News 2 I-Team: Wedding vendor investigation

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — In the city that’s often rated one of the top wedding destinations, Charleston, you would hope you get all the wedding services you pay for.

Multiple families contacted the I-Team because they feel jilted by one wedding service vendor. They said they did their research, checked his reviews, and trusted him, which makes the vendor’s broken vows much worse.

Kevin Reed and his wife booked Finger Snappin’ Entertainment, and its owner Burt Lawson more than 6 months before their October wedding.

“He was doing our photo booth, videographer, shuttle, gettaway car and our DJ,” said Reed.

They saw he was highly rated on The Knot and Wedding Wire from 2012 to 2014.

Reed was offered several different prices, but he said he up front, in full, to get the cheapest price.

“We just kind of put it in the back, it was ready it was planned we had him then we started doing the million other things you have to do for a wedding,” Reed said.

Reed says three days before the wedding, Lawson, “comes through and says he can’t do anything that he promised. He said he might be able to do the DJing. We said, ‘No, we don’t want you at our wedding’.”

Ashley Murray and her mom, Susan Polk, hired Finger Snappin’ for her summer wedding. Polk also paid the cheapest price up-front.

“I was pretty excited, because I looked online and there were great reviews about him,” said Murray.

Lawson was to provide the trolley and videographer.

“He showed up the day of the wedding and was our trolley driver, and had someone filming the wedding and the whole day. But, we haven’t heard from him since,” said Murray.

“We just want the video!” she said.

“You know, pictures are one thing, but to know that I can’t even see the video that I paid for, and I can’t even get in contact with the person,” said Brittany McClain, who also hired Lawson for a videographer service.

She got married in September. She had also hired Lawson as a DJ, to provide a photo booth, trolley and other services.

“I saw he originally had pretty good reviews, I guess. But, then, as we went further along, things just didn’t happen that way. We just didn’t get certain services that were paid for,” McClain said.

Instead of the trolley she booked, a party bus showed up.

“It was such a slap in the face when I walked out of the church, and I just saw a big bus,” she said.

McClain also says an unfamiliar DJ performed instead of Lawson himself, and the photo booth wasn’t working properly.

“We probably got a total of 2 services out of the seven we paid for,” McClain said.

McClain says she hasn’t heard from Lawson since before the wedding. She’s worried she won’t get her wedding video.

The I-Team tried to visit Lawson at his business address, but no one answered.

In an email response, he said:

“I have made some bad business decisions that has put myself and my company in a financial situation.   It is not my character to deceive or lie to anyone.  I have been open and honest to everyone that has approached me via social media, phone or emails.  I am trying to work through the situation and to provide refunds to these client, but I don’t have the money to refund them back at this time.   I have notified ALL of my clients that they would get a refund.  I am embarrassed and truly sorry for the people that I have affected.”

Susan Polk says she received a similar email.

News 2 also spoke with an attorney to offer advice to those planning a wedding.

He advises brides to search current reviews, within the last month.

Also, legal experts advise the person paying for the wedding should have a contract with each individual vendor and service.

Additionally, you may be able to purchase wedding insurance through outside providers.

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