Farmington, N.Y.—Your wedding day is a day you want to remember forever. The special day is often immortalized by the professional pictures the bride and groom pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for.
In August 2011, Frank and Casey Sacco got married at the Canandaigua Yacht Club. They had hired Jennifer MacPherson of JM Photographic Arts to capture the day. Various wedding sites showed she had great reviews.
“She was actually really great,” says Casey. “She was a lot of fun to work with. She was super helpful in planning, because she was one of those people you could bounce off ideas with.”
The wedding day went off without a hitch. MacPherson told Casey she could see the pictures in about four weeks. Four weeks passed. Then six weeks passed and there was no word from MacPherson.
Casey says her many e-mails and phone calls to MacPherson went unanswered. When Casey eventually got a hold of MacPherson, she begged her to send at least one family picture from the wedding day, because Casey needed it for a family function.
MacPherson obliged the request but said she was behind on her work with the remaining wedding photos. Casey said she would give her a few more weeks for the rest of the photos, but she never got them. She says she tried contact MacPherson daily to no avail.
“It took a few emails before we really started getting worried,” Casey says. “That's when my husband, Frank, Googled her and suddenly starting from early September these blogs on multiple websites all came up.”
On various wedding message boards like The Knot, Project Wedding and The Wedding Wire, there were multiple complaints about JM Photographic Arts and MacPherson. The Saccos say the discovered they were one of about six New York and Michigan couples who were also waiting months, some almost a year, for their wedding photos.
Maxim and Celina Moon got married in Rochester in August 2011. The couple lives in Tampa now, but they’ve also been trying to get in contact with MacPherson about their photos.
“Those pictures are my only memories [of my wedding],” says Celina. “I'm pregnant now with a baby girl and I can't share that memory. I can't share that with my kids later on and my family doesn't have pictures of us.”
On Friday, 13WHAM News spoke to Jennifer MacPherson at her home in Orleans County. She says that she has been going through some personal issues over the past few months and has fallen behind on her work. When asked why she hasn’t returned her clients’ calls, she says that she will get in touch with them eventually.
Casey says she is sympathetic, but says there is no excuse for MacPherson not contacting her clients for reassurance.
MacPherson also told 13WHAM that her contract with her clients didn’t designate a deadline.
The Saccos say this is true. The actual contract doesn’t have a timeframe for delivering the pictures, but Casey says she’s had several verbal and e-mail conversations with MacPherson where she says the pictures would be done within at least two months’ time.
Celina Moon says that while a deadline may not have been a part of the contract, MacPherson sent her a form which asked what address the proofs should be sent to once they are available in approximately eight weeks.
According to the town justice, the Saccos, the Moons and one other couple have taken the case to small claims court in the Town of Murray, where MacPherson resides. The Saccos and Moons say MacPherson failed to appear on the court date for both their cases.
Despite what MacPherson says about getting the wedding photos to her clients, the Saccos say they aren’t optimistic.
“We've already gone to claims court and she won't respond to the judge’s phone calls or their letters, so I don't put a lot of trust in [her word],” Casey says. “All the couples want are their photos. No money back. They don't even have to be edited. Just give us the photos.”
All the couples affected are considering a lawsuit against MacPherson. They are also planning to write the Attorney General’s Office and possibly filing a criminal complaint if they don’t get their wedding pictures soon.
The Better Business Bureau has some tips for brides who are looking for contractors this wedding season.
-Ask the vendor for references from recent clients.
-Do your research online. Many blogs and websites rate vendors.
-As much as you can, adhere to the 3-3-3 rule. Pay a third of the bill as a deposit. Another third a few days before the services are needed and the last third after all the services are completed.