Randy Wright will treasure the memory of dancing with his newlywed daughter Hannah, but he'd rather forget how hundreds of sweat-drenched guests began walking out, half an hour into the wedding reception.
"She was very upset at first and very uncomfortable," he said. "She eventually just pulled through it, because there was nothing we could do."
The ceremony was vintage inspired, so the Wright family opted to host the reception at the historic Albert Pike Hotel, partnering with Catering Creations.
"The building had been renovated, it was going to be beautiful," Wright said. "We made sure to ask them if the air conditioning was going to be an issue because the wedding would be in May. They said it was no problem."
Wright never suspected they would celebrate without modern amenities, but when they arrived to the reception hall all of the air conditioners were out of order. According to staff, the conditioners had been out the entire week, being worked on that very day, but the wedding party was never notified.
"It was a hot sweaty gym is what t was," he said. "They didn't let us know anything. Had they just told us, we could have gotten fans. I had paid so much for the wedding at that point, I would have rented the fans, paid for them myself."
"I felt so sorry for her [Hannah] because it was a night of fun," said guest Larry Buttram. "She only gets one reception and it was ruined by these people"
Buttram, a close family friend, was among the guests who bailed before the big night was over. His 80-year-old mother struggled to stay cool, but they finally had to throw in the towel.
"I had to get her out of the building it was to the point I was concerned about the heat because of her health," he said. "I don't know how hot it was that day, but it was cooler outside than inside."
The bride, still too upset to speak to us on camera about the heat wave wedding bash. And her father is still finding it hard to swallow a $7,000 price tag for a wilting wedding cake, shellfish swimming in puddled pools, and a facility that didn't come stocked with even toilet paper in the powder rooms.
"You watch these reality television shows and see these great weddings," he said. "And this was not how it was supposed to be. The wedding cake should have been standing up. We shouldn't have been rushing to cut the cake before it fell to the floor."
"It was so hot, you actually got jealous of the shrimp," Buttram said. "People were taking off whatever clothing they could to stay cool, and there just was no being comfortable in that place."
According to Wright, the company has refused to return his calls after agreeing they botched the big day.
"We called them the following Tuesday, because Monday was Memorial Day. We told them we expected something to be done, they agreed," Wright said. "But now they won't return our calls, emails, nothing."
Left with little recourse to deal with a company he believes is simply practicing bad business, Wright filed a case in small claims court, hoping to hold the company responsible.
"I want an answer and if I can't get it, maybe a judge can," he said. "It's not something I ever wanted it to come to, but I don't feel like I have any other choice."
Wright's recommending anyone shelling out big bucks and expecting a perfect big day: get everything in writing down to the last detail.
"Get it in writing, that the company has to make sure the facilities are adequate. Make sure they have air conditioning and all of those details, and make sure there's a clause for you to be compensated if they don't follow through. Those aren't details you would normally think you'd have to include."
KARK attempted to contact Catering Creations multiple times by phone. We also emailed the company, and dropped by Albert Pike Hotel where the listed phone number traces back to, however, we have not been able to get a response from the company.
The Better Business Bureau has no listed reviews for Catering Creations. The Arkansas Secretary of State's website has one listing for a company of that name, which names the same person as the operating agent as the person who authors the company blog on Catering Creations' website. However, the business status as a domestic for profit business, according to the Secretary of State, has been revoked.