As a long time photographer in the wedding industry, I have heard pretty outrageous horror stories about wedding experiences from both brides and vendors. Sometimes, the stories are so crazy that you couldn't make it up if you tried! Needless to say, the wedding industry can be hard to navigate, and there have been many tears shed for a lot of different reasons.
I was completely devastated for the brides that were struck with wedding day tragedy when Alfred Angelo announced their immediate closing due to bankruptcy. Many women were left with no wedding dress, no bridesmaids dresses, and no money back with little time before their wedding. It is a bride's worst nightmare!
I was personally touched when a couple of my brides were suffering directly from this. As we scrambled to try and pick up the pieces, I assured them everything was going to be okay, even if it didn't seem like it. It's something I think everyone in the wedding industry is reeling from.
But then, something surprised me. I saw past brides supporting each other by GIVING AWAY their dresses to upcoming brides who were left without. Some even offered to pay shipping! Valerie posted a beautiful ad on the Indy Weddings on a Budget Site. I reached out, and asked why she felt compelled to donate her dress.
On June 10 Justin and I were married following that we went on our honeymoon and we returned to our normal life. On June 28, Justin went on a motorcycle ride that evening around 9:30 PM around 11:30 I got a phone call from Methodist hospital that he was awake but that I needed to come ASAP. When I got to the hospital I was terrified and walked in to seeing him all beat up and wrapped up. He was hit by a car and the car involved left the accident. Justin was thrown roughly 40 feet from his bike. He has so many broken bones and had surgery on his arm. Justin owns his business and I work part time during the summer so knowing medical bills are going to pile up and having two school aged boys I tried to sell my dress. No one ever showed interest and then I heard about the AA bankruptcy and instantly knew what I needed pay it forward because we have been blessed by some many friends and family.
As I was scrolling through my newsfeed, another ad, this time from Skyler Murphree, popped up. I reached out to her as well, because I just was so touched by the outpouring of support that was happening!
Last year went I went on vacation to Colorado and that is when I found the dress. It was the first wedding gown I had ever put on. I got the feeling everyone talks about, I couldn't stop smiling so I just decided to go ahead and buy it! Fast forward to this year I ended up finding a different one that I felt fit my personality more. But no matter how many times I thought about what to do with the dress I had originally bought I could not figure out what to do. I thought of selling it multiple times but it didn't feel right and something just kept telling me not to sell it or give it away yet. So I've been holding on to this dress for 3 months since I got the new one. And now I know why. I am a true believer in things happening for a reason, and I honestly think this was the whole reason I was ever meant to buy that dress. When I heard of the Alfred Angelo bankruptcy my heart stopped. Not because I was an AA bride, but because I could not begin to imagine how so many women felt. The Wedding Connection group was the only place I knew could help me do what I wanted. I did not even want praise for it like I received because that's not the reason I did it. I did it because that is how I have been my whole life, I can not help it. Giving it to someone who is out of a dress makes me feel so much better than any dollar amount could. And thankfully I found a woman in Maryland who is going to receive the wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses. So I am over the moon I helped relieve the stress on what is suppose to the the most magical time of a woman's life!"
These posts inspired even MORE people to offer up their bridal dresses to help brides that were suffering at the hands of Alfred Angelo. They commented with posts like this one...
When you are planning your wedding, you put your trust in all sorts of vendors. You budget out every penny, and you expect that everyone is going to do what they said they were going to do. Alfred Angelo failed miserably at this and left many brides panicked and heartbroken.
To the brides affected by this, all I can say is, I am so very sorry. You don't deserve what's happening, and I wish you all the best in finding your replacement dress, and that you love it even more than the one you've lost.
To the brides who are donating their dresses, bless you for being supportive and understanding to women you don't even know personally. You truly are an inspiration to me and a lifesaver for these women who have been affected!
To Alfred Angelo, I say thank you. Through your absolutely horrific moral and ethical failure to provide the services you promised you were going to, there is hope, community, and a whole lot of love and support, which is something our world needs much, much more of.