Hundreds of disgruntled newlyweds claim they have been scammed by wedding photographers who did not show up, took blurred photos or failed to take any at all.
Darren and Adele McDonagh, who ran Treasured Moments Photography in the UK, are at the centre of an investigation after more than 200 couples came forward to complain about the pair.
The McDonaghs allegedly pocketed an equivalent of up to Sh14 million from their wedding photography service despite arriving late, taking poor quality pictures of refusing to supply any photos at all.
Many couples said they were forced to rely on guests’ selfies and pictures from their big day.
Police and Action Fraud are investigating claims the couple conned brides and grooms by promising drones, photo booths, and minute-by-minute capture of the weddings.
Chantelle and David Maconochie, from Chester-le-Street in County Durham, booked Treasured Moments for 15 June, 2018.
The pair got married at St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s Church, in Middle Chair, followed by a reception and party at the Beamish Park Hotel.
Mother-of-four Chantelle, 30, and bus driver Darren, 36, paid £500 to book the McDonaghs.
But Ms Maconochie claims only Adele turned up and announced she was ‘depressed and suffering from anxiety over the loss of a baby.’
Other couples say the McDonaghs blamed hospital appointments, accidents, family bereavements and vandalism for not delivering their wedding photos.
Ms Maconochie said: ‘When Adele turned up she told me the day was the anniversary of her baby’s death, which put a downer on the day.
‘She demanded the DJ play the first dance early so she could get home sooner and she was asking me what poses I wanted to do.
‘She was crying all the time and missed our first kiss and mucked up me walking down the aisle.
‘For our first dance all she captured was photos of Darren’s butt and when we eventually got the pictures, after months of waiting and complaining, many were out of focus and unusable in a wedding album.’
The couple claim they were forced to drive to Leeds to pick up a USB stick with the unedited photographs.
The McDonaghs have claimed to have gone bankrupt, but there are no court records to back up this. When confronted at home they refused to comment.
The McDonaghs, from Leeds, have refunded some couples and have finally delivered images.
But scores of newlyweds have been left out of pocket and relying on friends’ mobile photos as memories of their wedding day.
Ella Stevenson wrote on Facebook: ‘They have taken £350 off me and my husband and they came to our wedding but never got the photos! And never did our room decoration they expected my husband to go to hobby craft and get room decor the morning of our renewal!’
Tracey Louise wrote in September: ‘As an average couple on a budget we booked them because of their 5* reviews (little did we know at the time they had deleted and blocked anyone that gave a bad one) .
‘We knew absolutely nothing until we saw a post on WDBM Facebook page that they had messaged a bride at 8am to tell her they will not be arriving to her wedding at 10am. Alarm bells rang and I searched for their Facebook page….. GONE!
‘Searched for their website….. GONE! Emails were not responded to. Phonecalls were just ringing and ringing. Even their personal profiles were deleted along with their Instagram.
‘A statement from them came about online which read they were closing their business and there was no money left for refunds, all because one couple gave them a bad review which meant lots of people cancelled and left them penniless!!
‘We saw more and more couples out of pocket and panicking where their money had gone. Hundreds of couples all over the country were forming together to piece up what was going on.
‘That’s when we we found out about the multiple photography businesses. They told several lies about being in car accidents as reasons why they left brides with just hours on their big day to get another photographer.
‘They left couples without a photo booth and told them it was broken at an event and the police were involved.
‘We also found out that adele was in fact not qualified to be a photographer.
‘Neither Darren or Adele has been in contact since and we are still out of pocket by hundreds of pounds but have taken the relevant steps to retrieve it.’
Marie-france Lorre Smith wrote on Facebook in September: ‘I have been a victim of this couple Treasured moments photography. They have scammed a lot of people and ruined our memory of our wedding photos.
‘I want everyone to know and share as too many people have been scammed and hurt.’
They have claimed to have gone bankrupt, but there are no court records to back up this. When confronted at home they refused to comment.
Credits: Daily Mail