Is it okay to ditch a wedding photography client a night before their big day? I believe most of us would scream “NO!” with steam coming out of our ears. However, there may be situations when it’s perfectly justified.
Photographer Shayla Herrington found herself in a situation like this. After she canceled her services a night before a wedding she’d been booked for, the bride left her a negative review on Facebook. In a TikTok video that has since gone viral, Shayla shared the reasoning behind her decision.
It all started well – the bride booked Shayla, signed the contract, and paid the non-refundable deposit. She hadn’t booked the venue yet, so Shayla told her to let her know a few weeks before the wedding where the ceremony would take place.
A few weeks later, Shayla sent her questionnaire to the bride, where she was supposed to give her more details about the venue and the ceremony itself. After this, they were supposed to chat and go through the timeline and other details together – but the bride didn’t respond.
“It had been a week since I sent her the questionnaire and I still heard nothing,” the photographer says in the video. “So I sent her a text with a five-dollar Starbucks gift card and said ‘hey, you must have a lot on your mind right now, go get yourself a coffee and try and get me that questionnaire as soon as you can.’” According to Shayla, the bride didn’t respond to this either.
At this point, Shayla says that she started to get concerned. She had no address of the venue, let alone the timeline of the ceremony. She had no idea when and where she was supposed to go and take photos, and she says that the bride never responded to any of the texts, calls, and emails she sent her after this.
“Fast-forward and it is the night before the wedding, I have no idea what time I have to be at the wedding, I have no idea where I need to be,” Shayla says. “It felt like the bride was standing me up but she had paid her deposit.” So, the night before the wedding, Shayla sent her an email to let her know that the contract was void and that she I couldn’t perform her due to lack of information.
And surprise, surprise! This time, the bride responded, and it was on her very wedding day. She accused Shayla of being “unprofessional” and gave her a bad review on her Facebook page. Still, Shayla says that she gave her her deposit back in spite of everything.
At the time of writing this, Shayla’s video has received nearly 300,000 likes and over 1,500 comments. I skimmed the comments and didn’t see a single one defending the bride. I mean, there was no way for the photographer to go to the shoot if she didn’t know when and where it was supposed to take place, right? Plus, many people also believe that she should have kept the deposit.
I think Shayla handled this well and she was professional to the max. Also, that coffee coupon was such a kind and thoughtful personal touch, and not to mention that she returned the deposit even though I’m pretty sure she didn’t have to. What do you think? Would you handle it differently if this happened to you?