5 On Your Side

Two weddings, tornado don't mix

Posted May 5, 2011

— Anyone who got married in downtown Raleigh on April 16 probably has a story to tell.

Think about it. It's your wedding day. You've planned for more than a year. You've paid a lot of money. And it all turns upside down. Shane and Chasidy Rader as they try to salvage anything worth saving. Raleigh storm photos

Two couples who went through it contacted 5 on Your Side for help.

Both know their situations are nothing compared to what people who lost their homes are going through, but they're in a situation none the less.

Quinci Duncan was right in the middle of the storm, crouched in the basement of All Saints Church.

The sanctuary windows shattered. "There was glass everywhere,” Duncan said. “It was across the whole room."

Only blocks away, Abby and Nam Nguyen arrived at the Marbles Kid's Museum right after the storm blew through.

“We're praying for the power to come back on," Nam said.

With only diminishing daylight and candles for lighting, the couples made the best of it.

The Duncans even posed for a less than typical Kodak wedding moment in front of a huge uprooted tree.  

With no air conditioning, the Nguyens made unexpected use of fans intended as a cultural guest favor.

"We're just thinking it will be a cute giveaway. We turn around at our ceremony and every guest was fanning themselves,” Abby Nguyen said.

But soon after their receptions got going, both groups were told to evacuate the buildings for safety reasons.

As their caterers, DJs and guests worked to move the parties to new locations miles away, Duncan immediately called J&L Carriage to cancel a pre-paid ride to their downtown hotel set for later that night.

“I said we got evacuated from Artspace," Duncan said. “We can't do the horse and carriage. She said, 'You should have called me earlier.'"

Tornado complicates weddings for Raleigh couples Tornado complicates weddings for Raleigh couples

Duncan and the wife of the owner, Leslie Massey, went back and forth in a couple of phone calls. “They didn't want to work with us,” Duncan said. “It was just 'no, no no.'"

Duncan considered trying to get back to Artspace later that night to take the ride, but it didn't make sense.

“There were no lights,” Duncan said. “There were power lines down, there were trees everywhere."

So, when she returned from her honeymoon, she called J&L again, hoping to at least get back the $40 tip she prepaid. After saying she had to “check with the owner,” Massey eventually agreed. But when Duncan’s card still wasn't credited after a week, she contacted 5 on Your Side.

The Nguyens e-mailed after they asked Marbles Museum to refund part of the $1,800 rental fee, since they never had power and had to leave halfway through the allotted time.

"They said they wouldn't do anything for us," Nguyen said.

When we called Marbles, Marketing Director Katie Burgwyn told us the Nguyens had an "opportunity to call off the wedding" and that the museum had already paid for event staff, security and porters. She said the museum "bent over backward for the couple," but she then agreed to pro-rate the hours the couple used the facility, and refund $675!

“I think it's only fair to get some kind of compensation," Nguyen said.

When we called J&L about the Duncans, Leslie Massey told us that Quincy Duncan “was as nice as can be” when she called to cancel, but that it was loud in the background and difficult to hear her. She also said her husband "risked his life' to be downtown for the Duncans, as well as at two earlier rides nearby. She said loading the horses and carriage is "a lot of work." But J & L agreed to refund $140 - half of the cost of the ride and the entire tip.

Duncan is happy with that.

“We just feel really blessed that we’re okay, our families are okay, all of our friends are okay, and we got married," Duncan said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jillibean101 May 12, 2011

    If by "making the best of it" means cashing in on a tragedy, then I guess that's what they're doing. These vendors didn't bring on the tornadoes, so why should they offer partial refunds? That's ridiculous. The bride and groom need to thank their lucky stars that they are safe and unharmed and move on.

  • carriages5 May 11, 2011

    To finish this last comment J&L Carriage called her back and she gave a card number that was not used for the tip. That is what caused the delay that can be proven. J&L Carriage did everything ask of them. We did not do anything to this bride and groom it was a bad situation for everyone, not just her.

  • carriages5 May 11, 2011

    Sounds like the bride can't remember what she told the reporter. She told the reporter it was to dangerous to go back to the carriage now she said the carriage didn't show. which is it? On the night in question, Ms. Duncan called to tell J&L Carriage that the reception had moved and could we go over to Atlantic Av. She was told it may cost extra to move it and we were not sure if we could be there by 11:00. at that point Ms.Duncan said go on over to Art Space and they would arrive to the carriage at 11:00. Ms. Duncan called at 11:00 to say they just were not coming. So that carriage you wanted your money back for was sitting where you told us to put it. Then she asked for the tip back and all we wanted was the credit card it was put on. She said she would rather have a check because the card belonged to her mother and she thought it was canceled. we told her it had to be put back on that card, no check. j&l carriage called her back and she gave us a card number that was not used for th

  • LuvLivingInCary May 10, 2011

    articles like this i hate. this all could have been avoided with event insurance. this article does not tell the story that the event had already been setup and at least the food prep was done. this bride just sat down after the elaborate carribian honeymoon and decided to see where they could get money back so they could pay all the bills.

    i bet the marbles muzeum will have a clause put in their contract from now on they are not responsible for event cancellations due to mother nature or require event insurance. all future brides can tip their hat to this bride and groom.

  • joaniebolan May 9, 2011

    how many people get renters insurance!! Please

  • kwelliot5 May 6, 2011

    get event insurance!!!

  • b5fan May 6, 2011

    Marbles said the couple "Had an opportunity to call off the wedding"...how far in advance should the couple have known about the tornadoes...rediculous!