Saying yes to the dress is a moment most women dream of, but for many Alfred Angelo customers, that dream has turned into a nightmare.
Several women bought dresses from Alfred Angelo stores in North Texas, putting their trust in a bridal retailer that's been around for more than 80 years with nearly 60 stores nationwide. Elizabeth Andreano even lost 85 pounds for her special day.
“They not only took my money, but they took something that was very special to me," she said. "I had worked so hard for this point in my life."
News that Alfred Angelo closed its stores spread fast. Signs on windows, social media comments and thousands of customers and employees were left in limbo.
“We were all blindsided,” said Kathy Udvarhely, an assistant manager at a local Alfred Angelo store. “I still can't believe it.”
The NBC 5 responds team has heard from a number of customers who received calls from employees urging them to pick up their dresses or they may never see them again. These women say they never got the heads up.
“A wedding is already stressful and this is the last thing that anyone needs,” said Cristina Taylor, whose wedding is in two weeks.
According to Alfred Angelo, the retailer filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when a company stops all operations and goes completely out of business. A trustee is appointed to liquidate the company's assets, the proceeds are used to pay off the debts, and then the remaining debt is discharged.
"We apologize for the inconvenience and hardships resulting from this event," its website says.
But soon-to-be bridesmaid Marcela Long says that's not enough.
“You know it's frustrating because I did have that money set aside for that and now it's kind of gone,” she said.
They each paid with a credit or debit card, but say they bought their dresses months ago and are now outside of the timeframe to dispute a charge. The women say they've reached out to the contact person listed on the retailer's website but they haven't heard back.
NBC 5 has reached out as well and we're still waiting on a response.
If you're still waiting on your Alfred Angelo order, here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:
• Submit a complaint with the Texas Attorney General's office.
• Try to dispute the change with your bank or credit card company.
• Find a backup dress ASAP. David's Bridal is offering Alfred Angelo customers 30 percent off wedding dresses and 20 percent off bridesmaid dresses and will waive all rush fees.