Don’t Use Cash and Save the Receipt
The beginning of helping yourself recover is to never give a deposit in cash or write a check. Never. When a dress is ordered, a customer usually pays a deposit of 50 percent; always put it on a credit card so the payment can be disputed in case the store closes before delivering the goods.
Connie Gable, the vice president of customer relations for Maggie Sottero, a manufacturer of wedding dresses said, “You will never get your deposit back if you paid in cash. Nobody will give cash back.”
But credit card companies will usually return money on a credit card. And always save the deposit receipt. It is likely to come in handy and save you money as you begin your search for another dress.
Help on the Internet
When you choose and order your dress, make sure to note the name on the label.
Social media can then play a big role in quickly finding another dress. Join Facebook and other social media groups of women and stores that are created specifically to help. Go to those sites and search for your particular designer and dress.
For example: the Facebook group for Alfred Angelo Disney dresses has women searching for gowns as well as some who have dresses to sell; one woman is looking for a dress No. 2506 in size 6; another is selling her dress No. c254 in size 16.
One bride was able to find an Alfred Angelo flower girl dress from someone in Britain on Facebook. It was a perfect match to the one she had ordered in Florida. She bought the new one using a credit card and had it sent to her via FedEx.
Contact Other Stores
Look for other stores that sold the brand you ordered and call them.
Go to the company site and use the store locator to find stores.
For Lazaro, Blush or Hayley Paige, go to jlmcouture.com.
For Morilee by Madeline Garnder: morilee.com.
For Randy Fenoli: randyfenolibridal.com.
For Maggie Sottero, Midgley-Sottero or Rebecca Ingram: maggiesottero.com.
For Allure, Allure Couture, Madison James or Wilderly Bride: allurebridals.com.
If they have pieces from their stock that can replace your dress, they will ship them. Sometimes a store will have the same dress but in ivory, for example, rather than the white you originally ordered; buy it in another color if it’s your dream dress. Remember: Larger sizes can be altered down so, ask not only about your size, but also the ones near yours.
Renee Jon, a dressmaker who alters wedding dresses and makes custom designs, works out of her home in Chino Hills, Calif. She helped during the recent Alfred Angelo closing. “If a bride had a receipt for a deposit from Angelo and found a dress in my inventory, I gave her an extra discount,” Ms. Jon said.
Many others will do the same.
Different Brand, Same Look
The manager of a store can give you the name of the wholesale sales representative the store works with for the dress you are looking for. Ask the wholesale rep to help locate the dress you want. The wholesaler may have recently shipped inventory to stores not on your radar.
Misty Cushing, a bride-to-be in Las Vegas, had ordered a dress last summer in Ohio (where her family lives) for her March 2018 wedding. She lost the dress in the Alfred Angelo closure but did get her deposit back. She then bought a similar dress by a different manufacturer (Morilee) at a store in Las Vegas.
“The entire bridal industry stepped up,” she said. “The original store credited my deposit back to my credit card; I had a photo of the dress with me to show the store in Las Vegas. They found a Morilee dress that almost matched my original choice. The bridal shops really try to make brides happy. It’s an art that’s been lost on our society.”
Morilee sold her the wedding dress at a 20 percent discount because she had her deposit receipt. And, Mitchel Udell, an owner of Morilee said even though there is usually a rush charge for a bride who needs her dress quickly, “we waived the rush charge for anyone caught in the closing.”
Jillian Forsberg is the sales manager at the Dress Gallery, a 6,000-square-foot store in Wichita, Kan., that dresses 1,500 brides a year. “We’ve had other designers go out of business but never anything on the scale of the Alfred Angelo closing,” she said. “We still had some Angelo dresses in our stock and we were able to sell the exact ones to about five girls who contacted us from all over the country.” They sold them at wholesale if a deposit receipt was shown.
Once the designer goes out of business, the samples already in stores are of no use, she explained, since these dresses have been tried on and are not new. The Dress Gallery shipped dresses all over the country to people who could use such samples, she said.
When Alfred Angelo went out of business, David’s Bridal, another national chain of dress stores, gave 30 percent discounts toward a new gown, also waiving the usual rush fee (with proof of deposit).
The bottom line: Don’t despair in what may be a stressful time. Help is available.