I Would Prefer That My Name Be Spelled Correctly On My Wedding Album

Annemarie has been playing phone tag with the small, family-owned photography business that she hired to document her 2008 wedding. No, that’s not a typo. The couple was busy purchasing a house, having a baby, and doing new-married-couple things. They got back in touch with the company and finally received a beautiful album in spring 2011. With her name spelled incorrectly on the cover. By the time the photographer got around to contacting the company that produced the final album about options, they…had gone out of business. Annemarie is stuck, and doesn’t know what to do when almost four years have passed since the wedding, most of those spent playing phone tag with the photographer.

I got married in August of 2008, and used a family-owned photography company that was very affordable and had great photo album options. They were very attentive, and the even went smashingly. We went on our honeymoon and contacted them after and they said to give them three to five months to get things together. Through no fault of theirs, it took way longer than that for us to contact them, simply because life got busy; we bought a house, my husband got a new job, and we had a baby.

When I finally contacted them about the album, their response took an extremely long time to get to us; apparently they were in Florida for a month with their daughter, and weren’t able to get back to us. As they are family owned and I know it’s only two employees, I understood (after all, the delay was originally our fault) and we finally met up to select pictures for the album and bigger photos in 2010.

It took several months for the final album to come in. In the interim, the album company he used went out of business (his words). At first I was hesitant about his suggestions of a new flush mount album, but wound up being thrilled with the new option; I wound up getting more for my money, essentially, because he went with a new more modern company. I went to pick up my album in April of 2011.

The album was absolutely stunning, with one glaring issue: my first name was spelled wrong on the front cover. In all of the proofs I’d OKed, no front cover was present. Every time the photographer used my name, he spelled it correctly, so he said it was company error and that he’d get it fixed. He suggested I take it home and show my family since we’d been waiting for it so long and then drop it off back at his home to be fixed. We did just that; took it home for a few months and then dropped it back off at his home (a month because we wanted to be sure he was home and played phone tag a lot about timing to drop it off). It was dropped off at the end of 2011.

I e-mailed him May 5th about the album, as I’m pretty anxious to get it back. The response I got from him was:

Capri – your album mfg – is no longer in business. However, I am in contact with their corporate hdq. to see what options they can offer.

I have shown your album to several alternative sources. All of them offered similar solutions that required physical disassembly – with possible damage to the inside front and back covers – and creation of a new cover; only available in their standard colors (brown???).

Another alternative would be to create 2 overlays – plastic or leather – for the front cover and to add the correct embossing to each. I suggest 2 to keep all of the text the same type face, and, to artistically balance the overall ‘look’ of the album. At the moment, this is looking like the best option.

I am working on a solution and will get back to you with additional details as soon as I have them.

My concern is that this company went out of business two weeks ago; on their website, it indicates they were filling old orders and taking new ones up until April 20th of 2012. I’m really upset that he waited almost a year to get on this (I wonder if I hadn’t e-mailed if he’d have bothered ever fixing it) and I’m not thrilled with his options. I want an album that’s correct, not some hacked-together job.

What are my options here? I sent him a response that indicated my disappointment with his timing, etc., but I’m worried that when he responds again, I’m not going to be satisfied.

Before anyone blames “the OP” for the length of time it’s taken to get this done: we’ve played phone tag and e-mail tag over the last few years regularly, as the business is literally just him and his wife out of his home. No where in my contract is a time-line stipulated, and most of the delay has been the fault of the photographer, although some has been mine as well.

Comments

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  1. ferozadh says:

    I’m blaming “the OP” for the length of time it’s taken to get this done.

    • Velvet Jones says:

      Yes, but I doubt the length of time would have made much of a difference. I doubt the OP spelled their own name wrong, so there was definitely an extreme level of incompetence on the photographer or album contractors part. Given that the album maker went out of business, that is probably a sign that it was their fault. Incompetent companies tend not to stay in business.

      • ferozadh says:

        I’m sorry but this just reads like wrinkle on our perfect life, time to alert the press. Just get a new album with the correct name and transfer the contents over. Replace the cover. Whatever.

        • Sneeje says:

          My thoughts exactly. Stuff happens. No outrage necessary. Sometimes our life can’t be perfect. Does anyone really believe that at 60 yrs old, when they look at the album and reminisce on their wonderful life that the name issue will have any impact whatsoever?

          Disappointing? Yes. But disappointing along the lines of real life compared to fairy tales. You sigh, take a deep breath, and soldier on.

    • Jawaka says:

      Yup, sorry.

      Yeah we know that you were all too busy having kids and doing married things but if this is important enough to complain about then it should have been important enough to have found time for over the last four years.

