Brides across the country are losing their shit after Alfred Angelo Bridal store quietly closed up shop last week, holding dresses hostage and leaving thousands of customers in a lurch. Not only did the retailer operate 61 brick-and-mortar stores, it also supplied dresses to 1,400 other outlets. People are understandably livid—but luckily, some former brides are stepping in to save the day.
Alfred Angelo permanently closed its locations Thursday night as part of a plan to file for bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reports. The lawyer representing the company said she’s asked the court-appointed trustee to free the dresses awaiting pickup, as well as the contents of a $1.2 million dress shipment headed from China.
But for brides operating on deadlines, it seems unlikely the situation will be resolved in time. Customers in San Antonio were so panicked that police told station WOIA that dispatchers had received 911 calls about the closure.
“This is bad. This is really bad,” Gelina Bentley, a mother of a bride to be married in less than a month, told the Times. “They have our money and we have no dress.”
The incident has spurred action from both competitors and every-day good Samaritans. David’s Bridal said Friday that it would offer 30 percent discounts on replacement gowns to those with an Alfredo Angelo receipt, and 20 percent discounts on bridesmaid dresses. It also offered to waive rush fees on alterations for anyone with weddings looming.
On Twitter, panicked brides are finding alternate dresses using the hashtag #dressmatchmaker, which is filled with generous offers from those who know damn well they’re never going to wear that thing again. (Though “This fairytale dress was never worn” gives Hemingway a run for his sad story money.)
Employees at Alfred Angelo’s Tulsa, Oklahoma location actually opened on their own on Friday to help people get their dresses, NPR reports. One bride noted on Facebook that the staff treated dresses under deposit as fully paid, and that others are being shipped using FedEx.
“I would like to say thank you to the staff at the Tulsa Oklahoma location, they didn’t have to be here today to take care of all the people that bought dresses,” wrote one grateful woman, adding that they employees were not getting paid for their service.
Meanwhile, the elevators in the store’s Florida-based headquarters have been deactivated.