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Woman blames planner for ruined wedding

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
For one local Orange County woman, it was the day she dreamed about since she was a little girl, but her wedding turned into a nightmare. When everything from the dress to the photos to the reception went wrong, she blamed it all on the wedding planner.Laura Mathis displays her unfinished dress.

"All inside here, there were just pins," she described.

I expected it to be a dream come true and it was just a disaster," said Mathis.

The 30-year-old bride hired Gloria Cook, owner of Celeste's Bridal in Santa Ana, to plan her wedding, paying her $8,500 to cover such costs as her wedding dress, the reception and her wedding photos.

"The dress wasn't ready until three in the morning," said Mathis.

On Sept.26, her wedding day, Mathis was pulling pins from the dress, and her stepmother did some quick stitches before the ceremony. She says she couldn't locate Cook.

Cook admits the dress wasn't perfect, but only because she was rushed. She claims Mathis cancelled her wedding three days before, then a day later, said it was back on. This is something Mathis denies.

At the reception, the bride was expecting food elegantly displayed.

Instead photos show tin-foil containers, food on the floor and Cook and her helpers preparing food before guests.

"It looked like going to a cafeteria in elementary school, and they just slapped everything on," described Mathis.

Cook insists she did her best, saying it's not easy to cancel the food, hall and limo then have to re-book everything.

The limo driver, Gus Rendon, says Mathis never cancelled her wedding. In fact, Cook called him three days before the wedding to book him. He says he's still waiting to be paid $600.

Cook claims she paid him cash.

Cook was happy to show Eyewitness News the wedding video and photos, even though Mathis has never seen them, despite leaving numerous messages.

Cook says Mathis has not called her. As a wedding planner for two years, she insists she has many happy clients.

Experts say when choosing a wedding planner, you need to do your homework.

Mathis plans to take Cook to small claims court.

Cook says she no longer owns the business, and she won't refund money, saying Mathis had a contract.

"All I wanted was something beautiful to remember and I have nothing," said Mathis.


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