AUSTIN, Texas - More than 100 couples are without a wedding photographer after the company they hired filed for bankruptcy.
According to former contractors who worked for The Wedding Shoppe's owner Chris Howard, Howard announced suddenly he was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July and would no longer offer any service to any couple whose wedding was after Aug. 10. One former contractor said 109 couples have been left without a photographer they had already partially or fully paid for, and they may not get a refund.
In an email provided to KVUE by a former customer, a lawyer said, "Because of the imminent bankruptcy filing, no refunds can be given at the time."
The email goes on to state Howard's assets will be liquidated, but if there are no assets to be liquidated, there will be no funds to disburse. Couples like Megan Bertucio and her fiancé Jason could end up losing what they paid.
"It could be worse and you try and remind yourself that, but it's sad," Bertucio said.
She also said she was unaware of the company's bankruptcy until she reached out to them to point out their website was down. Former contractors with The Wedding Shoppe said they were also taken by surprise and received no warning of the pending bankruptcy.
"I was pretty shocked," said photographer John Winters. "I thought they were doing really well. I heard rumors they might open up a third office in Houston and a week later I hear that they're done."
KVUE tried multiple times to contact Howard, but was unable reach him.
The Wedding Shoppe had locations in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The store in Austin is closed and the phone number has been disconnected.
Several former contractors with The Wedding Shoppe told KVUE they are reaching out to offer their services at a discounted price to help the couples affected by the bankruptcy.