PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s that most special of days — the wedding details have been worried over for months — but a late photographer, DJ or a caterer with the wrong order can spoil a bride’s dream.
“It might not be the most important of the day, but it’s part of the whole dream that every girl thinks of since she was wee little,” said Becky Hans, the mother of a bride.
How about someone hired to do the hair and makeup of a bride and her bridesmaids who doesn’t show up on the day of the wedding? It’s enough to bring a bride to tears.
“I’m really upset and sad that someone would prey up on us and take our money and basically disappear,” said Lindsey Rymarowicz, a bride-to-be.
KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan sat down with two brides and the mother of two others who say that’s what happened after contracting a woman named Jaime Arnold. She is a hair and makeup specialist who also goes by the name Jameson Leigh — and runs a local business called The Powder Room.
These women are only a small sampling. Internet message boards are filled with similar stories from dozens more who say Arnold either didn’t show up for the wedding, or canceled and never returned the deposit.
Moms like Jennifer Russo are out several hundred dollars, but say the wound is more personal than money.
“That she would go and do that to brides on her wedding day and bridal parties because as a mom, that’s a big important day for my daughter and I don’t want anything to go wrong, and so I’m actually very angry about it,” said Russo.
Arnold sold herself to the brides as a makeup artist to the stars, who worked on movie sets and could make the brides stars in their own rite on their wedding day, boasting of a long resume.
“I have a long history of education. I went to Bella capelin which is a Paul Mitchell school, then I went to New York City Mud Makeup School in SOHO Manhattan,” she claims.
Sheehan checked and found that neither Jaime Arnold nor Jameson Leigh has a state-issued cosmetology license, which you’re required to have in order to practice in Pennsylvania.
“That’s a red flag,” Warren King, of the Better Business Bureau, said.
It’s against the law to practice without a license and the Better Business Bureau began investigating Arnold this summer. After receiving a dozen complaints. the bureau slapped her with an F rating for failing to address any of them.
“Where she was taking deposits and not doing the work. We wrote to the company saying please respond to the Better Business Bureau and there was no response to them either,” King said.
But the question now is just where is Jaime Arnold?
She doesn’t answer any of her phone numbers, her website has been taken down. Sheehan even went to her business location in East Liberty, but no one had seen or heard from her in more than a month.
Sheehan contacted her attorney to ask him about the complaints and her whereabouts and he answered by email:
“My client has not authorized me to make a statement, and I decline to comment on the situation.”
All of this has left brides-to-be like Holli Helster in the lurch. She’s now swallowing her $440 deposit and finding another makeup artist for her and her bridesmaids.
“I want to feel beautiful on my wedding day. I’m glad I found out. How am I going to do my hair and makeup? How I’m going to find someone to do nine hair and makeup? I wouldn’t be able to,” Helster said.
But, if Arnold ever surfaces, they’d all like a refund and more.
“I would like her to make some type of apology to all the brides she has taken money from. Pay everybody back,” said Russo.