      • longfeltwant says:

        Third. This is a shame, and perhaps the photog would make some consideration, but if he doesn’t want to, then sorry the statute of limitations has run out on this one. (IMHO, the ethical statute of limitations is one year on something like this.) Buy a new photo album if it’s important enough.

        • legolex says:

          Yep, I second that. Way too much time has passed and you should chalk it up as a learning experience to get things done in a timely fashion. CostCo does photo books, also if you have a SmugMug account you can order customized “books” that look very nice.

    • eldergias says:

      /agreed

  2. Moniker Preferred says:

    They were “busy” for THREE YEARS?

    OP Fail. Complete.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      If she had tried to initiate contact and been thrown off by phone tag, I could see erasing the blame on her, but she didn’t… If having her name spelled correctly on the cover had been truly important for her, she should have set aside a little time to get it taken care of. Anyway, She needs to tell the photographer that she’d like a new album. Recycle the page organization of the old one and just order the new one.
      I’m thinking I might ask for a digital copy of my photo album when I get married…

      In any case, everyone in this story is at fault. *shrug*

      • Moniker Preferred says:

        Generally, photographers retain the rights to the photos. If you want copies of prints, you buy them through the photographer.

        You can probably arrange to buy the rights and get digital files, but you’ll pay extra for that, since the potential income of copies is not available to the photographer.

        • BBBB says:

          If the photographer cannot get the cover fixed properly, it should be remade at the photographer’s expense.

          Or, offer (demand) a compromise; the photographer refunds the album money and turns over the negatives/digital files so the OP can get the book remade.

          If the photographer is thinking rationally (you cannot assume that – I’ve met many small business owners who will irrationally fight ANY kind of refund to the end) he will realize that he will be paying for a new album, so refunding will end up being comparable with less hassle.

  3. mikedt says:

    Live with it. In another year you’ll never even bother digging the album out.

    • maxamus2 says:

      Or you will be divorced….

    • bluline says:

      Agree. I’ve been married 34 years and can count on one hand the number of times we’ve dug out the album. This is not an end-of-the-world event and given the amount of time it’s taken to get to this point (regardless of whose fault that is), I say forget about it and move on.

    • msbask says:

      Spot on. Have a laugh over it and move on.

      (It’s even money that you won’t even be married ten years from now.)

  4. energynotsaved says:

    Based on national averages, I would just wait a few more years and then fight about during the divorce.

  5. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    You’re just going to throw it in a closet and never see it again anyway.

  6. HenryES says:

    Let it go, you’ll laugh about it later.

    • TBGBoodler says:

      I think this is the best answer. It’s true. These things become less and less important as time goes on. Some of our biggest mistakes are now our fondest–and funniest–memories.

    • EdnasEdibles says:

      Yep – I mean, yes, it’s annoying but whatever, life goes on.

      I had a friend who was starting his own video business put my wedding on DVD. Marriage was spelled incorrectly on both the cover and the online menu. (spelled marraige) – I let him know so he wouldn’t do it for others but left it on my own. Not a big deal. To be honest I have no idea where the DVD is right now (or my photos?). After 9 years of marriage I can pretty much just accept that the only time they will ever be found is when my kids get older and want to laugh at how young everyone looked back then.

  7. bnceo says:

    In all seriousness, going to small time photographers is great for many things. But you take the risk of them not being in business long, especially if the transaction time frame is quite lengthy.

    Not really a fault of the OP. Just happens when dealing with small businesses sometimes.

  8. BensFlare says:

    You said the photog did a great job, you’re happy with the results, etc. Why don’t you just make a pen & ink change on the cover – add some endearing quirkiness to the album. Bottom line is your delay was contributory to the error, and I’m sure that’s what the Peoples’ Court would find as well.

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    Since more than 50% of marriages end in divorce
    within a few years, this will be a moot point in 2017.

  10. Bob says:

    Being busy buying a house, or getting a new job, or having a baby doesn’t occupy every single waking moment of your life. I guarantee that the OP isn’t so important that making a 5 minute phone call to find out why her wedding album was (initially) months overdue would somehow send her world into chaos. She simply waited too long. Tough.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      As someone who doesn’t have kids, I know I need to cut parents some slack, but…it seems like people use their kids as an excuse quite a bit. A friend of mine has a house that looks like a tornado went through it. “Oh, the kids keep me busy.” “Sorry, the kids made a mess.” Well, the kids are 13 months and 3 years old. I HIGHLY doubt they threw her work uniform on the floor or tossed bags of dirty diapers on the garage floor or spit toothpaste in the master bathroom sink and never rinsed it out. If you’re a slob, say you’re a slob. Don’t make it sound like once you have kids, everything is bound to go to hell and it’s okay for your house to look like that.

