Phone: 07960 964 156 (but they never seem to actually answer this)
TrustPilot profile: https://www.trustpilot.com
Name: Jackson & Gray
WeddingWire profile: https://www.weddingwire.co.uk
About a week after this review went live, I was contacted by someone who had some interesting information that may add some credence to Edward’s claim that Gray Weddings is no longer trading. It turns out that Edward Gray is also in partnership with someone called Cal Jackson and together they have established Jackson & Gray.
Perhaps Edward decided to abandon the Gray Weddings brand after it had become tainted by negative feedback from unhappy customers? Perhaps Becky is no longer involved in the business? Who knows. But one would imagine that if that were the case, that he would manage his next venture more carefully and so it’s simply astonishing that this appears not to be so.
There is currently no TrustPilot review for this partnership but there is a WeddingWire one where they have 2x 1-star reviews. And based on the comments in those reviews, it would appear that Edward is up to his usual tricks once more.
Just like Gray Weddings, Jackson & Gray like to offer “special discounts” to customers who pay their balance early. For us the so-called reason for the offer was the desire to purchase new equipment including a drone to provide a wider range of services – services that nearly 18 months later have failed to materialise accoring to their website.
Reasons that have been provided by Jackson & Gray for the same thing are a desire to encourage inward investment with some business plan (?) and to pay for furnishing their new house (?!). All very professional-sounding, isn’t it?
So to conclude, it’s not quite as easy as simply avoiding Gray Weddings because by far the biggest problem with that company was Edward Gray and the fact that we couldn’t believe a word he said. I would recommend checking whether he has anything to do with your chosen wedding photographers before you hand over any money, and to drop them like a hot brick if he does.
Here follows a full and honest review of Gray Weddings, the wedding photography and videography providers who are based in the north west of England (or possibly now near Llandudno) and who consist of Edward Gray and Rebecca Gray or Becky Gray as she likes to be called.
If all you want is to know whether you should use their services, the short answer is most definitely no. They are by far the worst service providers I have ever had the misfortune of using – for anything – ever. Once they have your money they actively ignore you while responding immediately to new customers (see below for proof), and will make you wait almost a year to get your videos despite persistent chasing on your part.
If you want to know the reasons for this summary in full, read on!
Once Upon a Time…
Nicola and I got engaged in October 2015 and set a date for September 2017. Like most other couples with an upcoming wedding, we considered a wide range of venues, cakes, flowers, photographers, videographers and everything else. We met the Grays at a wedding fair in Manchester in 2016 and after chatting to the couple and looking at the examples of their work, decided to go ahead with booking them for our wedding.
Their website promises a “first class timely service” and that the 2x videographer option makes sure that “nothing is missed“. They also offer a meeting to “discuss any specific ideas you want to include“, and they state that their deliverables are “one 30-45 minute film of your day & one 3-5 minute highlight film of your day“.
The package that we purchased consisted of a pre-wedding photo shoot, photography and videography for the big day itself, the digital photos and a physical album. The digital photos were to be supplied up to 6 weeks after the wedding and the video up to 3 months later. They wanted their payment in advance and indeed emailed us a full month before the wedding asking for that money.
When Becky came to do our pre-wedding shoot, she honestly made a good impression. She seemed very friendly and chatty and did her best to put us at ease. One of the things she told us in casual conversation though was that this whole wedding photography thing was just a stepping stone for them and that her real passion was architecture. We didn’t think too much about that at the time, but looking back it does explain an issue with some of the photography. But this issue is by a long, long way the least of their problems.
As she revealed to us during our pre-wedding photo shoot, Becky’s real passion is architecture – and unfortunately, this does actually show in her photos. It didn’t really show in the pre-wedding shoot because I suppose it was just the three of us and she was more able to focus her attention on Nicola and I, but during the wedding where there were many more people, Becky seemed to struggle to get the photos that she might have wanted.
