What was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives has been permanently tarnished for Queensland newlyweds Natasha and Ryan, who may never see the only photos taken on their wedding day.
They paid $500 to Flawless Photography, operated by Rikky-Leigh Johnson, to capture special moments for three hours of their big day on August 13, but three months later they still have nothing to show.
The couple found themselves locked in a nasty feud with Ms Johnson in the weeks after their wedding, during which they said their previously close relationship with her had ‘completely changed’.
“It was like she didn’t care,” Natasha, who only wanted to share her first name, told news.com.au.
Natasha and Ryan wanted the guests to fully experience their ceremony, so they asked that the phones not be used – a request they now wished they could go back on.
“We asked the celebrant to tell everyone to turn off their phones,” Ryan said.
“But now we don’t even have backup photos of guests,” Natasha added.
“She upset me to such an extent that I don’t even like to talk about my marriage anymore.”
Natasha and Ms Johnson before the wedding struck up what the bride thought was a close friendship.
Ms Johnson accepted to MC the couple’s reception as a favor for them, and also did a morning photo shoot of the bride getting ready for free.
However, since the relationship soured, Ms Johnson has demanded she be paid $500 for work she had originally agreed to do ‘as a friend’.
Red flags first emerged slowly as the wedding approached, when the couple claimed Ms Johnson had failed to show up for meetings to discuss the style of photos she was going to take.
They finally had a 30-minute phone call a few days before the wedding, during which Ms Johnson assured Natasha that she would have no trouble taking pictures in her favorite style.
When the day arrived however, the couple became concerned.
“She was all over the place, she didn’t allocate her time properly,” Natasha said.
The couple say Ms Johnson did not start taking photos of the couple until there were just 20 minutes left of the three hours they hired her for.
Afterward, she sent the couple some “raw” photos and promised she’d have the rest ready for delivery within eight to 10 weeks.
It wasn’t long before Ms Johnson told the couple she could take 12 weeks and then extended again to 13, which topped November 14.
When the long wait was over and the couple still had nothing, they pressed her to find out why – a decision that seemed to enrage Ms Johnson beyond what they could have expected.
“It was excuse after excuse and then she got mean and said she gave me a really low rate and that I shouldn’t be so bossy and rude asking for my pictures all the time,” Natasha said. .
After posting an unflattering review of the business on a local Facebook page, the couple began receiving messages from Ms Johnson.
“Well, thanks for posting everything else publicly….Show what kind of people you are!!!! Expect some people to show up at your house and return the favor!!!” a message sent by Ms Johnson’s phone, shared with news.com.au, read.
Facebook messages sent to Natasha had a similar theme.
“It’s on you guys because you posted publicly…they were on your behalf,” one read.
“Oh and don’t forget the other photos and videos I took for you as well.
“So if you want your photos and all of this done, delete all posts. The more Ryan posts, the longer it delays.
Ms Johnson was further upset when Natasha asked her to stop contacting her unless it was to hand over the wedding photos.
“F*** YOU TWO!!!!” part of another rude message read.
“You won’t get anything from me. All my other beautiful clients will get their images, but you, no fucking way.
While the couple had since received several kind offers from the community to recreate the experience and take new photos, they said it wouldn’t be the same family who flew in from England for the day.
“Even if we paid to do a fake wedding photo shoot, it won’t be the same, I won’t look like myself, and the parents won’t come back for a fake photo shoot,” Natasha said.
“I trusted her and let her be part of my day, and I trusted her to take the most important photos, and she basically took our money, which we work very hard for.
“She reminded me of our wedding with a dark cloud over it. When I think of our wedding, the first thing that comes to mind is Rikky-Leigh.
When called by news.com.au, Ms Johnson’s partner answered the phone but quickly hung up.
She declined multiple requests for comment via email, Facebook, phone and Instagram.
A Queensland Police Service spokesperson told news.com.au it was investigating.
“Police have received a complaint regarding allegations referenced, investigations are ongoing and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further,” they said.