From ‘I do’ to ‘where are you?’: furious Christchurch couples seek answers from photographer

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Oct 05, 2023 |


Dismayed Christchurch couples have accused a local wedding photographer of failing to deliver on promises and tainting their cherished wedding memories.

Allegations have mounted against Mel Fletcher of Mel’s Moments Photography, suggesting a pattern of not meeting her contractual obligations.

On her website, Mel describes herself as a “self confessed workaholic who loves to bring the joy out of my friends, family and clients. I’m super chill & love a good yarn. If your researching for a photographer or cinematographer, you have come to the right place.”

But seven couples Chris Lynch Media has spoken to say Mel shouldn’t be in the wedding business.

Each has penned affidavits highlighting their concerns.

Mary [pseudonym], one of the affected brides, detailed how she had opted for a comprehensive package costing $6,500, which promised extensive services including 11 hours of event coverage, an engagement shoot, unlimited photos, a 24-hour sneak peek, and timely delivery of galleries, videos, and drone footage.

However, Mary said the results were a far cry from the promises.

“After signing the contract, Mel requested full payment before the wedding date. At first, we were hesitant about paying the entire amount upfront without receiving any services, fearing that something might go wrong.

“The initial communications were satisfactory, but once the payment was made in full, getting any updates became a constant struggle.

“After 12 weeks, we felt that we were not going to receive the remaining footage or photos of our day, so we emailed again. Later that day Mel sent through a link to our wedding planner stating that it was the link to the full reception video and that the ceremony video was too long to be uploaded, and that we would receive that a week later.

Photo: Square Space

“Upon opening the video for the reception, we discovered that it was only 8 seconds long. We repeated our request to Mel that we would prefer that the video footage and photos were sent to us in raw form so we could take them to another photographer to have them edited, and that we were happy to provide a hard drive for Mel to upload them on.

Mel’s response was “I’d rather not be responsible for corrupting a hard drive.”

“What’s worse, the few photos we did eventually receive were riddled with issues like lens reflections, hazy smoky effects, and glaring omissions in group shots.”

Mary found numerous negative online reviews indicating a troubling trend where Mel accepted hefty deposits but allegedly repeatedly failed to deliver.

More unsettling was Mel’s sudden disappearance from online platforms including Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

Another couple, who married in March, shared their distress. “After our initial satisfaction with the ‘sneak peek’ photos, communications with Mel went downhill.

“The final photo set took a frustrating four months to arrive, and when the video did finally arrive seven months later, it was substandard, featuring blurry shots, poor audio, and an overall lack of the quality we had been promised.”

Yet another bride and groom faced similar disappointments.

Despite promises of receiving their photos in 8 weeks and their video in 10 after their wedding, the couple faced continual delays and subpar work.

“The photos were not only late but were missing key moments. Even more frustrating was Mel’s constant excuses, like claims of messaging on Instagram, we never used for correspondence.

It’s been over 21 weeks since our wedding, and we’re still without our video.”

Another devastated couple discovered there was no audio recorded for their ceremony.

“The recording was critical to us, especially since my brother had orchestrated the entire setup.

“The lack of sound was deeply disappointing, and the video we did receive was patchy, with several key moments missing and others appearing disjointed.”

Another bride further highlighted the apparent unreliability of Mel’s Moments Photography.

After paying a deposit in March 2021 and subsequently rescheduling their wedding, all communication attempts with Mel since May 2022 have been futile.

“Our countless efforts to reach out through various channels have all been ignored, leaving us in a state of anxiety and uncertainty about our upcoming day.”

Yet another bride said “some of the photos were poorly edited. I have continued to try to get in contact with Mel through email, text, Facebook, however all of my contact has been ignored.

“I have also been blocked from her on facebook and cannot find her instagram either. She has actively sought to make herself uncontactable by me.

“I have asked for extremely minor editing changes (one photo to be made in colour rather than black and white), plus the addition of the photos of my husband and our baby and myself and our baby at the wedding, plus our wedding video that we still haven’t received in full.”

Another bride said she got married in December last year and was still trying to get Mel to finish her wedding package.

Adding insult to injury, the brides say they were angry at discovering Mel was still in business taking photos for horse related events.

Chris Lynch Media spoke with Mel, who candidly revealed that a personal relationship break-up had played a role in certain delays.

“I’m well aware of whom you’re referring to,” Mel said, acknowledging that she had been taken to the Disputes Tribunal on two occasions.

As a result, she was ordered to provide all the video footage to the aggrieved couples.

She also admitted that two more legal proceedings were currently underway against her.

“I deactivated my social media because I was overwhelmed by the onslaught of death threats and vitriol from some brides.”

Mel shared text exchanges she’d had with some of these brides. Although their messages conveyed palpable anger, none directly threatened her.

“I’m not a bad person, and this has been really stressful for me. People are making all sorts of horrible untrue statements on social media and it’s a pack mentality.

Mel tearfully expressed her commitment to her work, urging critics to visit her website to view the calibre of her photography.

Mel acknowledged her involvement in photographing horse-related events, emphasising her obligation to honour her existing commitments.

A Christchurch wedding specialist told Chris Lynch Media they’d been contacted by several upset brides, either looking for advice as to what they can do to get what they paid for, or concerned that Mel wouldn’t turn up to their scheduled wedding.

“This is utterly disappointing. We are a tight-knit wedding community and this kind of situation puts a negative spotlight on a beautiful industry that works so hard to give a couple their best day ever,” the specialist said.

“Mel needs to give these couples exactly what they paid for and stop making excuses.

“She needs to contact each couple, ask what she can do to help, give them a reasonable deadline for fixing the problems, and do it. Mel needs to do this now.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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