Wedding Photography Woes
For nearly two years after Kearston and Anthony Crisorio got married, the only photo they had recording their Sept. 17, 1994, vows was a framed 3-by-5 snapshot taken by a friend. Involved in a dispute with the wedding photographer, the Crisorios did not receive their wedding album of 24, 8-by-10-inch photographs recording the wedding ceremony at St. Mary’s Church in downtown Albany until last month — well after the birth of their now 1-year-old son, Anthony.
Crisorio and The White Studio, the Fuller Road studio, that photographed the wedding, blame each other for a series of missteps. Studio contractor Don Gennett contends that Crisorio never followed through. ”She delayed placing her order for a year and a half,” Gennett said. Crisorio, similarly, contends the studio in two years never contacted her. Crisorio said she called the studio, but was unable to learn whether proofs of the wedding photos were ready.
”If I can (carry) a child for nine months and raise him for 11, I’m sure they could develop some film in that time,” she said. Somewhere in the confusion is a lesson for other newlyweds on how to avoid disasters like missing photographs, even if the moral is as simple as get it in writing and follow the contract terms once you sign it.
Couples also can do much to prevent the delivery of a wedding dress ripped at the seams or wilted flowers. Complaints about wedding-related services are particularly vociferous, said David Polino, president of the Buffalo-based Better Business Bureau. Theoretically, Polino said, ”You do this once. These are mementos people intend on having for the remainder of their lives. ”It’s one of those rites of passage, if it’s interfered with, it’s more than a toaster.”
Couples and their families have more than an emotional investment at stake; according to the Better Business Bureau, the average cost of a wedding ranges between $ 5,000 and $ 19,000. On the average, couples in the United States spend almost $ 16,000 on their wedding, with 91 percent of all couples planning a formal wedding, a trend that has remained strong since the mid-1980s, according to Bride’s magazine.
Wedding-related purchases constitute an estimated $ 32 billion in annual retail sales, the magazine also reported. The state attorney general’s office has intervened on behalf of consumers suffering the wedding blues in several recent instances, including: In the case of White Studio, the studio with which Crisorio had her dispute, 17 other consumers have filed complaints with the state since 1991, said spokesman Marc Carey. Nearly all said they had been unable to retrieve their photographs. Gennett said he is aware of only four. Those, he said, came when the studio ”ran into some delays in 1993 and 1994,” at a time when the company was being restructured. Though Gennett and the attorney general’s office disagree on the number of complaints filed, each say the cases were resolved with the delivery of the photographs.
Earlier this year, about 400 people individually complained that a Nassau County photo company, Wedding World Emporium in Lynbrook, either did not deliver albums or went out of business before photographing their weddings. The state has been able to retrieve the photos of about 300 customers, but has had difficulty in tracing other photos. The attorney general’s office intervened this summer on behalf of 16 consumers who complained that the wedding and prom dresses made by Apropos of Amsterdam were substandard. In some cases, dresses were delivered with rips along the seams or were not custom-made, as promised, said Carey. The consumers were reimbursed a total of $ 2,200 and owner Sindy Saita formally agreed to end such practices. Saita did not return a call seeking comment.
In the last 21 months, the state Consumer Protection Board received 21 wedding-related complaints, including dissatisfaction about music, food, videos and flowers. Of those complaints, a dozen people were dissatisfied with the photographers they hired. The board negotiated lower prices or refunds for half of those photography complaints. Those complaints are filtered to the state board from various local consumer boards. Chairman Timothy Carey believes such problems, statewide, are larger in number, perhaps 10 to 100 times greater. But he said most firms are reputable, and that price and quality are the usual top concerns for consumers. Scam artists hop from business to business. ”In June, there are weddings; in fall, people want their driveway paved.”
Take this all into consideration when searching for someone to handle your Wedding Photography.