CoronaVirus

Model couple’s wedding bash derailed after a booking mix-up

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) — One casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic is parties, with thousands of festive gatherings — birthdays, bar mitzvahs and weddings — all postponed.

That has left venues scrambling to re-book, not refund, and you really can’t blame them.

One couple had their big day canceled then thought they had re-booked, but then months before the wedding, the venue told them the date was no longer available.

So they turned to Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

“It’s been the most disorienting thing ever,” bride Lissie Reed Miller said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

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She and Andrew Miller have been posing as wedding models for years, regularly featured on sites like The Knot. But they say their own plan to tie the knot got frayed by the venue, the Williamsburg Hotel, located around the corner from where the couple lives.

“We’ve been treated so badly,” Miller said

In early 2020, the couple contracted with the hotel, paying more than $35,000 — a 50% non-refundable deposit — to hold their wedding date of October 17, 2020. Then in May of 2020, the hotel emailed a list of new dates.

“They said they’re reaching out to everybody who has an event, back in 2020, that was affected by the pandemic,” Miller said.

They chose October 2, 2021, and that same day, their sales manager confirmed the backup date in writing, and then again, three months later.

The couple says communication then stopped for about six months, but finally, in February, they were able to arrange a walkthrough to go over their details.

Pineda: “You had this walkthrough talking about the 2nd, October 2nd.”
Reed-Miller: “Yes, as if it was happening.”

So they proceeded with the planning.

“We had the band, invitations,” Miller said. “Save the dates were out.”

But they say no one from the Williamsburg Hotel told them they could not have that new date. It was only when they walked in that they were informed that their date went to another couple.

Reed’s father Dana arranged a meeting at the Williamsburg but said the hotel’s only offering to throw in a few extras for a different date, and no refund.

“As a parent you want to do everything for your children,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about this, because they have me hamstrung. They have the money, and they have the date.”

We went to Williamsburg Hotel, but the managers would not speak to us on camera.

In a statement, they claimed the date was not finalized until a new contract was signed, that October 2 was contracted to another couple, and that it was clearly communicated to them in early 2021.

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We asked the hotel multiple times for proof of that communication, but we never received any.

Andrew and Lissie haven’t received their deposit back.

Pineda: “As a young couple, how are you going to survive starting your lives 35 grand in the hole?”
Reed-Miller: “I don’t know honestly.”

They scaled back to a beach wedding and will tie the knot in Montauk instead.

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