Scores of brides were jilted last week, leaving them scrambling to find a gown for their wedding day after a national retailer announced its bankruptcy.
Alfred Angelo Bridal abruptly closed 60 bridal stores Thursday night after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company, whose headquarters is in Delray Beach, Fla., also sells at 1,400 locations. As news sites reported the closings, brides-to-be were sent into a frenzy to track down dresses they paid for. Several incidents were reported at stores across the U.S., with bridezillas banging on doors as they stared at their dresses through the glass.
"I drove all the way here from work," one customer at a Springfield, Va., location told Fox 5 DC. "I'm hoping my dress is in there. The wedding is in three weeks and half the bridesmaids don't have their dresses."
Another woman found out the bridal store closed while she was at the gym Thursday evening. She said she immediately rushed to the location that was holding her dress only to be told the dreaded news -- she might not get her dress, or a refund.
"The chances of us getting our dresses and getting our money back – who knows? Right now, I'm like, 'Do I start looking for another dress? Am I out a thousand dollars?' What kind of business practice is this?" Manuela Rayner told the news station.
"One of the saleswomen inside told me that in the Richmond store, they had to close at 4 [p.m.] because there was an assault. I guess somebody showed up, kind of like how I feel right now – a little bit frantic," she added.
The company's website and social media accounts did not mention any possible closing before Thursday. The last tweet on Alfred Angelo's Twitter was posted last Tuesday, featuring a bride in a fishtail dress with the caption, "That mermaid life."
People who visited the website on Sunday were met with a large, bolded message that read: "apologizes for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event." The company said more information on the status of dresses will be posted on the site at a later date.
Patricia Ann Redmond, a Miami bankruptcy lawyer representing Alfred Angelo, told The Miami Herald that she received more than 7,300 emails by Friday.
"I’ve been prioritizing them by the dates of their weddings," Redmond told the news station.
Redmond said stores were advised to ship out dresses that were already paid for before they shuttered their doors, but not all locations followed through with the promise.
"There are still dresses due to brides in the stores," Redmond said. "People are calling and saying, 'My dress is in the store, and I can see it.'"
Other bridal chains are stepping in to help by discounting dresses for affected customers. In California, rival bridal shop Enchanted Bridal is offering to help Alfred Angelo customers who paid for dresses.
"We just decided, let's take them," Jennifer Baker Blackman, owner of Enchanted Bridal, told KMAX. "If we don't take them they're never going to get their dresses."
Blackman said though she helped many women, her shop couldn't rescue dresses for every bride-to-be. One woman went to Enchanted Bridal with a receipt for a $2,000 dress and veil. She only got the veil.