TAMPA, Fla. - After a small, simple wedding the first time around for their 5th anniversary, Justin and Victoria McIlwain decided to go all out.
"I've always wanted a big wedding," said Victoria of her childhood dream.
The two planned to renew their vows in January of next yearwith a cake, DJ, photographer, and florist.
"I had my dress, the bridesmaids were getting all ready," said Victoria, who then got some unexpected news from her husband overseas.
Justin, an army reserve specialist based in Tampa, received a change of orders. Where he'll be in January is unknown, meaning Victoria's dream wedding is now on hold.
"When you're part of the military and they tell you to go, you don't ask any questions," said Victoria of her husband's career in the Army.
Victoria said she immediately began contacting everyone involvedafter learning the news.
"We will work with you because it's out of your control," she recalled businesses telling her. "Every single vendor, except for one, worked with me."
Christine Hackett is Victoria's florist.
"My heart goes out to her," said Hackett, who operatesa smallwedding flowerbusiness called "The Bridal Florist" out of her north Tampa home.
Hackett said she feels bad, but also said the $640 deposit paid by the McIlwain's is non-refundable.
"I have a contract on it and the date was saved for her," said Hackett.
Hackett admitted she hasn't purchased any flowers for next year's wedding, but did spend valuable time with the bride planning arrangements and even turned down another wedding for the same date.
"It's just business! I'm trying to earn a living in this lousy economy too," said Hackett, who said brides cancel and lose their deposits formany different reasons.
But Victoria is upset that, given the circumstances, she's not being issued a refund. "With nine months notice, what have you done with my deposit that you can't refund me my money?"
She said she's especially disappointed given the fact her husband is serving to protect his country and the circumstances are out of their control. "I don't understand how people can disrespect the military. They don't understand what he does," Victoria said in tears.
But the florist said Victoria knew ahead of time what she was signing and even sent an e-mail articulating her willingness to forfeit the deposit.
"She knew he was still getting booted around everywhere... now everybody has to stop and make her happy. I can't do that."
Hackett went on to point out the Marriott Hotel in downtown Tampa also was unable to refund a $4,800 deposit for the reception.
UPDATE: Florist Christine Hackett has since refunded half of the $640 deposit citing her appreciation for Justin's service overseas. The Marriott has also offered to honor the couple's full deposit throwing a going away party for Justin when he is redeployed.