5 On Your Side

Catering company closes, leaves brides without deposits

Posted May 2, 2012
Updated May 3, 2012

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— Planning a wedding is stressful and expensive.

For 12 area couples, things unexpectedly got a lot more hectic when their caterer shut down. Their deposits, totaling tens of thousands of dollars, are likely gone.

"I got off the phone and I was just in tears," said Kristi Smith of Wake Forest.

When the phone rang in March, the news was devastating.

"She wanted to ask me if I was sitting," said Smith. "And I was like oh no, something's not right here."

Heather Irvin, the owner of Premiere Catering and Events in Raleigh, called to tell Kristi she was going out of business and wouldn't be catering her June wedding.

Smith says she's heard nothing but wonderful things about Irvin, that all of her vendors highly recommended her. They even met two weeks before Irvin pulled the plug, "and she seemed completely fine, everything was great, we were on track," said Smith.

Behind the scenes, things were unraveling at Premiere Catering. Kristi Smith's $8,000 deposit was gone.

Smith and her fiance, John Parr, are just one of at least 12 couples left hanging.

John and Nina Gilroy of Raleigh lost $5,000 for their daughter's wedding. Catering company goes out of business, doesn't return deposits Catering company closes, leaves brides without deposits

Lora Nemeth and her fiance, Nicholas Kaylor, lost $4,500. They got the news two months before their wedding.

"How are we going to make this work, financially," wondered Nemeth. "How are we going to catch up to where we should be?"

Beyond the food, Premiere Catering was also supposed to order their wedding cake and handle the flowers.

Nemeth talked with Heather Irvin. "She was like, 'I have $1,500 put aside for your floral deposit'" said Nemeth. "And I was like 'great, could you put that in the mail for us?'" said Nemeth. "She said yes, that she would," added Nemeth. "That was in March, and the check has not shown up."

As for the rest of their $4,500 dollar deposit? "I asked her to at least have the decency to tell me what she spent the money on," said Nemeth of Irvin. "She said she spent it on gas and electric bills, and stuff like that."

5 On Your Side contacted owner Heather Irvin. She told us she regrets what happened, that the company is "using all available means to address the concerns of its creditors."

She also asked her clients to bear with them a little longer as they work toward that goal.

Irvin told some of her clients she would be selling off equipment.

For now, the company's website is still up, and her Raleigh office shows little sign of trouble.

"You know, it was a nice building, it was a nice website. Never would I ever expect anything like this would ever happen," said Nemeth.

"It's a lot of money from all those brides that has gone somewhere," said Smith. "I'd love to know where that money has gone."

In an e-mail to WRAL, Irvin said she used the money for businesses expenses such as rent and overhead. She asked clients for 50 percent deposits.

5 On Your Side contacted a number of caterers and deposit amounts vary widely, though most were less than 50 percent – some only required 10 percent deposits. 5 On Your Side reporter Monica Laliberte recommends customers should negotiate the amount, and make that figure part of their selection process. Also, Laliberte says pay with a credit card, which can provide at least some protection.

The families 5 On Your Side heard from have all found new caterers and are moving forward with their weddings; some are considering legal action.

11 Comments

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  • superman May 4, 2012

    If they are bankrupt not much chance of getting any money back. If they had money they would still be in business.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter May 4, 2012

    What a shame.. That is a LOT of money to have stolen. I sure hope that the catering business will give them all of their money back.

  • LuvLivingInCary May 3, 2012

    this makes good sensational news but the fact of the matter is some judge will get the final say so of who get's money back. there is probably a long list of debtors and the poor bride will never see anything CAUSE THE LAWYERS ALWAYS GET PAID FIRST.

  • superman May 3, 2012

    Our daughter was married several years ago. We had an outdoor late afternoon wedding and reception at a very nice local hotel. After the wedding when I paid they told me that they had not used all the punch and some other items. They not only refunded the money for the punch but also packed up the left over food into nice containers. They also gave us six complimentary rooms. Since it was an outside wedding they also said they we would be able to use our choice of ballrooms in the event of rain or bad weather. Hotels are not likely to close and keep your money.

  • kikinc May 3, 2012

    My deposit was $600, but we are having our reception at a Raleigh restaurant because we don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Spending the equivalent of a down payment on a house or more for a wedding is silly.

    Purchase wedding insurance. It covers you if anything goes wrong.

  • PaintedTaz May 3, 2012

    Maybe some other local catering companies will hear about this and step up with some donations? I'm sure anything would be appreciated by the brides (and families) that lost their deposit money.

  • NiceNSmooth May 3, 2012

    Cheating? I call that criminal.

    As for what to do about the wedding? make it a potluck. Explain to the guests and I'm sure they'll understand. Tacky? Not tacky when it is on the verge of an emergency situation ... a village should come together to help out.

    lol...that is not an emergency situation... if you cant afford the food you dont need that big of a wedding

  • thefensk May 3, 2012

    Cheating? I call that criminal.

    As for what to do about the wedding? make it a potluck. Explain to the guests and I'm sure they'll understand. Tacky? Not tacky when it is on the verge of an emergency situation ... a village should come together to help out.

  • davidgnews May 3, 2012

    You have to watch catering companies, as you never know what's going to happen. We had one (long out of business now) at our wedding that cheated us on 20 dinners.

    There may be enough good ones in Raleigh to count on one hand.

  • justinnc3 May 3, 2012

    Why yes, it's very exclamatory!

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