N.C. Videographer Abandons Wedding When He Sees Two Brides

Tuesday April 27, 2021

A Charlotte, N.C. videographer was hired by a lesbian couple to record their wedding, but, immediately prior to the ceremony, he left without explanation, reported the Charlotte News & Observer.

"Bride Clarissa Templeton said Seth Curl's sudden departure — without speaking to anyone at the event — was devastating to her and her now wife, Teegan Bullock Templeton," writes the News & Observer. "It cast a pall over their once-in-a-lifetime moment and left them with no professional footage of their vows, though they had paid in full for the service."

When Tolman Media, the international firm that contracted Curl for the wedding, still hadn't refunded the couple's payment 11 days later, "Templeton posted about the incident on social media, generating a firestorm of angry comments about LGBTQ discrimination."

"There is no way to sugarcoat it," Templeton said according to the News & Observer. "It honestly ruined the entire day, and my wife and I were very depressed on our seven-hour drive to Florida for our honeymoon. We didn't even eat at our own wedding."

"Clarissa Templeton told Insider she found Tolman Media on Instagram and booked their services in June 2020 for their wedding day on April 3," reported The Insider. "The Tolman Media branch in South Carolina contracted a videographer who reached out to the couple via email a month before the wedding to confirm his services and introduce himself."

She and her wife had carefully curated their wedding, "finding LGBTQ-friendly businesses and as she talked to their representatives, made sure they knew she was planning a same-sex wedding," reported the News & Observer.

When Templeton reached out to Tolman's local representative in May, 2020, she made sure the company understood that hers would be a same-sex wedding and was told it wouldn't be a problem. The couple paid 1,086.50 for four hours' coverage of the wedding beforehand. In February, she received an email saying from videographer Seth Curl confirming he would be filming their event. Her replies included a profile picture of the couple in an affectionate moment, but Curl never raised any objection.

On the day of the ceremony, Templeton noticed Curl was present early on, but found him missing closer to the time of the vows. "I didn't see him, and I started to panic in my mind," Templeton recalled. "I snapped myself out of it and told myself, 'Maybe he had some technical difficulties. Maybe he went to the car to get something.' Then I shut it off in my head. I made myself be present, because I knew I wasn't going to get this moment again."

What she didn't know was that Curl had left the wedding as soon as he saw that it involved two brides. The wedding planner reached out to Curl to find out what was going on. "Behind the scenes, Ashley Hansen, the Templetons' wedding planner, had called the videographer when she couldn't find him," the Insider reported. "She said during the phone call he told her he left because 'of his faith and that he didn't feel comfortable because it's a same-sex marriage,"'Hansen said."

When she learned that Curl had left the event, Templeton broke down crying, the Insider added. "I felt terrible, heartbroken, and like my heart was ripped out of my chest," Templeton said. "We didn't even eat at our own reception. I honestly wanted the entire day to be over. I didn't want to be there anymore, and neither did Teegan."

She reached out to Tolman Media for compensation, but felt the company was dodging her phone calls. "She then decided to post her story on Facebook, writing about her experience with the videographer and the company," wrote the Insider.

"When you have a videographer BAIL on a wedding because of two females getting married, not JUST the day of but an HOUR before it STARTED without a WORD to ANYONE that is a BIG deal," Clarissa wrote in her Facebook post on April 14. "You get on it and you FIX the problem as fast as you can."

Once the post went viral, Clarissa said the company refunded her in full and told her the videographer would no longer be working with Tolman Media. Ben Hillyard, the company's CEO issued told the Insider: "We at Tolman Media hold discrimination and discriminatory behavior as a very serious offense against individuals. We do not tolerate it within our organization, Tolman Media is not this videographer. The opinions and beliefs of this videographer do not represent our beliefs or our track record in any way shape or form."