Many of the photos – of Nicola and I in particular – look staged, while the photos of the vanue itself – of the buildings and of the grounds – look great. The problem is, we didn’t hire Gray Weddings to provide us with photographs that might be used to promote our wedding venue: we hired them to provide us with photographs of ourselves, our friends and our families on our wedding day.
Becky is clearly a better “architecture photographer” than a “people photographer”, and the fact that wedding photography is just a stepping stone for the Grays on their journey towards something else really is quite obvious once you sit down and look at the photographs. Even without all the other problems we’ve had with Gray Weddings, we wouldn’t hire them again for an event where people are meant to be the focus.
Nothing Is Missed
Despite the Gray’s claims on their website that “nothing is missed”, they actually missed some significant events:
Due to the vantage point chosen by one of the videographers, in the speeches video when I stand up to deliver my speech, the bride is almost completely obscured. We miss her reaction to much of my speech as a result, and since the wedding is obviously all about her, we were very disappointed about this. When we went back to the Grays to ask for the other videographer’s video to be used for this part (since we supposedly had 2 videographers to ensure that “nothing is missed”), it turned out that there was no other angle. Given that everyone was in the hall for these speeches, it is unclear exactly what the other videographer was doing at this point if not recording the speeches.
When we were taking the group photos, one of the most important photos which was of the bride and her family was completely left out. We have one of myself and my family and we have some of all of us, but none of just the bride and her family. This is despite that photo being explicitly defined on the list that we supplied to Gray Weddings ahead of time.
My arrival at the venue in a silver Bentley is completely absent from both the photographs and the video. The first shot of me on the day is where I’m stood outside the venue with my groomsmen, having already been there for about 20 minutes.
Discuss Any Specific Ideas You Want To Include
Gray Weddings ask you to provide a list of up to 10 group photos that you’d like to take on the day, and as described above, we provided a list that among others included a group photo of Nicola and her immediate family. As the wedding photographers, it is Gray Weddings’ role to ensure that the people required for these photos are herded together in front of the camera since the guests are just there to enjoy themselves. And although we got all of the other group photos that we requested, we didn’t get the one of the bride and her family.
I’ve spoken to George about this and he’s going to give it a go! We’ll let you know how we progress.
– The Grays, September 2017
Secondly, I’d let Nicola pretty much dictate every aspect of the photography and videography without challenge, but there was one thing that I wanted. As an 80s child, I grew up listening to 90s bands and among my favourites were the Smashing Pumpkins. They have a track that I really like called Thirty Three, and the video (seen here), directed by Billy Corgan and then-girlfriend Yelena Yemchuk, is very stylised. I wanted part of our wedding video in this style – which should have been possible given that we had 2 videographers and an amazing venue.
When I asked Gray Weddings about this in advance, they didn’t actually acknowledge the request which looking back was an early indication of things to come. So I asked again immediately after the wedding and the eventual response was that yes, their editor would see what he could do.
Despite suggesting that they would keep us informed of progress, we received no further updates on this. When the video was finally delivered several months later, the stop-motion style that I’d requested for at least a part of it was nowhere to be seen.
One 30-45 Minute Film Of Your Day & One 3-5 Minute Highlight Trailer
I’ve already alluded to the extreme delays that we had to endure before finally receiving our videos from Gray Weddings, but I’ll go into more detail on that in the next section. For now, I’ll just detail what we received vs. what we were meant to receive.
Instead of the above-specified formats, what we actually received were 1x highlight ‘trailer’ at 4 minutes and 53 seconds, 1x speeches video at 15 minutes and 14 seconds (where the bride is obscured for most of my speech since the 2nd videographer must have been asleep here) and 1x film at 13 minutes and 50 seconds.
Clearly, neither of those are a 30-45 minute film. Instead it seemed that what Gray Weddings had done was dump the contents of the two cameras sepatately, edited one of them and just sent us the other as it was. Then what they must have expected us to do was play the 15 minute film (which included footage from throughout the day) and the speeches separately – even though the chronological order of these meant that the speeches should have appeared about half way through the first video.
