Combine extreme wealth, two wedding ceremonies, socialites and a wedding planner to the stars, and what could possibly go wrong?
Well, if you're newlywed couple Alex Carl and Peter Campbell, just about everything, apparently, which is why Carl's parents, Joan and Bernard, are now locked in a fierce legal battle for millions of dollars against Hollywood wedding planner Mindy Weiss.
According to the Carls, the first wedding took place in 2015 at the family's private South Hampton estate. The bride wore a custom-made Oscar de la Renta gown and the grounds were studded with 3500 white roses. The 250 guests were treated to a five-course dinner, wiping their chins on monogrammed napkins between bites and sipping on a custom-created cocktail served in an ostrich eggshell. There was also a seven-tier wedding cake, a cigar bar, brownie station and hot chocolate service.
One week later, guests traveled to the family's 16th-century chapel in the Loire Valley for a candlelit ceremony. Hot-air balloon rides the next morning followed, as did features in Brides magazine.
All up, the weddings cost Bernard and Joan around U.S. $3 million (AU $3.9 million), with Weiss reasoning that the family never mentioned "the word budget." The Carls, however, say the budget for the wedding of the eldest of three children, was never meant to exceed U.S. $1 million.
"It is clear to me that we didn't do our homework on Mindy, that her very Hollywood aesthetic was just a really poor match with our objectives and image for this event," Bernard Carl told The Washington Post recently, adding, "we didn't sense that early enough. That was our mistake."
Now almost two years on from the weddings, Weiss—who has previously planned weddings for the likes of Sofia Vergara, Ellen DeGeneres, Gwen Stefani and a number of the Kardashian sisters—is suing the couple for more than U.S. $340,000 in unpaid fees and expenses (staff and travel expenses, lighting, videographer fees, custom-made wedding totes, t-shirts and hangover kits were all paid for by her directly) and U.S. $1.4 million in damages, saying the family are damaging her reputation. She is also holding Alex and Peter's wedding video and refusing to release the footage until she is paid.
The Carls, however, are claiming Weiss was employed to consult and recommend vendors only and was never approved to enter into contracts on their behalf.
The parents paid for catering, floral arrangements, the photographer, entertainment and a number of other services directly, and claim the event was poorly planned, with Weiss having no Plan B up her sleeve when the worst outcome occurred and it began to rain before the outdoor ceremony began.
Weeks before the event, Carl continues, "This wedding was very close to being almost canceled. At one point, I told Joan I was prepared to write a very big check to the kids as a wedding present, cancel the wedding and sue Mindy. I was done. I was really done."
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He says he is willing to reimburse Weiss U.S. $100,000 and no more, and only when Alex's wedding video is released.
"I think there are people who prey on people's love for their children, they prey on their vanity, they try to take advantage of it," says Bernard Carl. "I think that's a really sordid part of life that, if you have the good fortune of having some affluence, you have to live with. But it doesn't make it pleasant," he says.
This post originally appeared on Mamamia, Spring.St's Australian sister site. You can read it here.