It was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives for a Richmond couple. Instead, they say the man they hired to cater their wedding took their money and never brought the food.
Robert and Catina Jones are speaking out nearly a week after their wedding, furious they're out a thousand bucks
Photos capture the meaningful memories on the happiest day of their lives.
"It was a dream come true. It really was. The man of my dreams,” Catina Wright-Jones said.
Highlighting the big day meant coming up with the perfect menu. So she called on Richmond executive chef, Frank Crump.
Crump is associated with several Richmond Restaurants - including GFC Catering, where he is listed as the chef and owner.
"We were having his famous crab cakes, salmon, broccoli amandine, red potatoes and rolls...He had sent me text messages. ‘Oh, I'm honored to do your wedding. I can't wait to be there,'" she said.
Only problem - Crump never showed up.
"I didn't know what we were going to do," Wright-Jones added.
Just hours before the big moment, her then fiancé raced to Crump's business, but he wasn't there.
With no time to wait, he placed a rush order with a different business, who agreed to save the day.
Here's the problem. The couple paid Crump two times: a deposit and a final balance. Both checks cashed, and one cashed a day before the wedding...but they never put their deal in writing.
"It’s a wedding day. It’s big time. We’re going to have a lot of fun, but don't get yourself caught up in a bind," said Barry Moore of the Better Business Bureau.
He hears sad scenarios like this one all of the time.
"Get it in writing. If you do handshakes, that sounds good, but a lot of times miscommunication happens, and you think you paid for something or you're getting something and the caterer said ‘no, wait a minute. That's not what I said,'" Moore adds.
The Jones’ say they made contact with the caterer after the wedding.
"What reason did he give?” NBC12 asked.
“No reason. At that point, we didn't want a reason. We just wanted our refund back," Robert Jones said.
They even agreed on a meeting spot, but they say Crump was a no-show again.
"I have done quite a few jobs for Mrs. Wright. I wasn’t able to make it. I will refund her money," Crump said in a statement to NBC12.
The newly-weds say they're waiting.
The BBB offers several tips for wedding contracts.
Get multiple references before hiring anyone to perform services for your wedding, and try to use a credit card - that may come with some consumer protections.
Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.