TULSA, Okla. — Before you ever say “I do” to your spouse, you first say “I will” when it comes to paying for your big day. However, a viral social media post last summer revealed a scandal in the wedding planning industry that stretches from Tulsa all the way to Key West, Florida.
One Oklahoma woman is accused of planning big, elaborate weddings for herself, but then not only does she not show up for them, she refuses to pay even a basic deposit for them as well.
“This was supposed to be the wedding of the year, Pinterest worthy, like the most elaborate wedding you could ever think of,” said Bailey Money, owner of Bailey Buschelman Photography in Omaha, Nebraska. “Everything was perfect. Everything was bougie. Everything was over the top, but that’s how Morgan’s always been.”
Bailey was hired by her childhood best friend, Morgan Newby, to take engagement and wedding photos for a mid-August wedding. She said she didn’t hesitate one bit to help out someone she had spent many good times with over the years.
“I like to give people the benefit of the doubt,” Bailey said. “I like to see the good in people. I don’t do that anymore, obviously.”
Bailey said as costs began to add up the closer the wedding date got, she began to ask Morgan for a deposit for her services. That is when every excuse in the book was given as to why payments were not being made, payments bounced, and other means to be paid failed.
“I was not about to back out cold turkey on my childhood best friend’s amazing, elaborate wedding less than a month too,” she said. “I was giving her every opportunity I could.”
As the mid-August date approached, Morgan told Bailey the Tulsa wedding was being moved to Key West, Florida. When Bailey arrived, Morgan was expected to pay her in full now the big day had finally come.
Bailey hopped on a plane to Key West, and said she was told reservations had been made for her in the way of a rental car and hotel room. However, when she arrived in Florida the day before the alleged wedding, she said the plans for Morgan’s wedding began to fall apart, and Bailey was left paying out of pocket just to have a place to sleep.
“Plane ticket, rental car, hotel, everything I had fronted so far,” Bailey said. “I showed up, and they look at me and say, ‘We have no reservation for you. We have nothing under Morgan’s name.'”
Frustrated, Bailey took to social media and posted everything that had happened to her within the last month. She said the debt totaled to more than $12,000. The post went viral on Facebook and Tiktok, and wedding venders in Tulsa began to respond they too had their time wasted. Morgan had never paid for their services despite making big plans, and some of them were hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in debt because of work they had done for Morgan.
“I just knew through the venders’ circle in Tulsa of how she had jumped around different people and stuff like that, but I didn’t know how big it got,” said Josephine Walden, owner of Just Catering By Orr in Tulsa.
Josephine showed FOX23 her file on Morgan Newby. She had attempted to hire Josephine for two weddings. One was supposed to take place in Guthrie with one man, and then Morgan reached out in July for an August wedding to a different man. Walden said Morgan demanded her best service for dozens of people.
“It’s crazy,” Josephine said. “It’s so crazy, but to do it without getting money transpired, it’s really crazy to me in general. Because normally, in our industry, nobody does anything until they’re paid in full before the wedding. And when she tried to pay us, it bounced.”
Josephine stopped service on Morgan’s wedding before costs began to pile up, but she said Morgan insisted payment was coming.
“We emailed her again and said her payment bounced, and she said her mom was going to pay it,” Jospehine said. “And then, she still kept going to get an astronomical quote for 80 people and was like, ‘I’ll pay for it,’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I don’t think it was going to happen,’ and then it was crickets.”
Across town around the same time, lash artist Stephanie Wehrli, owner of Sylk Aesthetic, said she was booked by Morgan for her best service. The extensive work was set to take two and a half hours, and Morgan agreed to a cancellation fee because it was such a big chunk of Wehrli’s day.
“If I would have booked other clients in that time frame, I would have made more money off of them,” Stephanie said. “So last minute cancellations really suck, especially when, you know, I have three babies at home, time is money, and you’re messing with my kids.”
Stephanie went to charge Morgan’s card on file for a cancellation fee when she didn’t show up for her appointment, but the card was declined. Stephanie sent Morgan multiple invoices for the cancellation fee, and she has still never heard back.
Until a colleague told her to read Bailey’s viral Facebook post, Stephanie didn’t realize she too was a part of a wedding that was never going to happen.
“I was in shock to see I wasn’t the only person,” Stephanie told FOX23.
Stephanie said Morgan had an elaborate excuse about why she needed to cancel her appointment, and Stephanie said she felt so bad for Morgan, she agreed to reduce the cancellation fee she owed. However, even with the lower amount, the invoice has still not been paid.
“She said ‘Hey, I’m so sorry my house got broken into. I’m headed to the ER. There’s blood everywhere.’ This whole huge story,” Stephanie explained. “I was like, how could I not believe it?”
FOX23 called multiple wedding-related businesses in the Tulsa area. Many of them remember dealing with Morgan very well. Many of them stopped working with her and some never even started once deposits were never made, and the excuses for non-payment began to pile up.
One local wedding planner told FOX23 on the phone, after cashing multiple checks for Morgan that bounced, her business is now saddled with hundreds of dollars in banking fees from her financial institution because of the penalty they put on people who deposit hot checks.
Other venders told FOX23 they believed Morgan was planning multiple weddings at the same time hoping the plans would just workout and come together despite non-payment. That is because, they said, multiple DJs, caterers, florists and even entire event venues were being booked for the same date.
