Alfred Angelo Bridal is leaving thousands of brides high and dry, without wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses that were ordered and already paid for, just weeks after promising to deliver on prepaid orders.

I predicted this when they shut all their stores without warning a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, if they couldn’t even do a professional job of notifying clients that they were going out of business, did anybody actually expect them to keep their word about delivering dresses trapped in their shops and warehouses? That was never going to happen. When a business goes into bankruptcy, all the assets are frozen while they sort out the mess and figure out who is owed money.

This is a massive blot on the reputation of the wedding dress industry. The Alfred Angelo stores continued to take orders AND DEPOSITS for dresses right up until less than 24 hours before many of them locked their doors permanently. Initially, brides were given no instructions about what to do.

Then Alfred Angelo’s attorney Patricia Redmond put out a statement telling brides to send her office information about their missing wedding gowns via email. That move cracked me up – this lady’s office couldn’t orchestrate the shutdown of a chain of bridal boutiques without creating a riot situation in some shops. But her firm was going to sort out the gown mess? Not.

Alfred Angelo posted a statement on their website this morning that put the final nail in the coffin of hopes and dreams for brides who had been counting on the popular wedding gown designer to cough up the dresses that were been paid for, partially or in full, before Alfred Angelo declared bankruptcy. This is what they had to say:

While we have been successful in obtaining customer records and delivering many dresses and accessories for customers all over the country, even after the bankruptcy filing date, it has now become apparent that the logistical and financial strain of fulfilling each and every open order makes continuing that course of action no longer possible.

Check out the full statement below:

So basically, if you’re a bride who was hoping Alfred Angelo would get their act together – you’re screwed. And as I predicted when this all first happened, all those brides who are owed money for their dresses will have to get in line with all of the other creditors to whom Alfred Angelo owes money. Those who actually get some money back (and it will be pennies on the dollar) won’t see a red cent until long after their weddings are over. I’m not happy I was right about that, by the way.

Obviously, Alfred Angelo Bridal had no intention of fulfilling all of its orders when it closed its doors, with no notice to its brides and only a cursory meeting with its employees. Their poor business dealings put them into bankruptcy, but their utter disregard for their clients – women planning the biggest day of their lives – is disheartening. They probably had good intentions and meant to send out those dresses, but as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And anybody who works in the wedding industry and has held the hand of a crying bride who lost her wedding gown in the last few weeks will agree with me that those corporate folks from Alfred Angelo are most certainly going to hell for this.

Since the initial news broke about all the stores closing, Twitter (and social media in general) has been a chaotic mess of messages from brides sharing details about what kind of dress they had ordered, and former brides offering up their own dresses as replacements for brides left in the lurch.

Literally hundreds of other bridal vendors have stepped up to the plate offering discounts to brides and bridesmaids who can prove they lost money with Alfred Angelo and have no dress. Some are even doing giveaways. But given the circumstances, the #AlfredAngelo hashtag was especially quiet this morning, and tweet from brides about #AlfredAngelo were few and far between. Those brides who have been outraged, worried and frustrated since they first found out about the dress crisis are stunned silent at Alfred Angelo’s announcement. For many, their hopes of getting their dream dress are crushed. Many can’t afford another expensive wedding gown replacement.

Bridal shops who sell the Alfred Angelo line have been scrambling to fulfil the orders for which they have accepted deposits. Interactive groups have been established for salon owners to coordinate and swap the dresses they have in stock. Clients of independent shops have been far more successful at filling orders than Alfred Angelo. But that’s about to stop. There are no more Alfred Angelo dresses left in their store rooms, and they’re having to refund money to brides, and offer discounts on replacement dress selections.

We haven’t read anything yet about how much money, or how many wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, Alfred Angelo owed its distributors who had already paid deposits on behalf of their brides, but those brides are clearly in better shape than the girls who bought directly from the designer’s own bridal boutiques. At least somebody in the independent bridal salon will answer the phone and try to help them solve their missing wedding gown problem.

If you were the victim of the Alfred Angelo closing, be sure to check out the instructions on their website for filing your claim against them to get as much money back as possible. If you chose Alfred Angelo bridesmaid dresses, and some of your girls have lost money in this debacle, be sure that you get the information to your wedding party as well.

This is definitely a situation where a bride has permission to freak out – this is a legitimate wedding crisis. Go ahead and have your meltdown, rant to your fiancé, and mourn the pics of you in the sample of your dream wedding dress that you’re never going to wear over a glass of wine, or three. File your claim with Alfred Angelo. Then move on.

The pity party ends there. It’s time to pull up your big girl panties, and come up with a new plan that cuts your losses as much as possible. If you’ve got bridesmaids tied up in this mess, too, you’re going to need a whole new wardrobe plan for the wedding party. Enlist the collective brainstorming efforts of your besties – together you’ll figure out how to make your wedding an absolutely fabulous event if though Alfred Angelo failed to come to your wedding, despite that receipt you thought was its guaranteed RSVP.

Until next time, good luck and happy wedding planning.

Sandy