KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s the most important day for many women’s lives: their wedding day. However, the dream day can become a nightmare for many when a vendor doesn’t come through.
Wedding DJ and administrative assistant of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association Ellen Crivellone has seen it all. She’s even DJed weddings where Gatlinburg catering company the Happy Pinecone Cafe didn’t come through on their promises.
“It was a situation where she was telling the bride that she would come and she was on her way and she told the wedding planner, and we got someone who showed up and they only had warm soup and lettuce and said the chef was coming and ended up not coming,” Crivellone said.
Dozens of brides across the country say they had similar experiences with that company, which is why Ellen wanted to bring more attention to the wedding association. She wants brides to be aware of another resource to vet the vendors working their weddings. She knows situations like this aren’t exclusive to catering companies.
“My husband and I are both DJs and we run our DJ company, and we’ve had a minimum … 7 calls this year of DJs that are just cancelling either the day before, the day of, or even the week of weddings with the bride,” Crivellone said.
After the fallout from the sudden closing of the Happy Pinecone Cafe, Ellen wanted to help brides avoid experiences like that, and show that that business does not represent all Gatlinburg businesses. She knows she can’t take back the damage that was done, but she can spread the word about the SMWA.
“The wedding association is a nonprofit business,” Crivellone said. “We promote weddings and events in our area. And it’s just trying to make an awareness that there is an association here that’s here to support local, as well as destination, brides.”
Every business in the group is a local wedding vendor. Everyone must pay a yearly membership and meet a specific criteria to be admitted.
“We know by working together who’s helping the brides the way they should and who’s not,” Crivellone said.
Ellen is hoping this can be another tool brides can use to triple check their vendors before the big day, and hopefully prevent more chaos. The Happy Pinecone Café did not have a membership with the SMWA. They also were not registered with the Better Business Bureau.
“Reach out to the chamber of commerce if nothing else of the area you’re getting married in,” Crivellone said. “If you’re getting married locally by all means check out the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce. They all know weddings in the area, they also know the smoky mountain wedding association.”