Kristen Steele stole my prize.

Recall me “winning” an online giveaway for the destination photographer? Recall my utter bliss at winning? and saving money?
Oh me too.
I remember the excitement over budget bliss and the sheer excitement of being chosen.
It was almost too good to be true.

Because it was too good to be true.
No, really. The rug was pulled out from under me.

Read:

See, this photographer waited until something else panned out, as in another bride with a wedding the day before ours.  Obviously that conflicts right? You can’t shoot a wedding the night before and fly to DC the next morning to take my getting ready shots.  That’s quick turn around.  This photographer told me she didn’t think that the bride would sign the contract. Then why even give her the contract?
But she did. And she signed it. And it conflicts with this photographer coming to our rehearsal dinner.
In further email correspondence she said would take the first flight out the morning of our wedding.
She seemed to think this would work out fine.

So I asked it to be put in writing.
I wanted to see that she would take the first flight out the next morning and fly into DCA.
Because whoever offers something free and then goes and schedules something conflicting is out to make a buck.  I didn’t want to get screwed over.

And then I got this email:

So the bridezilla in me lashes out with a “WHAT THE FRICK?!” Except it wasn’t “Frick.”  Followed by some more characters I can’t repeat on this respectable blog.  
Wasn’t SHE the one who first suggested flying in the morning of?
Didn’t SHE meet with this other bride, schedule the other wedding all while KNOWING she offered me the prize for service on  June 19?
And what’s this “avid blogger” crap that promotes me saying “The prize is no longer available”?
Let’s say it like it is, Kristen Steele: YOU SCREWED ME OVER.  You offered me a prize and then decided not to follow through.  You devised a contest, picked a winner, and then went and scheduled something else.
Ok, yes, I had yet to sign a contract and had no real rights to her yet, but let’s remember I didn’t even receive a contract to look over, until after the other (paying) bride had her contract.
I can clearly see where the priorities are.
I was offered no consolation prize, nor means to reconcile her mistake.
So we need to let the people of Nashville and the world know, that this photographer they have in their midst need not be trusted.  Sure she can take pretty pictures, but at what price? If she offers you something, sign your contract before she can change her mind, especially if she offers a discount.
Because professionalism is not part of her services.
You’ll pay a pretty penny for that.
If you even get it.
We’re out a photographer.

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  • Corinn

    Holy Crap I'd go ape ships…. So do you still have photography in the budget? Ew and now the fun of hunting for a photographer. eck

  • Anonymous

    What the F*&K was she thinking?!? I can't believe it! I did however meet with a photographer at a wedding show whos work I really liked. I will send you his name and stuff on FB. So sorry girlie!Lisa

  • Whitney

    Wow. I am so sorry that happened to you!!

  • DCwino

    That's awful!!! Report her to the better business bureau. Suggest you check out Ryan at Regeti's. They do fantastic work an his price was great.

  • Luckiest Girl Ever

    Wait,.. she acknowledged that you're an avid blogger, and so encouraged you to say that it's just no longer available "so it doesn't seem like you declined either."How does that even make sense? It's like she's trying to say one of the following:- I don't want it to look like I double booked myself and chose the paying customer over the contest I volunteered to participate in (btw, I chose to participate in a give-away contest because I was really hoping the winner would blog about the whole thing and I'd get paid back in word-of-mouth). So please don't say I ditched you.OR- I don't want it to look like you ditched me because that would reflect badly on the qualify of my work, if you wouldn't even accept a FREE photographer for your wedding day. So please don't blog that.Either way – she fails. And her blatant acknowledgment that you're an active blogger is a lame way of pleading for you NOT to post about it. And I'm sorry you're back to looking for a photographer that will fit in your budget. That sucks.

  • Diana Mieczan

    OMG..I am so sorry for you,sweetie…That is totally unfair and I hope you will find someone amazing for your special day.Hugs and kisses

  • Teenage Bride

    I am so sorry. This really is unprofessional at best. She should have a tleast offered you something else at least

  • Cassandra

    This just sucks.

  • veronica

    What a dirty way to do business. To promote herself claiming the chance to win a free prize, and then not follow through? Terrible!

  • Chocolate Lover

    Her response makes absolutely no sense! This sucks! She is the one backing out not you! She can't just change her mind and not offer ANYTHING! So sorry this happened to you guys! You are probably better off without her…

  • every little kiss

    She should offer to pay for another photographer for you. What a bunch of crap.

  • Joy B

    WHAT THE "FRICK" indeed.I get that you hadn't signed a contract. I get that someone else did. But it doesn't sound as if any stipulations were placed on the necessity of you submitting a contract. As long as you acknowledged in writing/verbally that you were accepting the prize, it seems to me that constitutes a verbal contract which must be fulfilled or otherwise rendered. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that she violated the terms of your contract. You can't actually follow through with a prize giveaway, then back out before completing official documentation, and call it "no harm, no foul." There is harm. It is foul.I'm glad you blogged about this. I know the power of social media – I was refunded for my dress cleaning after I posted on The Knot about the nightmare I had with a dry cleaner. I hope Kristen recognizes that she's at fault here and compensates you appropriately, or that another photographer sees your plight and comes through for you.You were robbed.

  • Smiling is Good for

    Oh my gosh! I know how you are feeling girl! We had issues before I signed a contract and fortunately I got out of it, real quick! I am glad you posted about this because you don't want anyone else to get stuck in the same situation! Oh man!!I am so sorry! I know how stressful this all is!! Good for you for sticking to your guns, even if it means you are back to square one.If you haven't already, I would recommend going to a bridal fair and looking for a photographer and other vendors there. They usually have deals..that is where I have found most of my vendors!Best of luck and I hope this is the only bump in the road that you come across!

  • Susie Kline

    This really sucks! I agree, go to the Better Business Bureau and blog, blog, blog about it. She knows you blog and still pulled this crap!I have a camera and some lenses. I'll come take your pictures!xo susie

  • TheNextMartha

    What a jerk. Sorry that you got screwed. I hope it rains on that other wedding day.

  • Jayme

    OMG What a twit! I am so sorry :(