Stay Away From TWA

We chose TWA because we were repeatedly told that TWA was a gay friendly and inclusive photography vendor. We relied on that promise and ended up spending a significant amount of money with TWA, which we feel could have been money spent better elsewhere for a product that was as good or better quality.

As early as November 2015, when I called the TWA office, the first question I was asked to look up my account was, “What is the bride’s maiden name.” Obviously, as a gay couple, that is offensive because I neither am a bride nor do I have a maiden name. I expressed my extreme displeasure to Nick, our initial contact. Both Nick and Bill, a director, apologized and Bill promised that the office staff would be trained and that the mistake would not happen again.

Unfortunately, the mistake did happen again. Almost every single email we received, print material, PDFs, and each survey included words such as “bridal,” “bridal party,” “bridal album,” “what the bride would like,” “what our brides prefer,” etc. Further, our photographer (Larry) constantly fumbled with how to refer to a non-traditional couple by saying bridal party or bride. These words create an unwelcome environment for LGBT couples and TWA should know better. These “mistakes” clearly demonstrate that TWA has not taken any steps to review its materials, training its personnel, the photographers they work with and its office staff.

Were this 2013, the mistakes would be understandable. However, same sex marriage was signed into law in Illinois in November 2013 and became effective in June 2014. That means TWA had over 3 years to prepare. That means TWA had 3 years to review all of its materials and to make sure that gender neutral terms could be used; terms that are already well-known and commonly used in the broader market. Instead of taking that easy step, TWA had the audacity to ask us in the midst of our wedding planning to tell them the parts of their materials that had problems. This attitude does not exemplify a service attitude.

To be clear, none of our other vendors had the same problems or lack of respect. We never felt like any of our other vendors would fumble and announce us as the bride and groom or as the bridal party. We never felt the same confidence with TWA. We always felt like we had to correct and implore TWA to take into consideration that there are lots of same sex couples looking for good service providers. Our concerns and requests fell on deaf ears.

To make matters worse, TWA’s customer service is horrific. Their response time goes well beyond what is reasonable in a service environment (i.e., 24 hours). In fact, sometimes, we didn’t get a response at all. We also had to argue with the customer service personnel about charges that we did not think were appropriate, leaving us the impression that the money was more important to TWA versus the service. We never had any follow-up on the status of our prints or our album. We always had to follow-up and then when we were told prints were being sent to us via courier, we did not receive the prints for over 2 weeks, when we should have received the package in 2-3 days (which means they weren’t sent until after we repeatedly reminded and asked, without any kind of response).

Do NOT use TWA whether you are a heterosexual or gay couple. This company is only interested in making money and not interested in making you feel special or your day perfect.

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