We didn’t find this to be acceptable so we went back to Gray Weddings to ask for the two videos to be combined into the one video that they should have delivered in the first place. More delays followed before we finally ended up with what we paid for.
First Class Timely Service
This is it. As is customary, I’ve kept the “best” until last (with “best” meaning “absolute worst” in this case). This is the icing on the Gray Weddings cake and the reason that you should avoid Gray Weddings.
Their customer service is HORRENDOUS. Edward in particular has NO IDEA how to treat his customers.
We’re Doing Everything We Can! Oh And We’re Taking Two Weeks Off
In December 2017, 3 months after our wedding and around the time we were expecting to receive our videos, Gray Weddings sent out a mass email telling everyone that their videos would all be delayed because of “workload”, “family issues” and the fact that they’d suffered a break-in. It seemed from the email that none of the equipment necessary for working on these videos was taken in said break-in so how it caused delays to the delivery of these videos was unclear.
The Grays suggested that the videos would instead be sent out by the end of January/early February. Although they claimed to be extremely sorry and that they were doing their “very best” to ensure that all videos went out as quickly as possible, this reassurance was somewhat nullified by the confirmation in the very next sentence that they’d be taking nearly 2 weeks off at the end of the month. I suppose we must have a very different understanding of the phrase “very best”.
February Comes And Goes
Despite the assurance in their mass email, January and February had come and gone and so too had most of March. Nicola sent them a quick email asking if they had an estimated delivery date but after waiting 4 days for a response, on the 27th, I also emailed to ask about progress.
I pointed out in this email that delays were understandable in certain circumstances but that they should always keep their customers informed and that they needed to respond to enquiries. I also pointed out that the problems that they had listed as reasons for delays in their mass email were themselves 3 months old by now, and yet we still hadn’t received anything other than vague “as soon as possible” estimates for turnaround. I asked if they could please provide a concrete date by which we would receive our videos, believing that once they had provided such a date, that they would be more driven to actually deliver on time.
Two days went by without a response from Gray Weddings, in addition to the four days that had already gone by since Nicola’s email. I decided therefore to try a new approach: I used a fake email address to pose as someone looking to hire a wedding photographer for a wedding later in the year. They responded immediately!
Edward Gray <email@example.com>
Thu 29/03/2018, 17:45
Thanks for your email.
We would be free and would love to help capture your day.
Our photo and film packages are either £2500 or £3250 depending on a few things. Have you decided/ seen which package you would like?
Let us know what you think,
I couldn’t believe it! They were clearly receiving our emails asking when we might receive our videos without issue and were simply deciding to ignore us, and here was the proof.
So I replied.
Ah, so your emails *are* working fine. That’s good to know.
This is Gareth. I emailed you two days ago to ask for a concrete date for when our video might be ready, as it is now over 6 months since the wedding. You haven’t replied so I wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong with your emails. This very swift response would suggest that your emails are working just fine.
So, look. We don’t want our relationship to go bad. That won’t be beneficial to either party. But repeatedly delaying delivery and not responding to requests for more information is only going to end up one way.
What’s the issue? Why is the video not ready? Did your guy forget to take the lens cap off the camera on the day? Did you lose the footage in the burglary? Did you loose the footage to a hard drive failure? Are you simply unable to keep up with the workload? Or is this all just a big con? Tell me.
We are not unreasonable people. If there is a genuine reason for the delay then of course, we understand that shit happens. But we’re done with ambiguous excuses now. We’d like to know either exactly when we’re getting the video, or exactly what the reason for the continued delay is. Just be honest. No more bullshit.
And since you’re obviously manning your inbox right now, I’d appreciate a reply tonight please.
