Alexandra Mosier was standing at the alter in her mermaid-cut lace wedding gown when she began to suspect she'd been swindled. The Appleton, Wisconsin, videographer she'd hired should have clipped a hidden lavalier behind the white rose boutonniere of her soon-to-be husband's tux to capture audio from the ceremony, but as they stood across from each other at the altar, Mosier saw he wasn't mic'd up at all. Her heart sank. She'd spent months picking out the dress, curating a guest list, selecting floral arrangements, and finding vendors for her October 2018 nuptials. When the big day finally arrived, she was so preoccupied getting her hair and makeup done, that she hadn't noticed Scott Sockett, their videographer, hand't bothered to show up at all.
When Mosier spoke with Sockett via phone the next day, she says he didn't apologize or offer a good excuse. In fact, he seemed rather apathetic about ghosting her.
Mosier contacted a lawyer about pursuing a refund on her $1,600 deposit, and was shocked to discover she wasn't the only bride unhappy with Sockett's services. According to court records, since March 2017 at least eight other newlyweds in Wisconsin have taken him to small claims court in relation to his wedding business, which provided photography, videography, DJing, and photo booths. He's been ordered to pay at least $14,000 back to the alleged victims.
Mosier, 21, wants the money back, but far more upsetting is the fact she'll never have footage of her wedding. "It's heartbreaking," she says. "I wanted to have those moments on video, forever. Now I never will."
When Mosier first met Sockett in September 2018, she was wowed by his professionalism-and his prices. A wedding photographer can cost up to $10,000 and a videographer can costs around $5,000. Sockett's prices were much, much lower. The Appleton, Wisconsin, based businessman advertised almost unbelievable deals on his "Say I Do Wedding Services" and "MagicFocus Photography" Facebook page: two-for-one photography and video packages, free photo booths with a booking, and cheap uplighting rentals.
Sockett's low rates are also what drew Sarah Cox in. "Our wedding budget was pretty tight, so I was limited," Cox, 28, says. "I found this promotion and was so excited, because I was going to get my dream wedding and have it all documented."
She put down a $2,000 deposit to have Sockett photograph and film her September 2018 wedding. There were no red flags, Cox says, until he didn't show up. As she was getting her hair done, she says Sockett sent her a text claiming to have undergone last-minute emergency surgery. He told her he was sending a replacement photographer. That replacement never showed up.
Cox sobbed. She'd couldn't afford to book another photographer so last minute. "I have no images of rings, no pictures of vow books or jewelry or my shoes from my wedding," she says. "Nothing of me getting ready or my mom helping me into my dress. I remember these moments, of course, but I have no pictures."
Cox shared her experience in the popular Facebook group "that's it, I'm wedding shaming," and was immediately contacted by another bride, who added her to a private Facebook group called "Defrauded by Scott Sockett."
More than a dozen newlyweds in the Midwest belong to the group. Their accusations vary slightly. In some instances, they allege Sockett took pictures, but never delivered them. Other times, they say he didn't show up at all. One bride says she got her pictures, but they were poorly edited and filtered with sepia tones.
Heather Trimm, 33, says Sockett sent her footage from her November 2017 wedding-only it contained clips from a different wedding. "It was poor quality, didn't include my first look, wedding party, or family photo time, or ceremony," she says. "It does, however, include several minutes of footage from two weddings that aren't mine."
She filed a small claims case against Sockett in December 2018, and won by default when he didn't show up. She still hasn't received the $1,925 awarded to her by the judge.
"He is...taking advantage of people on one of the most significant days of their lives," Trimm says. "He is not just taking people’s money, he is taking documentation of their memories and some of their faith in humanity."
Cox, who also won her claim by default, says at this point she doesn't "care about the money."
"I would love to have that $2,000, of course, but we never got photographs from this monumental day," she says. "I just really don’t want him to do this to anyone else."
When reached via phone, Sockett says he has decided to shutter his wedding business. He "feels horrible" about his unhappy clients, but says many of the complaints lodged against him are for missing refunds due to cancellations and not for failures to deliver promised services. He says he is applying for second jobs in order to pay people back.
"If we didn't show up [to a wedding], it was because we had an issue," he says. "One bad thing happened, and then it spread across the Internet and one on top of the other cancelled and cancelled, and now I don't have $10,000 banked to [pay people back]."
The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin has been actively investigating Say I Do Wedding Services since last May. There are a dozen complaints on the BBB website ranging from lost wedding videos to wedding photographers failing to show up. Since February 2018, the BBB has received 1,994 inquiries about Sockett and referred their findings to the Wisconsin Attorney General's office Consumer Protection Unit. The state's Bureau of consumer protection confirms they've received four complaints about Say I Do in the last two years.
"The BBB does not have authority to shut down a business," Wisconsin BBB investigations director Lisa Schiller says. "The BBB does however work closely and regularly with various local and national law enforcement agencies and does refer cases it feels necessary."
Sockett says the complaints lodged against him are circumstantial and he blames them on a variety of things, including unreliable employees and faulty vehicles. "Still, that all goes on me. It's my business and I'm responsible for that," he says.
Taylor MacMiller counts herself lucky. Two months after signing a contract with Sockett through MagicFocus Photography in October 2018, she stumbled upon several negative reviews for Say I Do Wedding Services and realized that he ran both companies. MacMiller cancelled their contract and, per their agreement, should have received a 50 percent refund. MacMiller still hasn't gotten any money back from him, but feels grateful she could book someone new in time for her May wedding.
"It is truly heartbreaking to learn...how many individuals didn’t even have someone there to photograph their wedding," she says. "I hope one day we can all put an end to this."
('You Might Also Like',)