EADS, Tenn. — Being engaged is a special time in life, but also can be stressful when planning a wedding. Sarah Houston learned that firsthand; she and her fiance Marvin have been engaged for five years.
“We had to make sure it’s right and it’s just right,” she said.
They finally planned to make it official in 2021 at the Tuscan Ridge Wedding and Event Venue in Eads.
“We loved what we saw. We put a deposit on it right away,” she said.
The deposit was $5,000. But a year and a half later, the pandemic and other issues delayed her plans.
The week after she made her final payment, she took some vendors to scope out Tuscan Ridge. She was shocked by the state of the property.
“The lining on the side was coming off. The pool was murky. The venue didn’t have any air and most of all the property manager wasn’t there at all,” she said.
Over time, Tuscan Ridge also went through multiple managers who gave her conflicting stories. One said she couldn’t do a walk-through before the event because of repairs to the building. As an apology, they offered her a $1,200 discount, which she accepted.
But as her September wedding date got closer, she had a bad feeling. She decided she didn’t want to have her wedding there anymore.
“Enough was enough. After two contracts and four managers I decided to pull out,” she said.
She did have a problem: according to her contract, her deposit was non-refundable. But she also had multiple contracts given to her by the different managers, with some conflicting information.
When she emailed with venue owner Dr. Kathryn Sneed, she got a response saying “A check with the receipt of the cancellation/refund amount… will be mailed within 14 days of this email.”
But a month went by and Houston checked the mailbox every day. She never got a check.
“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I can’t even get married unless I have this money,” Houston said.
When the Problem Solvers tried to contact the venue to get an update on Houston’s case, no one responded to our emails. When we called the business, the line was disconnected.
As a last resort, we went to the Eads location, where we found someone who identified himself as the horse farm manager. We asked to speak with a manager for the wedding venue.
“I don’t know who’s managing it right now,” the horse manager said.
All these delays meant Houston was running out of time. She needed her refund to help pay for a new location.
She took matters into her own hands by protesting outside the Collierville dental practice of venue owner Sneed.
“All I’m asking for is be a woman of her word. She told me she’d give me my money back. She hasn’t. So this is what we are doing. We’re going to be out here every day, every night, from Tuscan Ridge to the dentistry office to the spa,” she said of Sneed’s multiple business ventures.
The next day, the Problem Solvers heard from Sneed’s lawyer who said they were now trying to reach a resolution with Houston.
Soon after, the lawyer confirmed they’d reached a refund agreement for some of Houston’s money.