With nowhere to hide, Gray Weddings had no choice but to reply. But we were just as concerned by the content of their response as we were in our earlier messages being completely ignored.
Edward Gray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thu 29/03/2018, 18:25
Clever way to get through!
I’d forwarded your previous email to our video guy and awaiting a response but I can tell you exactly the problem – we took on far too much work last year, 60 weddings.
We are slaving away and trying our best to get through all the workload, but it really has set us back massively. We are very sorry for the delay.
I’ll email George again and try and get an exact date for you.
Why should I need a “clever way to get through”? I’m a paying customer. We paid them a lot of money to turn up at our wedding, photograph it and video it. The videos were supposed to have been delivered 3 months ago. Why should I have to resort to using fake email addresses in order to get a response from them?
Why were they so readily accepting new work from new clients when they’re telling me that the reason we don’t have our video is because they have too much work?
And where was the apology for ignoring our earlier emails? Where was the apology for forcing me to resort to using a fake email address in the first place?
Instead what I get is a half-arsed apology for the extended delay and a sob story about how they can’t keep up with their workload. Well… stop taking on new projects then, guys.
The “video guy” that Edward refers to here rather impersonally while implying that they only communicate via email is actually George, his brother, who he no doubts speaks to pretty often. And as far as I can tell, George is not the only video editor in the country and so if they really wanted to keep up with demand then they could have simply hired more hands.
I replied to Edward one more time to point out that I’d already found a 1-star Trust Pilot review from a disgruntled customer and that he really need to buck up his ideas if he was going to avoid another. I also pointed out that this particular reviewer had done a rather poor job at venting his frustration because he’d only posted the review to a single site and he hadn’t considered search engine keywords in his content, which had almost made the review completely invisible. Finally, I pointed out that the next person to be left unhappy with their service might be a little more savvy.
This was all intended to wake Edward up to the fact that unless he changed his approach, I was going to post my own review – and I was going to do a much better job at it than that other guy. I really hoped this would spur Gray Weddings into getting their shit together and to deliver the service that they had promised and that we had paid for 6 months ealier. After all, in today’s online world, you cannot run a business this way and expect to get away with it.
On the subject of customer feedback, I’ve also noticed some negative feedback posted as comments on their Instagram feed but the problem with posting feedback there is that Gray Weddings are able to delete it, which of course they do.
But they will not be able to delete this one. 🙂
Gray Weddings Deliver The Videos… But They’re Not What Was Promised
Eventually we recived an email containing some Vimeo links to a couple of videos.
As I’ve already described, I had requested twice that the video mimic a certain style at least in parts, and despite confirmation that they’d look into this and update us on it, neither the main video nor the trailer featured even a second of this style and there was no mention of this omission from Gray Weddings. Having waited a whopping 8 months even for this though, I decided not to bother pursuing the matter.
Also, even the method of delivery was disappointing. They basically just dumped a couple of links in an email and said, “here they are” – not at all the kind of deliverable I’d expect having spent thousands of pounds on a supposedly professional wedding photography service. It was more along the lines of what I’d expect had I hired Kevin the Teenager for twenty quid.
After pointing out that the duration of the videos fell well short of what we were supposed to receive, we then waited another month (with several more unanswered emails in between) for the revised edit which did finally match the promised duration. By this point, the fact that it still didn’t feature even a second of the style that I’d requested was no longer surprising.
The last thing to be supplied was the album.
Gray Weddings supplied their digital photographs via a 3rd party website that allowed us to log in and select the photos that we wanted to add to a physical photographic album. Thanks to the videos taking an enormous 9 months to be completed, we hadn’t been in a position to definitively choose which photos we wanted to put into the album as to some extent it depended on what was covered by the videos and what wasn’t. With the videos finally in our hands, we were finally able to make our selections.
That was a few months ago and our initial email to check up on progress was met with an auto-responder stating that Gray Weddings would not be replying to emails for a couple of weeks – and this during peak wedding season. Astonishing.
