ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Bridal clients share horror stories about dodgy Cape wedding planner

Choosing the wrong wedding planner can turn your dream day into a disaster.

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler has received endless complaints about wedding organisers and suppliers who take their clients for a ride.

Read: Check the T&Cs before booking your wedding supplier

There are opportunists, chancers and outright con artists who are lying in wait to engage couples in service that they have no intention of providing.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Wedding planner doesn't deliver and refuses to refund R35 000

Andrea Coetzee asked wedding planner Martinette van Hansen to arrange her wedding, initially scheduled for 25 November last year.

The bride-to-be made her first payment of R3000 in early July, and a week later - before any bookings had been made - she changed the wedding date to 3 March.

She went on to make several more payments, her last one being R8000 at the end of January 2018, bringing to total paid to R35 300.

The wedding, scheduled for this weekend, cannot go ahead because the planner has not made any arrangements or bookings.

Despite loads of promises, van Hansen didn’t even produce wedding invitations.

Van Hansen agreed to give the bride-to-be a full refund after enlisting the help of an arbitrator, but later reneged on the agreement and refused to pay up.

Coetzee says she read complaints by other aggrieved clients about van Hansen on social media.

I started with Martinette van Hansen in June, and she said that she would get the venue, the decor, catering, stationery, menus and invites and serving staff for me.

Andrea Coetzee, teacher and bride-to-be

I contacted her in the beginning of February about the wedding invites. I kept calling and asking because I needed to give them to my guests.

Andrea Coetzee, teacher and bride-to-be

The story went on and she kept making excuses. As a wedding planner, you need to have a plan B, C or D.

Andrea Coetzee, teacher and bride-to-be

60 pizzas and last minute booze run after catering fail

Van Hansen, who runs the catering company The Travelling Chef, strung along another couple who got married in December after paying R23 000 upfront.

Tristan and David met with van Hansen early on to agree on the services that she would supply, but on their wedding day the couple was gravely disappointed.

At 11 o'clock on the wedding day she arrived. She didn't bring any food, any bar set up, nothing was with her but she told me not to stress.

Tristan, aggrieved bridal client

The wedding started at 16:30 and after the ceremony there was meant to be a cocktail hour with the harvest table for our guests - but she was nowhere to be found.

Tristan, aggrieved bridal client

The shock and horror started to sink in and it was devastating.

Tristan, aggrieved bridal client

The waiters were cooking the food in the microwave. The chicken was yellow, the vegetables were mushy and the salad smelt like it was sitting in a hot car for a day or two. I couldn't serve it to my guest.

Tristan, aggrieved bridal client

Van Hansen is caught up in multiple complaints from unhappy clients. She was invited to respond to the allegations.

Take a listen to the horror stories and advice shared during the Consumer Talk:

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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