      * To be clear, I am not talking about clutter or kid-related messes (overturned sippy cups, children’s books, etc.). I’m talking every room covered from one end to the other with sales ads, coupon inserts, work clothes, etc. You can’t even walk through the living room without nearly injuring yourself.

  11. trrwilson says:

    Yeah….OP dropped the ball on this one.

    Sounds like the photographer is trying to help them, albeit slowly, but the options are pretty limited. If it were me; I would take this as a life lesson and either live with the incorrectly spelled cover, or pay the photographer for a new album. The photographer may even be willing to offer a discount.

    • JF says:

      As a photographer, wife, homeowner, and parent myself…….given the delay on the part of both parties…… the solution I would give to the client at this point might be a new album through another company at cost. This assumes that after the length of time we are talking about that the photographer even has the original images/album build anymore. (I think from a good business perspective, they should…. but I know the photographer who did my mom and step-dad’s wedding a few years back doesn’t have her images anymore).

      On a side note, at my own wedding the photographers created a DVD slideshow for an upsell, when I pointed out my name was spelled wrong on it they gave it to me for free. It is in a box somewhere……..

  12. El_Fez says:

    and most of the delay has been the fault of the photographer, although some has been mine as well.

    Some? This must be a new usage of the word “some” that I am unaware of.

    Okay, but enough of blaming the OP. How about a solution! Get a new photo album and transfer the photos yourself? You can get some nice photo albums from Adorama: (http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=itemlist&cat1=Filing/Storage&cat2=Photo%20Albums%20-%20Family&cat3=Bound%20Albums ) for reasonably cheap. Just use those instead and get some nice artwork for the cover.

    Yeah, it’ll cost you some more bread, but you’ll actually get something you like instead of going back and forth with an out-of-business company.

  13. Stickdude says:

    Only one solution that I can see -

    Go to court and legally change your name to match the album.

  14. crispyduck13 says:

    So she just had to take the album home to show her family and it took her 6 months to return it to the photographer? It took you 2 YEARS to get together with them to pick photos? Sounds like the OP and the photog deserve eachother. How are you going to get pissed at a business taking too long to do stuff when you yourself take waaay too long to do stuff?

    When will people learn to stop doing these photographer supplied albums?? My best friend went through similar things where it took over a year to get the pics to review which ones they wanted in the album/blown up/framed, etc. On top of that it cost them several thousand dollars for everything.

    This is 2012, get your shit done digital on a CD for chrissakes, and take that to wherever YOU want to get albums or blown up pics for framing done. There really is no need to do this process the old fashioned way.

    • oloranya says:

      except that the photographer will likely charge more for rights to reproduce digital images of the photos. That’s standard industry practice.

  15. tailspin says:

    The OP’s delay had nothing to do with the album issue; it was the photographer’s delay. The album company was in business through April, so if the photographer had handled it when she dropped the incorrect album off in December, it would have been fixed in time. I think she should have the overlay cover put on the existing album, and the photographer should cover the cost.

  16. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Perhaps the OP can convince the photographer to give up the originals and try out Snapfish, LuLu, Blurb, Costco, etc. to make her own wedding albums. I know it would take a week of solid work to put one together, but at least she can spell her name correctly.

    Al Jacobs wrote a comprehensive booklet on wedding photography geared for new wedding photographers, but a important read for bride-to-be’s. It just seems so apt for this situation.

    http://www.fotonotes.ru/uploads/THE_NEW_WEDDING_PHOTOGRAPHERS_HANDBOOK.pdf

    The author’s official site is here http://www.aljacobs.com

    • msbask says:

      She’s already GOT an album full of beautiful photos. Why go through all that trouble just because her name is spelled wrong on the cover? The cover is not ruining the photos.

    • tailspin says:

      I took a look through the PDF — I’m assuming he didn’t write this as a serious helpful document? It’s written unprofessionally and really rude to his former and future clients in several places.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        It’s a serious document written in a tone very consistent to the myriad of other seasoned photographers I’ve worked with. Some people may have personal issues and be offended by some of the anecdotes hitting too close to home. From the photographer’s point of view, it’s an honest and frank list of situations to avoid. For instance, having a clear contract in place. If you think having bridezilla’s name misspelled is an issue, think of the mom & pop’s bind having to deal with this issue years later, after suppliers have gone out of business.