Eventually, after yet another email, we did get a response at the start of September saying that they would get back to us about the album later that week.
Five weeks later it was mid-October and we still hadn’t received any further updates about the album, despite Nicola having emailed them twice during this time. So I sent the below.
Could you please stop taking the piss and reply to Nicola about this album? You’ve ignored 2 emails now since saying you were going to get back to her on the 10th of September.
This whole mess has been a far cry from the “first class timely service” you claim to provide on your website.
As we’re both so tired of your terrible service – which I am actually going to start writing about this afternoon since you’ve obviously learned absolutely nothing from any of our exchanges – an alternative would be for us to source an album from elsewhere and obviously you pay for it.
Let me know within the next few days which option you’re choosing please.
A further two days later we eventually received the following:
Edward Gray <email@example.com>
Mon 15/10/2018, 13:19
Hi Gareth and Nicola,
I’m really sorry, I’m not meaning to take the piss at all. I emailed the album company for an update and they haven’t got back to me – I realise I should have got back to you quickly though.
The album company are being even worse with their communication than we are and we are worried they aren’t fulfilling the jobs we have passed their way. It may be best for us to send you money for an album instead – would that be satisfactory?
So Edward had now taken to openly admitting that their communication is terrible. It made a welcome change from vague bullshit, but if they could acknowledge the problem then why not fix it?
The company that Gray Weddings use for their albums is Folio. After Edward’s claim that Folio weren’t getting back to him, I thought I’d try getting in touch with them myself.
Unlike Gray Weddings, Folio display a phone number prominently on their website and so I tried that – and again unlike Gray Weddings, they answered immediately. I was left wondering why Edward had been unable to contact these people for 5 weeks.
They couldn’t discuss another client’s work with me so they couldn’t go into specifics on Edward’s claims, and unfortunately they only work with photographers so I wasn’t able to cut Gray Weddings out of the equation and deal with them myself… so that left us with no option but to find an alternative supplier.
We found a supplier that provided an album very similar to that of Folio (except it had fewer pages) and sent over the cost in order to obtain the necessary refund from Gray Weddings. After sending a further catch-up email to prompt the Grays into responding, they sent this.
Edward Gray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thu 18/10/2018, 15:12
That’s fine, happy to do that. I’ll need to wait until the end of the month to transfer – is that Ok? We dont have the money spare right now as we need to get it back from Folio for the one we were working on for you.
Is that OK?
Setting aside the alarming fact that this wedding photography service claimed to not have ready access to £150, obviously that was not OK. Folio was nothing to do with us: our contract was with Gray Weddings and it was therefore Gray Weddings that bore responsible for refunding us – not Folio.
I put this to Edward and he replied with a statement that went some way to explaining why their service has been so shockingly bad – even if it didn’t excuse it. Gray Weddings has been wound up!
Edward Gray <email@example.com>
Thu 18/10/2018, 15:19
I’m really sorry, I would do that if we were still running Gray Weddings etc, but we stopped taking bookings after this summer and we’ve both started working for a charity and moved house so our funds are very low. I know this isn’t your problem, I’m just saying I actually cannot send the money over if I wanted until I get it back off Folio.
I’m really sorry for that – if you could wait until the end of the month we would be so thankful.
So, to the list of excuses which had so far consisted of “workload”, “family issues”, a break-in and suppliers who don’t reply (the irony!), Edward was now adding “moving house” and “working for a charity”. I wondered what they could possibly come up with next.
But had Gray Weddings really been wound up? Their website said they were actively looking for new projects – especially “location” weddings (who wouldn’t want a free holiday?) and their Facebook page was last updated 6 days before with a pre-wedding shoot. Companies House showed the company was still trading, even if it did have over £30k of debt on its books in March 2017.
On the Thursday the 18th of October, Edward said that he would “scramble together some money” and do his best to transfer “today”.
