As he reflected on the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously referred to Dec. 7, 1941, as “a date which will live in infamy.”
As he reflected on cold food and a concert by Nelly in court documents, real estate developer Craig Spencer less famously referred to March 26, 2022, as “a day that will go down in infamy.”
That is the day that his daughter married her husband. Or, in Spencer’s words, the day that his family endured “a horrific wedding nightmare costing over two million dollars.”
On Tuesday, Spencer and his wife, Barbara, sued Alchemy Concert Systems, a company in the small Western Slope town of Carbondale, for its alleged role in that nightmare.
The nuptials of Arielle Spencer and Caleb Hodge last March were to be a spare-no-expense dream wedding atop Aspen Mountain, complete with a gondola ride, a 12-piece band flown in from Los Angeles and a private performance by a once-prominent rapper. The event was overseen by Mindy Weiss, wedding planner to the stars, who was paid $100,000.
But when an engineer tested Alchemy’s stage and sound equipment in the hours before the wedding, the entire audio system shut down and couldn’t be revived, the Spencers say.
“The failure of the audio system caused a cascading number of issues that essentially ruined the wedding,” according to Tuesday’s lawsuit, which was filed in Denver federal court.
Stalling to give technicians time, Weiss pushed the guests’ 5:30 p.m. gondola ride back an hour, which moved the 6:30 p.m. wedding to 7 p.m. So, the 7 p.m. cocktail hour couldn’t start until 7:35 p.m. and that 8:20 p.m. entrance by the bride and groom? Not until 9:15 p.m.
“When the bride and groom entered the reception, instead of the 12-piece band flown in from Los Angeles to perform for guests, there was no music other than a DJ playing music through a single, barely audible speaker,” according to the lawsuit blaming Alchemy for that.
While the band “fidgeted around on stage, cursing and looking frustrated,” technicians tried and failed to fix Alchemy’s equipment, “making guests feel awkward and uncomfortable.”
The deluge of delays pushed dinner back an hour, so the food was cold “and the time between courses severely condensed.” Meanwhile, the band played on with faulty equipment, limiting their repertoire to the few songs they could be heard playing, the lawsuit claims.
And then there was Nelly. Scheduled to play at 11:30 p.m., the rapper instead took the stage at 12:20 a.m. As he played a shortened set — events on the mountain must end at 1 a.m., so guests can ride the gondola down before it stops running — the audio crashed again.
“All in all, most attendees of the Spencers’ wedding, including … Nelly agreed that the reception was a complete debacle, some calling it a ‘total (expletive)-show,’” the lawsuit claims.
Alchemy did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit. Its founder, John Czechowicz of Carbondale, did not return phone calls to his office and cellphone Wednesday.
The Spencers are suing Alchemy for breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment. The wealthy couple said they paid $80,000 for the bad equipment that Alchemy provided.
The lawsuit does not say how much money the Spencers believe they are owed by Alchemy and their lawyers declined to answer that question Wednesday. They are represented by Christopher Bryan and Macklin Henderson with Garfield & Hecht in Aspen.
The Spencers are also suing Weiss, the wedding planner, in Los Angeles. That lawsuit, filed in April, echoes many of the same complaints as Tuesday’s, according to media reports, but also claims that chairs at the reception were too heavy. As a result, guests couldn’t enjoy the horah, a traditional Jewish dance in which the bride and groom are carried on chairs.
To make matters worse, TMZ reports that Arielle Spencer and Caleb Hodge are divorcing.