NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of brides across the country have been stood up.
Not at the altar, but at their bridal shops.
Alfred Angelo Bridal abruptly shut down stores after filing for bankruptcy, leaving brides and their bridesmaids without gowns.
Wedding planning is already stressful. But imagine losing a dress after picking one out and paying for it.
“There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty,” one woman told CBS2’s Jessica Borg.
That goes for brides across the country that are showing up at Alfred Angelo Bridal stores and seeing “closed” signs.
Its 60 signature stores suddenly shut down Thursday, warning customers they had only hours to pick up their dresses or lose them.
Some posted signs reading, “we shipped everything we had in the store to your house,” and “we are so sorry, we knew nothing.”
“I did pay my down payment. Am I going to get a refund? Do I need to start looking for another dress? I don’t know,” customer Alejandra Bustamante said.
“I just didn’t think it’s right to take people’s money and say you’re not going to give them refunds,” another woman added.
Nancy Lockton’s gown wasn’t ready. So in a panic, she picked up a sample dress.
“Along the same lines, minus the sleeves and minus the people trying it on. And I added three inches,” she said.
Tonya Odom also had a few more fittings to go before her October wedding.
“I wasn’t able to sleep. I had to get up and camp there, and at least make an attempt to pick up my dress that’s paid for,” she said.
After more than 70 years of supplying other stores and selling retail, the company is reportedly filing for bankruptcy.
Madison Debany, manager of RK Bridal on the West Side of Manhattan, said every year the store sells hundreds of thousands of dollars in Alfred Angelo dresses.
She told Borg she felt blindsided by the shutdown.
“I’m very disappointed on how it was handled on the top level,” she said.
Experts say the Alfredo Angelo bridesmaids dresses have been especially popular. At RK Bridal they have about 100 open orders.
The store is now helping customers in a rush to replace those orders.
“We don’t want them to be penalized for something that all of us never saw coming,” Debany said.
CBS2’s own Andrea Grymes fell in love with one dress for her five bridesmaids and said they are “starting from scratch now.”
“I’m just so grateful that they did not place the order, because they were literately going to place it today,” she said.
Fortunately, the shop she was using gave them back their deposits.
Angry brides took their frustrations to social media, with some even saying they’re willing to give up their once-worn dresses to those affected. One woman tweeted she’s so disgusted, she’ll give away her gown for free.
The silver lining for others is that Saturday is the National Bride Sale Event. Some stores are offering 75 percent off on the last Alfred Angelo dresses they have.
Other manufacturers are trying to help retailers and customers who placed Alfred Angelo orders. Many aren’t charging rush fees to get new dresses to brides and bridesmaids that need them.