Couple left in limbo after paying thousands for dream wedding
Published Monday, November 19, 2018 1:50PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 19, 2018 2:23PM EST
A Canadian couple’s dream destination wedding has turned into a nightmare after they say their travel agent left them in limbo just weeks before their big day.
Rhys Herle and Ashley Thengs, who plan to tie the knot on Dec. 3, and their guests have paid tens of thousands of dollars for flights and accommodation at the Royalton Riviera in Cancun, Mexico.
The pair, from Camrose, Alta., say they don’t know where their money is, despite having left numerous messages for agent Shez Khan of travel website Beachvows.ca, which promises to help plan a ‘unique destination wedding experience.’
“I'm pretty sure the exact words were ‘I can't wait to give you a stress-free wedding’,” Rhys told CTV News.
“Two weeks before a wedding you should all be planning the excursions you're going to be going on together, finishing shopping, whatever you got do. But now everyone is holding on to their pennies.”
Herle’s suspicions were raised when he called low-cost airline Sunwing on Nov. 1, 30 days ahead of their planned departure date. Asking where their itineraries were, he was told his travel agent was 40 days late on payment.
Travel operator Sunwing says it received a minimal deposit, not a full payment.
Thengs burst into tears as she described the heartache arising from the doubt around her big day, which is five years in the planning.
“I picked up my wedding dress, had to try it on, but in my mind I'm thinking ‘I don't know if I'm actually going to go or not’,” she told CTV Edmonton.
When contacted by CTV News, Khan said she gave the money to MK Voyages, a company she used to work for that she said should have paid Sunwing directly.
MK Voyages denies receiving any money from Khan and says that she has not been affiliated with the company for months.
Herle says he has been in contact with both MK-Voyages and Sunwing, adding that, until he sees proof, he’s convinced the money is with Khan.
Some 29 wedding guests have paid their deposits to Khan, with the cheapest room costing $2,045.
“Everyone's parents are stressed, everyone's cousins, friends of ours,” Herle said.
“And we have to answer for it. You're always stressed, you're losing sleep.”
The couple booked through Khan at the start of the year, convinced by the website and positive reviews, and were given until March 31 to pay the deposit.
But the couple now believe Khan took tens of thousands of dollars from them and has slowly started to drop contact.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Timm Bruch and Laine Mitchell