  17. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    She waited so long, I don’t think she has any recourse to whine. I have a couple of albuma from Shutterfly that I made mistakes in and we just laugh about them. Life is so much better when you can laugh about stuff like that. In the grand scheme of life, it’s not worth even thinking twice about, especially since it’s now 4 years after the wedding and the place is out of business.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      *albums

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      But then again, I had my uncle take pictures and I made my own album, which we totally cherish. My daughter loves to look at it. I really enjoyed putting it together too. It’s very amateurish, but no one really wants to look at it besides the kids and mom anyway. I’m not the type to spend thousands on a photographer/album.

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        I plan to do what you did, although it may be my aunt taking the photos and she’s actually a professional… Anyway, everything’s more cherishable/personal when you do it yourself!

  18. backinpgh says:

    At least wait and see if he actually finds a solution. You’ve waited this long after all…

    Otherwise, have a lawyer pen up a letter demanding a corrected album within X days or legal action will be taken.

  19. Bsamm09 says:

    I hear ya OP. I had a surfboard made for me and the shaper misspelled my name when he signed it. Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh.

  20. Ilovegnomes says:

    I’m confused. The photographer is offering the client a few different options and working with the corporate HQ to see what other options they can come up with. Why doesn’t the OP just wait until the photographer works it out with the company? At least they are trying to fix the situation. What more does she want?

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      She wants an answer now, even though she apparently waited an insane amount of time after her wedding to contact the photographer at all. She wants to take forever to do things, but wants everyone else at her beck and call.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        She wants to take forever to do things, but wants everyone else at her beck and call.

        Extremely correct summary.

  21. Elizabeth B says:

    I hired a photographer like this for my wedding. He had an official office and didn’t work out of his house. He displayed huge portraits of other couples in his office, and they were stunning. However, when we sat with him to decide which picture would be used for which size in the package, the pictures were fuzzy on the largest size! It wasn’t huge, just the next standard size up from the 8×10. (so 11×15 or something). And we weren’t trying to zoom in on something; the frame was barely cropped. I hadn’t thought to ask what resolution he was using. He had said some things about “people thinking they are a photographers because they have a any camera,” but I now think that about him…

  22. bkdlays says:

    I didn’t even read most of it due to the time that has passed. As someone who has worked in retail and other sales for years, it amazes me how customers think there is no time limit for anything.

    I had a customer come in recently with 2 items that were purchased about 3 months back. We have a very liberal 30 day return policy. This customer was all sorts of upset that we wouldn’t take back his NON defective returns. He just collected some stuff and brought it in so he had money to buy new stuff, after he used it for 3 months.

    Anyways short version, don’t delay anything that needs to be rectified or things like this happen. As their photographer I would tell them too bad. In court the same thing would happen.

    Live and Learn.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Gymboree always had a very liberal return policy. I can’t tell you how many times I would be in there and a mom would bring back a huge bag of things with tags on from 8 months back for a full-refund. Apparently, these crazy women like to stock-up and when their kid never wears it, two seasons later, they return it after it’s not even on the clearance rack anymore. They just expect the store to basically eat the cost of the merchandise. It was my gain though b/c I was friendly with the manager and she would bring all sort of stuff like that from the back and it would ring up for 2-3 bucks. It would have all of the matching accessories too.

  23. Caffinehog says:

    This is an unfortunate situation, but really, everyone is doing the best they can at this point. The album maker is gone and can’t help you. The photographer is doing their best to resolve the issue. At this point, this post is just whining for the sake of whining.

  24. EllenRose says:

    I live in a cooperative. There are nameplates on every door. The first nameplate got my last name wrong, so I ordered a second and gave them my last name again, printed. The second one got it wrong too, a different way. (And it’s a perfectly good German name, in a town full of Germans.)

    I’m living with it. It’s easier than making a fuss. At this point, OP should consider if throwing good hours after bad is a worthwhile use of time – especially because it may come back again, wrong in a new way.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Was ist Ihr Nachname?

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I am guessing they spelled in Annmarie instead of Annemarie. That’s not a huge deal. A stranger wouldn’t notice, and family and friends should be decent enough not to make a big deal of it. If they do, it’s something she can laugh about.

  25. rk23 says:

    “I’m really upset that he waited almost a year to get on this”? Given the time frames involved in the whole thing, I’m not sure why that’s surprising or dismaying — hell, the OP hung on to the misspelled album for eight months before even giving it back. (And since when is from the “end of 2011″ to now “almost a year”?)

  26. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    You work with the photographer, not the album company. The onus lies with the person you personally paid the money to, and thus did business with: the photographer.

  27. spartan says:

    What’s the statute of limitations on the term. “Bridezilla”? At a certain point she just becomes a regular Pain In The Ass customer?

