South Florida

Two Chefs Serve Up Excuses for Vegan Wedding Fail

“We wanted to trust this wedding with someone who is a dedicated vegan chef, someone who is vegan, who lives that lifestyle,” groom Craig Denis said

Craig Denis and Krystal Spalding say it is hard to talk about their big day.

“I’m sorry it’s a lot for me to talk about. I get super stressed,” Spalding told us when we sat down for an interview with NBC6 Responds.

The couple tied the knot in a 3-day wedding event at a South Florida mansion.

They say one thing was missing, the vegan dinner they paid for and the chef they thought they hired to make it.

“I’ve been vegan for 10 years I have not had any animal products for that amount of time,” Spalding said.

It’s why in September they paid for a sit-down tasting with vegan Chef Joshua Solis, known as Chef Sol.

“We wanted to trust this wedding with someone who is a dedicated vegan chef, someone who is vegan, who lives that lifestyle,” Denis told us.

After the tasting, they thought they hired Chef Sol to cater their wedding. But the proposal was sent from a woman who was also at the tasting identified as an assistant chef named Luz McCook. The proposal appears to also have been emailed to Chef Sol.

“It said ‘Proposal Accepted’ on there and the payment went through,” said Denis.

They ultimately paid over $18,000 dollars for food for the three day event.

Things started going wrong the night of the rehearsal dinner. The couple says the assistant chef was hours late.

“7:15 rolls around, dinner is not there. 7:30 rolls around, dinner is not there,” said Denis.

When she finally arrived, she told them Chef Sol wouldn’t be there for the wedding dinner.

“He advertises himself as this big chef and he gets a job to cook for 160 people, and he bails on us, without telling us he was bailing,” said Denis.

The couple says Chef Luz showed up on time for the wedding dinner but the food wasn’t vegan.

“You are messing with people’s lives because we are telling you people have dairy allergies and you just have no concern for their well–being,” said Spalding.

In a statement Chef Luz called the situation “unfortunate from the start.” She says Chef Sol hired her to handle some of the duties including collecting money from the couple but says she didn't know he "was going to sell out and that I would be responsible for carrying out his menu." She says she only found out he wouldn't be any of the wedding events the morning of the rehearsal"

She went on to say she sent $5,000 to Chef Sol, saying “I had to use my own money to cover last-minute food I had to buy.”

She also said Chef Sol had the money she needed to buy groceries, alcohol and pay the staff.

Staff like Chef Robinson Joseph who says after two months he is still waiting to be paid.

“We have tried to contact her via phone messages, text messages, emails, social media, nothing at all what-so-ever, so right now we are yet to get paid,” Joseph told us.

But Chef Sol says he wasn’t paid $5,000 and only paid to show up to the tasting.

“This is something very serious and I take my job very seriously. I simply don’t work like that, I never have,” he said. “She not only ruined my name because my name was attached to this because of the tasting, because I was the one who was referred the job, and I entrusted Luz. But I did not take the money, I did not do this work, this is not my work.”

Chef Luz says she refunded the full amount to the wedding couple, but they say they’ve gotten nothing.

“It’s just a feeling of just being robbed, violated, taken advantage of,” said Spalding.

They tell us they want their money back and have disputed the charges with their credit card company. They are awaiting results of that company’s investigation.

“We are hardworking people, this is not play money that we can just throw around. This could be used for other things,” said Spalding.

It’s too late for Craig and Krystal, but there is insurance to prepare for the worst going wrong at a wedding.

“Because you do not always know what is happening unfortunately,” Patty Spiers with Every Last Detail told us.

Spiers has planned weddings for 20 years and she says every once in a while a problem pops up.

It’s why she recommends wedding insurance to her clients.

“I’ve had success having my couples do that. Just in case. Just in case,” said Spiers.

Wedsafe, a company that sells wedding insurance, said an event policy might cover postponement or cancellation for events out of the couple’s control. Things like medical emergencies, severe weather, or military deployment could be covered.

Some policies may even cover you if the bride or groom gets cold feet.

Wedding insurance claims can also help recover money couples pay to a vendor who doesn’t deliver.

Policies start around $75 and average around $200. Just like any insurance policies you should read the policy before signing to find out what is not covered.