Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Help Me Howard: Wedding Day Disaster
It's meant to be memorable, but not like this. One couple's wedding day disaster started with a make-up artist's mistake and ended with a big bill. So the newlyweds got hitched to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- John and Brooke may have met during art, but from that day on, its been all chemistry.
John Byrne: "We have the same goals. We bring out the best in each other."
Fast forward five years to their wedding day at a Fort Lauderdale hotel.
Brooke Byrne: "There are so many details. You want everything to be perfect and you have to make sure everything is right."
And everything was going perfectly in the hotel's presidential suite.
Brooke Byrne: "My bridesmaids and I were waiting, we were all getting ready, enjoying a glass of champagne, hanging out."
Then the make-up artist got his lamp too close to a sprinkler head.
Brooke Byrne: "My eyes are closed and something blew up in my face, and I thought it was glass and I opened my eyes and I realized that there was water going everywhere."
The heat from the make-up lamp not only activated the sprinklers, it set off the fire alarm, sending thousands of gallons of water rushing at the blushing bride and her bridesmaids.
Brooke Byrne: "There was water everywhere and nobody can use the elevator to get downstairs because the fire alarm is going off. There are fire trucks outside, and this is for our wedding?"
By the time the water shut down John arrived at the hotel and saw his bride-to-be in a way he never wants to see her again.
John Byrne: "She was walking around in the lobby in like a robe, looked like a zombie."
But give Brooke credit. Somehow or another she pulled herself together, and the wedding was memorable for the right reasons.
Brooke Byrne: "The wedding actually came out nice because I had a great crew."
John Byrne: "It was a lot of fun, we kept focus on what we were really doing, even though all the stress we had to put behind us."
They loved their honeymoon. They loved their new life together, but a few months later that wet wedding day came back to haunt them.
John Byrne: "The purpose of this letter is to request reimbursement for our clients losses in the amount of $145,973.76."
The hotel's insurance company was coming after the Byrnes claiming since they hired the make-up artist, they were responsible for the nearly $146,000 to repair the hotel.
Brooke Byrne: "Terrified, we don't have any money. We don't own a house, we are renting, we have our cars that aren't even paid off, we have student loans, we are both in school, he can't even work full time right now."
They don't own much and if they end up having to pay $146,000 they may never own anything.
Brooke Byrne: "I'll cry, I don't know what we would do."
All because of a make-up artist who made a mistake.
Brooke Byrne: "An insurance company as big as they are that has so much money to cover an entire hotel chain, is coming after two college students that chose their hotel to get married in."
But is the couple responsible for the damage the make-up artist they hired caused...Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "I have read the contract the couple signed with the hotel and it clearly says that if you bring in your own people and they damage the hotel, you can be held responsible, especially if the person you hire, like a make-up artist doesn't have their own insurance."
When we called the hotel's insurance company to ask why they were going after the Byrnes and not the make-up artist, their lawyer told us, "We will be pursuing the make-up artist as well, and understand, we are not in suit yet."
A few days later, Brooke and John got this letter in the mail. It read, "The parties referenced in my previous letter have elected to close this matter as related to you." Translation, the Byrnes do not owe the insurance company any money at all.
Howard Finkelstein: "When you rent something, whether it's a hotel room for the night or a banquet hall for an event, if someone damages the property you could be held responsible. In this case the make-up artist is at fault, but if the insurance company can't collect from him they could have gone after the newlyweds. Thankfully, they chose not to.
The Byrnes are now off the hook. That $146,000 dollar repair bill, behind them and their future, in front of them.
Brooke Byrne: "We are incredibly happy now. We actually feel that we have a future and we don't have to think about our wedding day as terrifying, and we are incredibly happy. I can't even explain to you."
Patrick Fraser: "So if you are having an event should you give yourself a headache worrying about getting slapped with a big bill like the Byrnes, no. If a guest trips, falls and shatters a window, that's an accident and you aren't responsible. For you or them to be liable there has to be negligence, like sticking a hot make-up lamp too close to a sprinkler. In other words enjoy the event. Odds are nothing is gonna happen.
A sprinkling of trouble set off a flood of frustration? Don't sound the alarm, contact us. We'll bake up a proposal that we hope will take the cake. With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser Seven news.