJ services, limousine transportation, a wealth management package, a photobooth, a grooms cake, and styling services. You could feel the sigh of reliefs coming from the couple as they realized it wasn’t all for not after all. As Lauren said, “We had no idea what was in store. We were told to come to a launch party for a magazine and would talk to some people. We just wanted to help prevent it from happening to someone else. When they called us on stage and presented us with everyone’s gifts, we were in utter shock.”
The shock eventually wore off, and this beautiful couple spent the rest of the evening thanking everyone profusely, and showing immense gratitude for the kindness of these strangers who stepped forward on their behalf.
They will be wed July 9th, 2011, and we can’t wait to feature them, their love story, and the talents of Freeland Photography capturing it all in our next issue.
Ways to Avoid Industry Pitfalls:
1. When you’re meeting with the professional, ask for five to ten references. Anyone can find one or two people to say good things about them.
2. If they have a studio space, or office space, try to meet them there so you can get better acquainted with who they are.
3. Don’t fall under the trap of immediate deals. If they offer you a deal at a show, but really want your business, they will most likely honor it later.
4. Do research and extensive comparing. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of people who are priced way below the rest of the competition. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad, but just do your research to find out how they can afford to give you such a killer deal.
5. Don’t take everything at face value. Get it on paper so you know exactly what both parties expect of one another. Leave nothing to chance.Read More