July 15, 2017 3:42 pm
Updated: July 15, 2017 8:16 pm

Alfred Angelo Bridal files for bankruptcy leaving brides in a frenzy

WATCH: Brides react to wedding dress chain Alfred Angelo store closures.

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The popular bridal retailer Alfred Angelo closed up shop Saturday after quietly filing for bankruptcy liquidation on Friday, leaving brides around the world scrambling.

The Florida-based bridal shop shut down this weekend without telling its customers, angering brides who’ve paid up to thousands of dollars for wedding and bridesmaids gowns. According to bride-to-be Nia Edwards from Anaheim, Calif., she heard about the closures through texts from her friends.

“I was at work early yesterday morning and I started getting texts from my bridesmaids,” she explained. Concerned about the fate of her wedding dress, she called the store to find out that no one was picking up the phone.

“I left my job in a panic after seeing social media. I called the store and no one answered. I went to the store. It was boarded up and had cops everywhere,” said Edwards in an emailed statement.

WATCH: Brides react to wedding dress chain Alfred Angelo store closures

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With her wedding just 15 days away, she went down to the Huntington Beach location to see for herself. What she found was the building surrounded by police officers and the windows boarded up. After noticing a crack in the boards, Edwards walked up to the building and started banging on the windows.

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“I looked through and saw people inside packing up merchandise. I called to them. ‘Hey, I see you in there. Can you help me? I’m getting married in 15 days.’ Someone came forward — he recognized me because he knew my name. He told me that the seamstress had my dress,” Edwards explained. She paid US$1,200 for her wedding dress.

While a salesperson eventually recognized her and directed her to the seamstress in possession of her gown, other brides weren’t so lucky. Social media has been ablaze with frantic brides wondering about the status of their wedding dresses.

Alfred Angelo’s bridal wear is sold at approximately 2,500 stores around the world and at 60 Alfred Angelo stores in the United States. Word of these closures spread quickly to the brand’s customers, who flocked to the stores in a panic. Police were called to maintain order around the locations.

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Amber McGraw, 27, purchased a strapless, A-line wedding dress and accessories from the Dublin, Ohio location for $995.67 in spring of this year. She was informed by her fiance on July 14 that the Alfred Angelo franchise had shut down.

While McGraw called the store and even stopped by in the hopes of running into an associate, she was instead met with “other distressed brides, their mothers, a groom trying to pick up his mother’s dress for his wedding, and the local news.”

“I sat and waited there for roughly an hour before accepting my loss and driving home,” McGraw said in a statement. Her wedding is now 63 days away. Without much hope of finding her original dress, McGraw’s bridesmaid Brooke Gehle started a funding campaign for a new dress, which is now a trending campaign on the site.

“Within 3 hours of starting the campaign, I have enough money to cover the cost of the dress I lost and start my search for a new one. I am completely speechless, and sit here with a full heart knowing that the generosity of others has provided me with an opportunity to find another dress I hope to love just as much, if not more, than the one I lost,” McGraw said.

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Patricia Redmond, a lawyer who is representing Alfred Angelo Bridal, told the Sun Sentinel that she will ask the court-appointed trustee to release dresses being held in the stores awaiting pickup.

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Other national chains are also trying to help out, discounting dresses by as much as 30 per cent, for affected customers. David’s Bridal is one of these retailers, who recently posted a message on its Facebook page offering discounts to anyone affected by the closures.

In addition, women have come out to support the Alfred Angelo brides by offering up their own gowns on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

More to come.

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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