Monday, July 17, 2017

What It's Like When Your Bridal Shop Closes

I'm good at making decisions. I'm logical and levelheaded, and I'm great at finding the best deal. I'm bad at making quick decisions. I need to explore every option before finally committing. That's why it took me eight stores, two cities, one overnight stay, and 50 dresses before picking my wedding dress.

I had gone into one shop, let's call it Shop A, in a town about two hours away and tried on a bunch of duds. Nothing caught my eye. I told the consultant that I had liked a James Clifford dress at another shop, and they offered to sell me the sample at a discount, but I wasn't quite sure about it. So this consultant at Shop A told me she could order me the same James Clifford dress at 10% off if I ordered right then and there. That made the dress the same price as the sample dress I saw, so I still wasn't sure. I took the consultant's card and left.

The next day, I went into Shop B. "Did you go to Shop A?" the consultant asked me. I told her I did, but I wasn't impressed. "It was on the news last night. Did you see?" I had not. She then started to tell me a story about how Shop A was taking money, claiming it was ordering dresses, then, when brides and bridesmaids came to pick up the dresses they paid for, they weren't available. So they were forced to pick out dresses off the rack -- which means they often didn't fit and bridesmaids were sent down the aisle with clips down their backs.

Thank goodness I didn't purchase from Shop A, I thought as I was trying on dresses in Shop B. I found one that I liked, which basically fit me perfectly, which was great since it was from a designer who only created one of each dress and despite the consultant actually calling him directly, he refused to sew me one that was a little bigger.

"So just lose five pounds," she told me. That's not exactly what you want to hear when you're trying on wedding dresses, but the whole wedding dress purchase process is a bit cray cray. I had about ten months before our wedding day, so I figured that was possible. "Then come back and get your alterations two weeks before your wedding," the consultant said. "Our tailor is here on Wednesdays." I was told they would be done that day since I was about two hours away.

My mom thought my dress needed a little bling, so we picked out a belt at the same time. The shop owner told me I could wait until alterations to get that sewn in, so that's what I did.

Fast forward nine months.

Our wedding was three or so weeks away, so I called Shop B. No answer. I tried an hour later. No answer. I tried the next day. Someone answered, so I asked about making an appointment for alterations on Wednesday, explaining what I was told when I bought my dress. "Our tailor won't be here Wednesday," I was told. No big deal, I thought, and asked what day the tailor would be there. "Well ... " pause "We're actually closed and the shop's number directs to my cell phone, so the tailor won't be available until we reopen." When will that be, I asked. "Oh, we're not sure. Maybe a year?"

Aye yai yai.

Thank goodness I had my dress and hadn't left it there for safe keeping, as I know brides were able to do.

So I did the only thing I could think of: I googled local seamstresses. I found one that looked amazing and went to her website. She was on maternity leave indefinitely.

I checked out the second on the list -- and she was actually in Australia. Second best in my large town in North Carolina was actually in Australia? Thanks, Google. Gotta fix those geo-tags.

So I tried option three. The phone rang and, to my surprise, someone answered. I told my tale of woe and the woman on the phone told me it was fine, they would take care of me, but I had to be at the shop at 1pm the next day. No later.

The shop was 20 minutes away but I left an hour before, just to make sure. Well, wouldn't you know, I have to cross a bridge to get there and the bridge had an unscheduled opening. I'm serious when I tell you that anything that could go wrong during our wedding planning went wrong. I called the shop frantically to explain the situation. "It's fine," the woman told me on the phone. "But the lady who will be doing your alterations, well, her husband just had a heart attack and she needs to get to the hospital, so just get here as soon as you can."


Short story long: I get to the shop, she pins my dress, alters it, and I pick it up a few days before our wedding.

I tell you this story now because Alfred Angelo is all over the news. The Florida-based bridal dress shop closed. Out of nowhere. Closed without warning, without telling brides who had paid deposits, without fulfilling orders.

Oh my heart breaks for the brides, the bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom, the flower girls, the employees ... anyone affected by this situation. To not know if you'll be able to get your dress -- one you spent hours shopping for and hundreds of dollars paying for -- it's a wedding headache that you don't need.

Things will go wrong at your wedding. They always do. No wedding is perfect. Bridesmaids drop out, best men turn into ghosts, guests who RSVP yes just don't show up. These things always happen. But what doesn't always happen is a dress shop going out of business.

Oddly, it happened to me because like I said, our wedding was the Murphy's Law of weddings. Shop B, it actually ended up opening back up sometime between our first and second wedding anniversary. Not in time for me, but in time for other brides. And that may happen with Alfred Angelo. It may open again or it may not. I have no idea, to be honest. All I know is right now, there are a ton of brides and bridal parties who my heart aches for.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Are you affected by this? Chat with us in the comments below or in our Facebook post about this from over the weekend.


  1. The Alfred Angelo news was sad to hear for all of those brides. I only have one daughter and although many might thing it was crazy, due to her future husband was returning to the US from Korea we actually had only 7 weeks to plan her wedding. It was a blessing, no time to second guess things, she just had to make decisions quickly. Thanks for sharing your story at Celebrate Your Story!

  2. Wow, so sad. A wedding is suppose to be fun for the bride and groom. What a nightmare, so glad you got your dress and I am sorry to say I have heard about this happening all together too often.

  3. My goodness. I was nervous for you just reading this. I can't imagine what it was like having to go through all of that. And to all the brides out there that are affected by Alfred Angelo, I hope they can get back up on their feet and find their dress! You are right, something will always go wrong, but just remember why you are doing it celebrate your love and that's all that matters.

  4. So glad you took your dress home with you. Such a nightmare when these shops go out of business.

  5. Holy cow, You have been through the ringer! And those poor brides, planning a wedding is stressful enough w/o all that bull. I am so glad it worked out for you. You poor thing!

  6. I actually bought my wedding dress at Alfred Angelo last November for my May wedding. I stopped by there on a whim after an absolutely disastrous appointment at David's (poor customer services, poor selection in my price point, etc... I actually had an amazing experience with AA-perfect dress, perfect customer services, excellent tailoring. I'm so sad that other woman couldn't have this experience.

  7. I have heard of this sort of thing happening, and it's just so sad! Thank goodness you kept your dress, and were able to find a good alterationist. But how stressful! Thank you for sharing your experience - I think if I was buying a wedding dress now I'd do what you did so I had the dress for sure! Thank you for sharing with us at Hearth and Soul. Hope to see you again when we return from summer break on Monday August 7th.

  8. Wow, I've heard about these type of stories. How sad, that a business would leave a future bride in that kind of stress. So glad everything worked out for you, and thanks for sharing your story on Sunday's Best.