Wedding company’s closing causes mess for Nebraska couples, contractors
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Tolman Media, a nationwide wedding photography and video company that contracts local artists, announced it was closing down earlier this month.
The closure led to complications among workers in the industry, who say they don’t know if they’ll be getting paid for their work.
Earlier in February, owner Brennan Tolman posted a video to YouTube to address concerns over delayed payments from the company and assure contractors that they would be paid.
“Tolman Media is doing great,” he said. “We have partnerships coming in like crazy that are only going to cause the company to grow and help you as a creative shoot more and more.”
Then on Feb. 15, the company announced that it had ceased operations and been dismantled.
The statement on its website says in part, “All assets have been sold, there is no cash remaining in the business, and no further employees, members, managers, or officers active. All websites, emails, and contact information has been shut off.”
Shortly after Tolman announced its closing, the YouTube video was taken down from Brennan’s account.
Eric Creech, owner and videographer at A&E’s Vision in Omaha, occasionally worked as a contractor for Tolman Media.
Creech said the problem isn’t that the company closed, but the way it communicated with workers and clients.
He said he was told to finish any ceremonies that were already booked and that he would be paid whatever amount the couples still owed to the company. That money would be split between the photographer and videographer.
But in many cases, the money only amounted to a few hundred dollars for each person, which Creech said is not enough to shoot an entire wedding, let alone edit all of the photos and videos.
And if the couple had already paid Tolman in full, the contractors would get nothing, Creech said.
“What happened with a lot of people was the wedding photographer or videographer just decided to not work it cause they’re not getting paid,” he said.
Creech said the company also didn’t make it clear whether it would give refunds to couples for down payments already made.
He said some couples weren’t assigned their photographers or videographers yet, and in those cases, they didn’t get a refund and didn’t have anyone to work their wedding.
One bride, Alyssa, said she made about $1,200 in payments with a credit card and is filing a dispute with the card company to get the money back.
“Initially I didn’t know what to feel,” she said. “I think I was just more shocked than anything ’cause our wedding is two months away.”
She and her fiancé have been planning their wedding for nearly three years and say they can’t change their plans now.
“I booked way back in May last year, so trying to find a photographer or videographer two months before the wedding would be nearly impossible,” she said.
Miranda, another bride, said she also put down over $1,200 and, without a refund, can only afford to pay a few hundred more to her photographer and videographer.
She said if she has to find someone new to shoot the wedding, they don’t have money in the budget to pay full price, nor do they have the time to find and schedule them.
“We are gonna maybe claim fraud on the payments we already made,” she said. “In the article I got sent by Tolman Media, it said they’ve sold all their assets and there’s nothing remaining in the company, so I took that as there’s no money to give back.”
Miranda and Alyssa said their photographers and videographers have tried to work with them to still do the weddings and ensure they aren’t left empty-handed.
“The first thing she said is, ‘I’m not gonna leave you high and dry; I’m still gonna do your wedding, and we’ll figure it out from there,'” Miranda said.
Creech said despite not knowing whether or how much he’ll be paid, he’s still going to work the weddings he has scheduled.
“If I were in that situation, I don’t think I would handle it well,” Creech said. “When you have no money or you have very little money because your budget has been tarnished by the fact that you’re not getting the return, I can imagine it being very difficult to try to find someone. And that’s why we’re trying to help people with that.”
Photographers, videographers, brides and grooms that Channel 8 spoke to have all said they tried reaching out to the company’s recruiters, human resources department, management and social media pages but have not received any response.
Channel 8 reached out to Tolman by phone and the email address provided in its statement but didn’t hear back before this article was published.