HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Brides were devastated and police were called after a popular bridal shop in Short Pump closed without warning. The closure left brides and their bridal parties scrambling for dresses just weeks before the big day.
Alfred Angelo Bridal and their 62 stores nationwide are filing for bankruptcy protection, and Thursday night at the stores Short Pump location, tempers ran high and police were even called as dozens of women came to try and find their dresses that many have already paid thousands of dollars for.
Alfred Angelo Bridal has a sign in their window advertising “fairy tale weddings.”
“They’ve kinda crushed my daughter’s dreams, now I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Kerri Ross, whose daughter’s wedding is two months away.
“They’ve kinda crushed my daughter’s dreams, now I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Brides, bridesmaids and mothers alike say this is more like a nightmare than a fairy tale.
“I don’t have a dress, I don’t have my veil that I ordered,” said Kayla Noe, who has paid in full for her wedding dress.
“I came to pick up my bridesmaid dress, I am the maid of honor,” said Haley Hampton, who was also looking for her fully paid for dress Thursday night.
8News decided to pay Alfred Angelo Bridal a visit to try and see what upset brides could do.
“We’ve heard that a lot of brides are having issues with having paid their bills, but they can’t get a dress now, their wedding gown, their bridesmaid dresses,” 8News Investigative Reporter Parker Slaybaugh asked one of the employees at the bridal store.
“No comment,” responded the employee.
“Are they being ripped off?” Slaybaugh asked.
The store employees were not willing to speak with us.
“Is there any way that these brides can get their dresses or get their money back at least?” Slaybaugh questioned.
Two store representatives asked Slaybaugh to leave and walked he and his photographer to the door.
“Is there any way the brides can get any money back?” Slaybaugh asked once more.
As he was leaving, one employee gave 8News a piece of paper that said, “Store Closed” and also listed an email address to email for further information. Once 8News left, brides continued to pour in trying to get answers, however the doors were locked.
“I tried to call the store and no one would answer, so that is why I just thought I’d come down here and see,” said Tedra Buckler as she also looked, to no avail, for her dress.
At one point one customer even called police after she says one of the store employees would not allow her inside to pick up bridesmaids dresses for her wedding next month. That woman, too shaken to speak to 8News, said one employee slammed her arm in the door.
“I mean, how do you tell your daughter that, they don’t have your wedding dress, they might not have the wedding dress of your dreams anymore?” said Ross.
So exactly how much money are brides out of?
“I paid $194,” said Buckler
“Over $300,” said Hampton.
“About $800,” said Zenobia Nance.
“About 1300,” said Ross.
“1300,” said Noe.
“She has paid them $2400,” said Amy Burrell.
Brides and mothers of the bride wondering where do they go from here.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” said Nance.
“I want to cry, I just want to cry,” said Ross.
There is one glimmer of possible hope; some brides say they received a call from a private seamstress Thursday who says she does alterations for Alfred Angelo Bridal and their dresses are at her house, but for one woman she wants $600 to release it.
So, 8News stopped by that seamstress’ house, but someone home closed the blinds on us.
A man could be heard inside, saying, “no comment” and “Go to Alfred Angelo.”
8News asked the man inside if they are telling brides that they have their dresses inside. No one ever answered or came to the door.
A few things important to mention: 8News tried to email the email address on the paper the store gave us and that is posted on the door, but the email did not go through.
Some of the brides we spoke with say the employees at the store when we visited were there not even getting paid by the corporate company, but showed up to help as many people as possible. However, they did lock the doors around 3:30 without giving anyone notice.
After our story aired, many in the community have reached out to 8News to offer their support. One local baker has offered to give a 50 percent discount on a wedding cake or cupcakes for brides who have been affected by the shop’s abrupt closure. Those interested can email Lynn McCool Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another woman has offered to donate her bridal dress. Stephanie Wolters says the dress is a size 16 with minimal alterations.
“I wasn’t sure what to do with it and I will never need it again or be able to pass it down,” Wolters said. “I want to help a bride fulfill her wedding dreams.”
Those interested in the dress or to see pictures can contact her email@example.com.