Groom Sues Wedding Photographer Even Though Wedding Ended In Divorce
Of all the many things that make up a wedding, few are more important than the photographs.
Long after the last of the cake has grown stale and the tossed bouquet has wilted, the photos endure, stirring memories and providing vivid proof that the day of one’s dreams took place.
So it is not particularly surprising that one groom, disappointed with his wedding photos, decided to sue. The photographers had missed the last dance and the bouquet toss, the groom, Todd J. Remis of Manhattan, said.
But what is striking, said the studio that took the pictures, is that Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue. And not only has Mr. Remis demanded to be repaid the $4,100 cost of the photography, he also wants $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer.
Re-enacting the wedding may pose a particular challenge, the studio pointed out, because the couple divorced and the bride is believed to have moved back to her native Latvia.
Although Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of State Supreme Court in Manhattan dismissed most of the grounds for the lawsuit, like the “infliction of emotional distress,” she has allowed the case to proceed to determine whether there was indeed a breach of contract. But she displayed a good deal of amusement about the lawsuit’s purpose in an opinion in January that quoted lyrics from the Barbra Streisand classic “The Way We Were.”
“This is a case in which it appears that the ‘misty watercolor memories’ and the ‘scattered pictures of the smiles … left behind’ at the wedding were more important than the real thing,” the judge wrote. “Although the marriage did not last, plaintiff’s fury over the quality of the photographs and video continued on.”
This may explain why Mr. Remis’s marriage didn’t last very long:
In November 2003, Mr. Remis, an equity research analyst, and his fiancée, Milena Grzibovska, stepped into the H & H studio, which was then in Riverdale, met with Mr. Fried and signed a contract to have photographs and videotape taken of their wedding the next month — on Dec. 28 — for $4,100.
It was a small party, with fewer than 40 guests, at Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown. Photographs show a cheerful bride and groom surrounded by delighted relatives, including Ms. Grzibovska’s mother, Irina, and her sister Alina, who traveled from Latvia.
But a month after the wedding, when Mr. Remis returned to the studio to look over the proofs, he complained that the three-person crew had missed the last 15 minutes — the last dance and the bouquet toss. He noted in a deposition last July that the employees at H & H did not respond in a courtly fashion.
“I remember being yelled at more than I have ever been yelled at before,” Mr. Remis said.
In his lawsuit, he also complained that the photographs were “unacceptable as to color, lighting, poses, positioning” and that a video, which he had expected to record the wedding’s six hours, was only two hours long.
“I need to have the wedding recreated exactly as it was so that the remaining 15 percent of the wedding that was not shot can be shot,” he testified.
Mr. Fried, now 87, chuckles at this idea: “He wants to fly his ex-wife back and he doesn’t even know where she lives.”
There’s probably a good reason for that.