A same-sex couple have spoken out against a videographer who walked out of their wedding because of his “faith”, destroying their day.
Clarissa and Teegan Templeton had planned their dream wedding at a farm in North Carolina, which took place on 3 April.
Having saved up for months, they decided to spend over $1,000 on booking a videographer to capture the ceremony through the South Carolina branch of Tolman Media, a large company which has branches across the US.
A month before the wedding, their videographer reached out to confirm that he would be the one filming their wedding.
When the big day came, the couple, who had also hired a wedding planner, were enjoying themselves and gave little thought to the videographer.
But when it came time to walk down the aisle, Clarissa told Insider that she realised he was nowhere to be seen.
She said: “I had a mini panic attack. I started to panic in my head and told myself maybe he ran to the car or had some technical difficulty.
“I refused to let myself focus on it anymore and put 110 per cent of my focus on Teegan in that moment we were sharing together. I wanted to be in that moment.”
After the ceremony, she spoke to their photographer who informed him that the videographer had simply walked out.
He later told their wedding planner on the phone that he left because “of his faith and that he didn’t feel comfortable because it’s a same-sex marriage”.
For the newlyweds, their day had been ruined, and family and friends who weren’t able to attend because of COVID-19 restrictions were devastated that there would be no wedding video.
Clarissa explained: “I felt terrible, heartbroken, and like my heart was ripped out of my chest.
“We didn’t even eat at our own reception. I honestly wanted the entire day to be over. I didn’t want to be there anymore and neither did Teegan.”
Afterwards, the couple struggled to make contact with Tolman Media, and eventually took to social media with their story.
When her post began to gain traction online, Clarissa said the company acted swiftly.
She wrote on her Facebook page: “Tolman Media’s [South Carolina] branch has assured me that [the videographer] is no longer employed by them.
“They have assured that he will not be working for them ever again and that he acted solely on his own behalf. I have received 100 per cent of my money back.”
She also said that Tolman Media would now be implementing a non-discrimination policy “to ensure that nothing like this will happen to anyone who books with them again”.
Tolman Media president Ben Hillyard told Insider in a statement that the videographer’s actions were “malicious”, and added: “We at Tolman Media hold discrimination and discriminatory behavior as a very serious offense against individuals. We do not tolerate it within our organization.
“Tolman Media is not this videographer. The opinions and beliefs of this videographer do not represent our beliefs or our track record in any way shape or form.”
Couple share horrific story to start a ripple effect’ in the wedding industry
While the couple are happy to have been reimbursed, they insisted that “nothing will give us that day back”, but that they were speaking out to “start a ripple effect”.
Clarissa wrote: “How can so many people hate us for who we love?
“When I say we, I am not speaking for just Teegan and myself, I am speaking for ALL of US…This isn’t just about [the videographer’s] discrimination and Tolman Media’s poor handling… This is about a large group of people fuelled by hate and ignorance for something they don’t understand.
“I don’t want your sympathy, I want your action. Let’s band together and make moves for change in our country and in our world.”
Clarissa later updated the post to say that while they had initially thought the videographer was unaware that they were a same-sex couple until the wedding day, she now believes he knew and that “his actions were intentional”.
Neither North Carolina or South Carolina have explicit protections against discrimination for LGBT+ people.
The videographer has been approached for comment by PinkNews.