Wedding planner unravels, leaving brides and grooms in dire straits

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SPRING HILL, Kan. -- As any bride can tell you, it's a lot of work planning what will most likely be the biggest party you'll ever throw. That is why Amity Webb hired a wedding planner for her August nuptials, but she said that decision turned out to be her biggest mistake.

"I'm going through this stressing with her and planning a wedding -- which should be the best day of my life and all I can think of is this woman and how's she ruined my day and took my savings," said Webb of Spring Hill.

Webb and her fiancée hired Lakeen Sumner, owner of Enchanting Moments Weddings and Events in Johnson County, Kansas, last year. Webb said that for the price of $600 she was promised unlimited help obtaining vendors, as well as personal consultation on nearly every aspect of her wedding. But after an initial meeting with the wedding planner, Webb said she rarely heard from her despite trying to reach her by email, text and phone.

Across the state line in Missouri, another young couple was equally frustrated with the same wedding planner.

"It's pretty much the same story," said groom Orrin Barlow. "We tried to get a hold of her, get in contact with her. She would go missing for two or three weeks."

But the breaking point was when she failed to attend a pre-arranged meeting with their wedding cake designer. Barlow recalled the text he received from Sumner the day of the meeting, telling him she wasn't going to be able to attend.

"I said `why not? You told us this is the day that would work for you?'"

Barlow said Sumner told him she had another wedding to attend to that day.

He said that was just one of dozens of excuses he and his fiancée had heard.

Both couples fired Sumner and demanded a refund. Neither have seen a dime, although Sumner agreed in writing to refund Amit Webb and her fiancée $150 last September. That's why both called FOX 4 Problem Solvers for help.

Problem Solvers paid a visit to Sumner's Olathe home where her now closed business was based. No one was home. But Sumner later called us and adamantly denied that she had failed to provide the services outlined in her contract.

What about that $150 refund that should have been paid six months ago? Sumner said she's been so busy she hadn't had time to mail it, but would do so this week. Two days later, Webb did receive a money order in the mail for $150.

As far as the other couple's money, Sumner said her contract has a clear no refund policy. Problem Solvers asked attorney Scott Shachtman to review the contract, which also requires 100 percent of the money upfront.

"Anytime anyone is telling you 'pay me all the money upfront and you can never get that money back even if the contract is canceled whether I cancel it or you cancel it,' that is simply not fair," Shachtman said.

In fact, he said the contract is so one-sided it would most likely be difficult to enforce if challenged in court. He cautioned wedding couples to never agree to total payment in advance. He said instead make payments as services are provided.

Orrin and his fiancée have since hired a new wedding problem for their July wedding. They say they haven't had a single problem. However, Webb has no money left in her budget for that service. And that's a problem wedding planner Nicole Weston, who owns Events by TN Weston, wanted to solve.

Weston offered her services free of charge to a very grateful Webb so that she won't be throwing the biggest party of her life without a professional by her side.

Although their wedding day planning may now be a solved, both couples are still so unhappy with Sumner and her company they are filing complaints with the Johnson County District Attorney's Office.