But the Tulsa wedding wasn’t the only wedding being planned by Morgan. She had also been setting up a beachside wedding in Key West, Florida for the same mid-August date.
“She wanted to get a contract,” said Lyndsey Pineiro, owner of LMA Events in the Florida Keys. “The following weekend is when she wanted to be here.”
Lyndsey told FOX23 Morgan signed a contract for a beachside elopement set to take place on the same date as the Tulsa wedding, or weddings. The contract authorized Lyndsey to spend thousands of dollars in advance to make quick arrangements for the wedding that would take place in less than a week. Lyndsey said this didn’t seem unusual because of how frequent and fast beachside weddings take place in The Keys.
“People come from all over to Key West to Key Largo to Islamorada to get married, and often it’s like they would in Vegas, they show up and are like ‘We’re gonna do it.'” she said. “So no, it didn’t seem abnormal that she was trying to get here and get it done in a week.”
Lyndsey would spend more than $4,000 on cake and rare flowers and other arrangements Morgan ordered after the contract for service was signed.
The day before the wedding, someone did show up in Key West. It was Bailey, and quickly the two began to figure out Morgan wasn’t coming, Morgan hadn’t paid for anything and they stood together on the beach feeling scammed.
“It just went wild,” Lyndsey said. “All of a sudden, I got a text from Morgan after calling and calling saying ‘Hey, we’re not coming. We’re not getting on the plane. I don’t know if my relationship is intact anymore. Just send me an email, send me a bill, and I’ll make sure to get right with you.’ I said, ‘I have sent you the bill, and you have signed it, and you have it,’ and then she just completely ghosted me.”
If you’re wondering why no one called the police about any of this. FOX23 is told it really isn’t a crime to waste someone’s time. When it comes to bounced checks, declined credit cards and unpaid bills, it mostly is a civil matter.
For many venders, they considered going to the police, but when they went to collect Morgan’s information to help police track her down, social media was deactivated, phone numbers were disconnected, e-mails bounced back or were never responded to, and because of the nature of some of their agreements, no address was ever taken for records.
FOX23 Weekend Anchor Rick Maranon tracked down Morgan to her parent’s house in Oklahoma City. He left a note after being told she was not home. The note indicated that FOX23 was only interested in the unpaid debts and bounced checks. We were not going to dig into allegations of unpaid Taylor Swift concert tickets, claims of miscarriages and other health issues, and stories about bachelorette parties and spring break trips that turned into nightmares for others who also responded to Bailey’s post. We were simply interested in the claims of fraud made by multiple businesses.
The next day, Morgan called to set up a phone interview. She said she wanted to consult with an attorney. The day of the interview, she then postponed it saying she was having behavioral issues with her child. She then said during other attempts to reschedule that she wasn’t sure who she owed money. FOX23 provided her with a list of confirmed debts and a list compiled by wedding venders in multiple states who said they too were owed money for services Morgan booked. After setting a hard date she needed to respond to, Morgan said her attorney would reach out to us with a statement, but one never came.
Out of all of the venders who are owed money by Morgan, only one Tulsa business has successfully sued, had court papers served on her, and after Morgan didn’t show up for court, a judgement was entered against her for unpaid wedding invitations. The judgement orders interest to accumulate until the debt is paid off, and the order can be used to garnish future wages.
The vender told FOX23 they were relieved to finally have their day in court, didn’t want to go on camera because they just wanted to move on with life, and they feel, despite the judgement, they’ll never actually see any of the money owed to them.
Venders in Saint Louis, Missouri have also begun to come forward saying Morgan owes them for wedding services she entered into up there in 2022, and Lyndsey is in the process of taking Morgan to small claims court in Florida.
“I had plans for the money I was going to make,” Lyndsey said. “I was going to help my niece buy a car. This impacts real people who have real lives.”
After the post went viral, some Tulsa venders and Lyndsey tracked down the man Morgan was engaged to. They wanted to find out if any of it was real. FOX23 did not reach out to him, and we are respecting his privacy because he never signed any contracts with any venders for anything Morgan wanted. Her name was the only one on these contracts.
FOX23 is told the man is now her ex-fiancé, and he said at least when it came to the mid-August plans, he had no idea how much she had planned and how expensive it all had gotten. Many of them said they don’t know why this happened to them, and they can’t figure out why she signed contracts and planned big weddings she had no means to pay for.
One thing they know for sure, they are saddled with her debts long after the big day had passed. Multiple wedding-related businesses have now blacklisted Morgan from their services until debts are paid, and even if they’re paid off, FOX23 is told they will be hesitant to move forward with her as a client because of everything that’s happened.
If there is a silver lining to this story, it’s that a wedding did take place in the end.
While standing on a beach in Key West, Lyndsey gave away a wedding for free on social media for the mid-August date to anyone who could make it, and Bailey stuck around to photograph it. A lucky couple was selected, and they enjoyed all of the things Morgan ordered that Lyndsey already paid for, including rare, expensive flowers.
“It was so pretty,” Lyndsey said. “They got all the photos, and all the flowers, and luckily we had made a reservation for Morgan at Chao Bella Salon. So, when she didn’t show up for that appointment, my new bride Jade had hair and makeup done. There was an opening for her. It was like they just walked into what they deserved.”