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Brides are left without their dresses after popular store suddenly shutters

"I burst into tears when I found out ... I don't know what my next steps are," Monique Ortiz of Las Vegas told TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Alfred Angelo is apparently saying “no” to the dress.

The popular wedding dress manufacturer and retailer abruptly shut down its stores on Thursday, sending brides across the country into panic mode over fear they will no longer be able to walk down the aisle in their dream gowns.

“I’m just really frustrated. I burst into tears when I found out. The company didn’t notify anybody. They just closed the doors. I don’t know what my next steps are,” Monique Ortiz of Las Vegas told TODAY.

Back in April, the 32-year-old had found, ordered and put down an 80 percent deposit on a $1,500 Alfred Angelo dress she absolutely loved: a blush-colored, embellished strapless gown with a long tulle skirt. When she read online that the company was closing its doors, she immediately called the Las Vegas store where she bought the dress. She was simply told, “You’re not getting your dress,” and was given the name and number of an attorney to contact.

“That was my dress. I’m not going to be able to find that dress again” said an exasperated Ortiz, who is getting married in February.

“When Monique found her dress, she felt like a princess — like every bride-to-be should feel. I don’t understand how this company could do this,” added her mother, Rebecca Ortiz Mansfield.

Monique Ortiz in the Alfred Angelo wedding dress she had found. Ortiz says she was told she wouldn't be able to get her dress after the company shut down its stores.Courtesy of Monique Ortiz.

Alfred Angelo and its lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Florida-based company — which carries its styles at more than 1,400 retailers and 60 of its signature bridal stores in the U.S. — is planning to file for bankruptcy.

There have been reports of brides across the country, upon hearing the news, racing to Alfred Angelo stores in hopes of picking up their orders early or buying one of their dresses off the rack before the doors were officially shuttered. In Tukwila, Washington, police were even called to one Alfred Angelo store because customers were trying to force open the doors.

Some women, like 28-year-old Tina Braz, were literally standing in their future wedding dress only to be told they wouldn’t be able to order it.

Braz, who is getting married in January 2018 in South Africa, was at RK Bridal in New York City in what she described as “the” dress — a modern, strapless A-line ballgown. “Me and my mom were having that moment, that ‘this-is-the-dress-I’m-going-to-wear-at-my-wedding’ moment. They were going to find out how long it was going to take to order. I was literally standing there in the dress with tears in my eyes when I was told, ‘I’m sorry we can’t get the dress.’” Braz recounted to TODAY.

Braz was told she could buy the sample dress, but at full price — something the writer and producer didn’t want to do because the gown looked well-worn. “I’m devastated,” said Braz, who is currently in London and is search of the same dress.

In Houston, Cyndi Cervera Whitten raced to the Alfred Angelo store where she bought her daughter's dress. This sign was on the door.Courtesy of Cyndi Whitten.

Some brides were luckier. In Houston, Cyndi Cervera Whitten raced to the Alfred Angelo store where she and her daughter Kaitlin, who is getting married in October, originally bought her dress. On Thursday, the doors were locked, but a sympathetic salesperson let them inside the store. The employee found the sample dress version of the gown Kaitlyn had originally purchased: a long, lace dress with a sweetheart neckline.

“She just handed it to me, put it in a bag and said ‘good luck,’” recounted Whitten. And on Friday morning, the store called with good news — her original dress had come in one month early. Whitten was told she had one hour to pick it up.

"I feel so relieved," said Whitten, adding she hopes to give the sample dress to another bride in need. "I still feel so terrible for the other women who won't have this option."