  28. GrimJack says:

    Mrs Jack and I got married in 2003 and purchased the negatives from the photographer as part of the package. 8 years later I finally contacted our wedding photographer to have him send them to me :) Luckily, he was a good sport, didn’t even charge me for the 8 years of climate controlled storage, and sent them off to me in great shape.

  29. sparc says:

    I blame the OP. 1 year delay is very explainable, but to even allow it to have gone years past that is pretty much inexcusable.

    OP is basically SOL unless you can restore communication with the person who made the error.

  30. GoldVRod says:

    My wedding photos had Benson on them. My name is Vincent. Phonetically a little similar I guess – someone must have been reading the details over the phone.

    I didn’t bat an eyelid and got on with my life.

  31. RayanneGraff says:

    Hmm… something tells me this lady was a bridezilla if she cares this much about a stupid wedding album.

    Suck it up, princess. There are bigger deals.

  32. annmarizzle says:

    Wow…some of you are just nasty! Perhaps this wasn’t clear (as the OP, let me elaborate..)… We’re not talking years of no contact, but rather phone and e-mail tag 1-3 times a month for the duration of the time between having the photos taken and getting the album. And I’m pretty sure asking for advice (not insults) from this site about my options doesn’t make me a Bridezilla. I’m also surprised at the “just deal with it” advice…paying $2000 for a misspelling is kind of a big deal. Also, bringing up divorce rates is tacky and unhelpful.

    • mindshadow says:

      I have a family-owned wedding photography business set up similar to the one you are working with (husband and wife working out of our home), and this is how I would handle the situation: Buy an album from a different vendor. If he has any idea how to price his albums (and at $2000 I can guarantee he worked his pricing properly to include his time to design the album and have some leftover capital for his business), he should have the capital to front you another album. There are plenty of other vendors, such as Album Epoca, Renaissance, Asuka Books, Kiss, etc., that will probably deliver a similar album for a similar price. I know Album Epoca will do the name thingy, on a metal strip or something, for instance. I want to think they will emboss it in the leather too, but I’m not sure off the top of my head.

      Since you already took blame for being slow to get back to him, I won’t try to peg you as bridezilla or anything. I have had clients take their sweet time to get back with me, and sometimes when they do they act like I have done something wrong. At any rate, since, as a business, I like when people give me money, I’m always prompt to get back with them. Point being I’m not entirely sure why your photographer is so slow to get back with you. But the other people that are trying to blame you entirely are a tad insulting (and honestly a large part of why I don’t visit this website often anymore). Time between the wedding and now is irrelevant, though I will say 6 months was a bit long for you to keep the album.

      Anyways, just ask your photographer to order you a new album from another vendor. He should already have another album vendor he is working with and, if not, you may need to go the small claims court route (because I doubt he is going to give you a copyright release to let another photographer print your album).

      • annmarizzle says:

        thnaks so much for the advice! I know that if I hadn’t taken so dang lo this wouldn’t be an issue,and I take full blame for the time lapse…but as I knew they were a very busy business of two with family obligations of their own, we were all pretty laid back about our contact. Thanks again!

        • mindshadow says:

          Glad that helped. That being said, I work full time and my wife takes care of our kids, and after a wedding we can usually be through 3000+ photos in about a week or two (edited and ready to print). Sometimes we can get the initial album designed within two weeks too. But to each his own.

  33. fencepost says:

    Thirding the “move on” sentiments, but if you really want something in terms of satisfaction ask the photographer for the original or full-size digital images and rights to use them for personal use (e.g. if you ever decide to get an album redone for your kids or something). At this point years after the wedding I suspect the residual value to them is minimal, and they may be happy to do that to resolve a messed-up situation.

    Also, that lets you keep the digital copies in case the photographer ever gets out of the business as well. Remember that backups (off-site backups) are your friend.

  34. ecuador says:

    I can’t believe the OP kept the “wrong” album for almost a year because they were playing “phone tag”. Blame the OP.

  35. RayanneGraff says:

    I wish I could embed pictures here, but this pretty much embodies the general sentiment about this woman’s “problem”…

    http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/oh-my-god-who-the-hell-cares.jpg

  36. jiubreyn says:

    I understand this is not the fault of the photographer, but why not just offer to reprint the entire thing for free? It seems like a one-off case and even though they are a family business, I highly doubt paying out of pocket for a mistake your business partner is responsible for the error.

  37. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    I would just get the pictures back in my hands ASAP – otherwise you may end up with no wedding album.

    The misspelled name does make a good conversation topic, I would just leave it at this point. What if the next product is worse? In 3 more years you and your husband will laugh about this and it will be one of your golden years stories to tell the grandchildren. *smile*