Troubleshooter: Beach wedding

Image source Wikimedia

November 22, 2010 4:41:13 PM PST
Liane West thought she was getting the wedding of her dreams when she signed up to have her nuptials at Knots Landing on Ocean Isle Beach. It's a rental home that specializes in beach ceremonies.

But, she says the reality fell far short of the dream when she learned that a home was going up between Knots Landing and the beach.

"In almost all of our pictures, we have two-by-fours, construction trucks, trash bins, Porta Johns, a half-built home," she said.

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson heard a similar story from a Durham newlywed who asked not to be identified.

"Our first dance was 20-feet away from a porta-pot," she said.

So, how did these brides not know what they were getting when they booked the popular Ocean Isle home? They thought they did.

"Took a whole tour of inside, outside, and immediately went back and signed the contract," said West.

West visited the property three times before her big day in September. She took pictures and even shot a video.

"Look back at the view. There it is, wow," she said as she showed us the pictures.

Knots Landing's website played up that "unobstructed," "oceanfront" view so well that West staged her whole wedding around what was promised online.

"My caterer had the layout exactly like the video. I wanted it done that way," she said.

It was the same for our second bride.

"Since I was a little girl, I dreamed about having a wedding on the beach," she said.

Bride number two says she got a Facebook message from Knots Landing just four days before her September vows.

"When you arrive, you'll notice there is a house under construction on one of the lots behind our house. The house will not obstruct the views from the family room, etc," she said the message read.

She says at first she was in shock, and then she went to see for herself.

"I was in tears. I cried for two days about it," she said.

She says the house under construction blocked much of that formerly unobstructed view of the beach.

"I was devastated. I couldn't believe that the initial view we thought we were getting was completely gone. There were porta-potties, timber everywhere - there were construction trucks," she said.

"The whole time, that's all I thought about. I wasn't able to relax and have fun because I was so upset about it," she continued.

West says she didn't find out about the construction until just seven days before her wedding and not from Knots Landing.

"The caterer called and said in a very concerned tone: 'When was the last time you were at the house?' and I said: 'In March.' And she said: 'Oh, so you don't know about the construction?'" West recalled.

That construction would soon show up in almost all her pictures.

"We got everybody in a big group, and my photographer got way up to get every single person at our wedding and in the background is a mess, a complete mess," she said.

What's even more upsetting to our brides is that they say others may get a mess too. Knots Landing didn't take down the claims of "beautiful unobstructed views" until they complained loudly.

"I want them to have pictures, progress, because at this point the other two lots right behind the home are also for sale and half the brides are destination brides that booked location strictly on photos and phone calls," said West.

After our bride's weddings, Knots Landing put up a disclaimer saying there's now a "beautiful home" nearby, but the view is still "spectacular." There were no new pictures posted.

"The pictures don't lie. I just wanted to post a picture and say 'This is what I showed up to,' so other brides can plan accordingly," said West.

ABC11 planned an interview with Rob Moscato, owner of Knots Landing, but he cancelled the day before we were scheduled to meet him.

He did tell us he blames his rental agency for not telling brides about the new construction. He added he knows weddings can be stressful, but is glad to provide a wonderful day to brides as Knots Landing is still a spectacular home with amazing views.

But our newlyweds disagree. While happily married, they told us they will always wonder how more special their special days could have been.

"This is supposed to be one of my biggest days of my life, and it ended up being this, and it crushed me. And, I just don't want anyone else to have to go through this," said bride number two.

Moscato said he's warning all future brides about the new construction blocking views and Knots Landing is booked for a good part of 20111.

When we pointed out that nothing in the photo gallery on the Knots Landing website shows the construction of the new oceanfront home, Moscato promised he would update the website with photos within 30-days.

In fact, he has updated it already with one photo.

As for our two brides, Moscato says both had construction clauses in their contracts, so they won't be getting refunds.

One paid more than $5,400 for the three nights leading up to her wedding. The other more than $8,500 for the week leading up. They point out that money was just for location and that catering, flowers, decoration, and travel for guests from across the country was much, much more.

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