‘Hard that it might not happen’: Upcoming destination wedding uncertain after travel issues
A Moose Jaw bride-to-be says her upcoming nuptials are up in the air, after issues with travel companies have put the entire wedding in jeopardy.
Morgan Gabel began planning her dream destination wedding more than a year ago. While searching for the perfect wedding package online, she came across Vancouver-based planner, Shez Khan, with Beach Vows.
“She was offering a free wedding package at a Hard Rock resort of your choice if you used her for your wedding planning services and as a travel agency,” Gabel said.
On an unrelated trip to Vancouver, Gabel met with Khan in person. She then checked Khan's online reviews, and contacted the Hard Rock resort in Puerto Vallarta, where Gabel planned to get married.
“They said that they work with her frequently, and they gave her a good review,” Gabel said.
Gabel booked the trip through Khan, settling on the destination through Sunwing Vacations. Gabel and her guests made the final payment for the trip in June, with departure set for Sunday.
Sunwing’s travel documents were supposed to reach guests 28 days prior to departure. When that didn’t happen, Gabel contacted Sunwing. She was told the airline was still owned tens of thousands of dollars.
“Despite my guests paying full at $2,200 per person, Sunwing is out $28,000, and will not be releasing any of those documents until they receive that $28,000,” Gabel said.
Gabel said she then discovered her credit cards - as well as some of her guests' credit cards - had travel charges, but not with Sunwing.
“Some people are charged to WestJet, some people are charged to TravelBrands, Signature Vacations,” Gabel said. “The list goes on.”
Gabel recently discovered Khan's company, Beach Vows, is sub-contracted by Montreal-based travel company MK Voyages. That company is responsible for paying Sunwing.
Khan told CTV news on that she stopped working for MK Voyages months ago, and was therefore unable to access Gabel’s files.
“I had been trying to do this for months, but I kept getting shut out. I had no idea what they had paid up and what hadn't been paid until I was advised of this just two weeks ago,” Khan said in an email.
Khan said she paid MK Voyages the outstanding balance on Tuesday, which CTV News confirmed. That payment came nearly five months after Gabel said she paid Khan for the trip.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, Sunwing confirmed to CTV News that it has not received the final payment, adding that it was due approximately two months ago.
“We have been in continuous communication with the travel agent Shez Khan and the agency MK Voyages to try and remedy this matter,” a Sunwing media representative said in an emailed statement. “We are extremely empathetic to the bride and groom’s circumstances, and while the group is scheduled to depart on Sunday, we are still optimistic for a favourable outcome.”
MK Voyages said to CTV that the responsibility for this file lies with Khan.
CTV News asked Khan why Gabel's credit card, as well as some of her guests’ credit cards, were charged to a different airline than Sunwing, but did not receive a reply.
On Tuesday, Gabel called the resort to confirm the rooms, but was told she and her fiancé were only booked for one week, rather than the two weeks Gabel said she paid for.
“I don't know if we're going to end up being able to leave on Sunday,” Gabel said through tears. “I don't know that, if we do leave, what we're going to show up to (and) if there is going to be rooms for everybody.”
Making this far from the typical pre-wedding stress Gabel was expecting.
“Last year, I had the opportunity to go to New York to get my wedding dress, and I spent a lot of money on it. So, it's just so hard that it might not happen,” Gabel said.
Gabel said she and her fiancé will head to the airport on Sunday, with the hopes that they will be able to board the plane, and get on Nov. 21.