NBC 5 Responds

With Ceremony Date Set, North Texas Couple Says Wedding Coordinator Goes Silent, Dodges Calls

NBC Universal, Inc.

A couple of months before their wedding day, a North Texas couple said the person they paid to plan the event was not returning calls and emails.

With their entire wedding budget on the line, they looked for answers. That’s when they say they learned their wedding coordinator was the subject of another NBC 5 Responds story in 2021.


A few weeks before their November 19, 2022, wedding date, Brittney Nichols and Benny Hernandez said they learned their fully paid, all-inclusive micro-wedding wasn’t going to happen.

“No decorations, cake, food, nothing. So, this next three weeks is a battle to try to figure out how to get everything together,” Nichols told NBC 5 last fall.

The couple showed NBC 5 a contract Hernandez signed in March of 2022 for a wedding and reception at the Finley Chapel and Event Center in Krum, Texas. The contract stated the $8,500 cost would include an officiant, photographer, venue, wedding coordinator, buffet-style meal, cake, set up and clean-up, too.

After making their last payment in September of 2022, the couple said they couldn’t get in touch with the coordinator. They said the coordinator introduced herself as Diane McKnight Williamson.

“What’s going on here? We need the bartender. We need the DJ. We need the florist. I need my bouquets. You know, she just wouldn’t answer us,” said Nichols.

With their wedding approaching, the couple said they found another phone number for the Finley Chapel and connected with a couple who owns the building.

Hernandez said the owners told him the coordinator, Diane, was leasing the space and was locked out since late June for failing to pay rent.

Hernandez, who said he made payments on the wedding in July, August and September, went to Krum Police.

“It was just a huge slap in the face,” Nichols said.

“It’s a lot of overtime that we had to work,” Hernandez added.

In the report, an investigator writes that police asked Hernandez to look at a driver’s license photo to identify the wedding coordinator. Police wrote the person Hernandez said he knew as Diane McKnight Williamson is actually Cynthia Diane Williamson.


Cynde Williamson was the subject of an NBC 5 Responds story in August of 2021 when NBC 5 spoke with four couples planning weddings and a fifth family planning a quinceañera. All said they paid Williamson for their events only to learn she was no longer in the venue in DeSoto.

The 2021 news story included an audio clip of a voicemail that played when NBC 5 called the venue. The woman’s voice in the voicemail recording stated, “Unfortunately, we are not conducting tours or booking new events for 2021 or 2022.”

Nichols said, “I went in, watched the whole news report and her voice was on the video. I was, like, 'yep, that’s her.'”

In the 2021 story, NBC 5 Responds reported that our team reached out to the venue through email and a social media page. At that time, an attorney called back and said Cynde Williamson was still in business and looking for a long-term location.

In 2021, an attorney for Williamson told NBC 5 COVID forced changes and the business was going above and beyond to accommodate and fulfill its obligations. Some of the consumers who spoke with NBC 5 in 2021 said they were promised refunds.

NBC 5 checked back in early 2023. The consumers in the 2021 story tell us they did not receive money back from Cynde Williamson, including Chanequa Ned-Bryant and Toddy Jack.

“I actually didn't hear anything else from her. No emails, no texts, no calls, nothing,” said Ned-Bryant.

“We paid our entire wedding in full and we had never heard from her again after that,” Jack told NBC 5 Responds.

Jack said he and his wife ended up scrapping plans for their traditional Nigerian celebration with family.

“In the Nigerian culture, having a wedding means everything to your father,” Jack said.

His father has since passed away.

“I'm trying to hold it together, but the more I think of it, I'm not lying, I cannot get that back,” Jack said. “I mean every word that I said when I said that that was his pride, and he would have done anything in the world to make sure that we had a wedding.”

“It got stolen from us, like, right out of our hands,” Jack continued.

“I don't think she's going to stop because this is not her first time doing this to people. She basically just went from another county to another county doing this,” Ned-Bryant said.


Back in Denton County, we met Stephanie Gillette. She said her son and future daughter-in-law were planning to get married at the Finley Chapel in the spring of 2023.

“This is Diane McKnight. This is the woman we met with at the chapel,” said Gillette while showing NBC 5 a photo she said she received during the wedding planning.

Gillette said they met with a person who introduced herself as Diane McKnight. She showed us a contract, electronically signed “Diane Williamson.”

Last summer, Gillette said the couple became concerned with slow communication from Diane.

“I called the actual chapel. I got the number that was associated with the chapel and not her cellphone and left a voicemail,” Gillette said.

Gillette said she, like Benny Hernandez, talked to the building owners who told her Diane was no longer in the space.

“The first thing they’re telling me is that this woman, Diane, has taken our money and that there’s not going to be a venue,” Gillette recalled. “I’m just kind of in shock.”

Gillette said the family stopped making payments for the wedding and have not heard from Diane since.

Gillette said, “This isn’t a way to live life and you’ve hurt a lot of people. I mean, not only hurt them financially, but emotionally.”

NBC 5 shared the photo Gillette received during the wedding planning process with the five consumers we interviewed in 2021. Some, in person and all by text.

Each consumer told us: they recognize Diane as Cynde Williamson, the coordinator they hired in DeSoto.

Stephanie Gillette, Benny Hernandez and Brittney Nichols tell us this was the only person they met at the Finley Chapel. They said they made payments for their weddings and communicated through an online portal.

The couple who owns the Finley Chapel and Event Center building spoke with NBC 5 Responds by phone. They said they didn’t have control of the portal and rented the Finley Chapel building to a person they believed to be Diane McKnight Williamson until locking her out of the venue in late June for nonpayment of rent and utilities.

The owners said they, too, are trying to get in touch with their former tenant.

NBC 5 Responds has tried to connect with Cynthia Williamson by phone, email and a certified letter to a DeSoto home address in Williamson’s name. We visited the home and left a note on the door when no one answered.

NBC 5 also tried calling, emailing and sending a certified letter to the attorney for Cynde Williamson who responded to our questions in 2021.

We haven’t heard back.

The consumers in DeSoto tell us they’d contacted the police back in 2021 and were told the matter was civil. After Hernandez filed a report, police in Krum told him and NBC 5 it, too, amounted to a civil dispute.


We asked Clayton Hodges, an attorney who heads the consumer practice team at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, who is not involved in this case, if consumers have any options.

“If you can show that they have provided a service or taken money for a service with no intention of giving it, then that is a deceptive trade practice,” said Hodges.

He explains Texas law allows consumers to sue for up to triple the damages and other fees, often in small claims court where a consumer wouldn’t have to hire an attorney.

Hodges adds getting a judgment can be half the battle, the business would still have to be compelled to pay the judgment.

One of the consumers we talked to in 2021, Judith Madrigal, told NBC 5 her family was able to get their money back after disputing charges with her bank.

Stephanie Gillette, one of the consumers in Krum, also got her money back because the family had wedding insurance.

After filing a claim, she said the insurance company covered the loss, including the cost of invitations that would have to be re-printed with a new venue address.

You can read more about wedding insurance in a previous NBC 5 Responds report here.

The cost of a wedding insurance policy can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand, depending on what’s covered and coverage limits. The Texas Department of Insurance advises consumers to ask lots of questions and make sure you understand exactly what the policy covers before you make a commitment.

When we sat down with Nichols and Hernandez, they said they were considering small claims court as they joined a growing list of consumers whose dream days were derailed.

“Every girl, when they're growing up, they always dream of this big, fancy wedding. Ours wasn't big and fancy, but it was nice and it’s what I wanted,” Nichols said. “It just got ripped away from me in a second.”

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.

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