The next day, on Friday the 19th, Edward sent another email to say that he had just made payment. The payment was not made from a current account so it could take “up to 48 hours” to appear.
The whole of the next week went by without any sign of this payment. I had allowed enough time to account for even the slowest of transfers, just in case he was telling the truth about having used a non-current account. On Saturday the 27th when it was clear that no transfer had been made from any account at all, I emailed Edward and asked him to make the payment and to this time provide a screenshot of the confirmation screen. Edward did not reply.
On Sunday the 28th, I emailed again asking him to respond. Again he did not reply.
On Monday the 29th, I emailed and told him that if the payment wasn’t made today that I would be taking him to the small claims court. Within 9 minutes of that email, Edward replied with even more excuses. He said he would “check and see what happened” and get back to me later that day.
By 7pm that day we had received no payment and no further updates from Edward so I started the small claims court process online. For this though I needed his address and Edward had recently claimed that they had moved house. Given Edward’s track record I had no idea if this claim was actually true but if it was then I needed the new address. I emailed him to ask for it and pointed out that if he ignored this request then I would find it anyway and simply add the cost of finding it to the claim.
At 11.28pm that night, Edward finally replied with even more excuses and apologies:
Edward Gray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mon 29/10/2018, 23:28
I’m sorry I should have replied today. I have remade the payment, I entered the details incorrectly. It says it takes 24 hours to come through – I have a payment reference this time as well if you would like it.
I should have emailed today, I’m sorry again – but the only reason I hadn’t replied to your other emails was because two were sent this weekend when I wasn’t looking at my emails and the ones today have both been after 6pm. I have only by chance seen it now as I’m closing my computer down. I know this isn’t the point, I’m just letting you know that I’m not deliberately ignoring you.
Our new address is:
Thanks – please confirm it arrives and if it doesn’t arrive by very first thing Wednesday please let me know immediately.
I can’t begin to describe how sick and tired I was of Edward’s piss-poor excuses and apologies by this point.
Of course, first thing on Wednesday the money still wasn’t there but it did appear later.
Edward claimed that he’d made the original payment to the wrong account but what I suspect happened here is that no payment was made at all, and instead he lied to buy himself time so that he could make the payment on the day he had originally intended to – which was the last day of the month. I could be wrong here, but again given his track record I’m pretty sure that I’m not.
We found Gray Weddings to be most untrustworthy with multiple missed self-imposed deadlines revealing that they weren’t worth the paper they were written on.
Gray Weddings seemed to care very little about us once we’d paid their fees and were happy to ignore us for weeks at a time until they were tricked into responding to a fake email. Even then, they continued to ignore further emails and repeatedly required multiple requests for a response before reluctantly responding.
Anyone who knows how to manage customer relationships understands that a major factor in dealing with unhappy customers is communication: listening to the problem, working with the customer to find a solution and keeping them informed on progress.
Poor communication often angers unhappy customers more than the original issue, while good communication can often placate even the unhappiest of customers. This simple point forms a key part of pretty much every guide on how to deal with customers that I could find on the internet: see here, here, here, here, here or any number of alternatives.
However, Gray Weddings are completely CLUELESS in this area, and what’s worse is that they show absolutely no interest in learning about it either.
Even after I had spelt out the need to improve their communications (and on more than one occasion), Gray Weddings continued to behave in the same manner throughout this extended ordeal. This amplified our frustration far beyond what it might have been had the situation been handled more competently and by the time the refund for the album came through, I could have throttled Edward.
Their photography was more suited to architecture than to weddings, and although their output would have been acceptable for an architecture project as a result, their complete lack of customer service, transparency, reliability and remorse when caught out with that fake email account all mean that I wouldn’t touch them again with a barge-pole for any kind of project at all.
Companies that treat their customers like this earn the industry a bad name and deserve to go out of business. Whether Gray Weddings has really been wound up or not, I think that would certainly be the most appropriate outcome.