Just days after wedding dress retailer Alfred Angelo announced its bankruptcy, strangers are joining forces to ensure brides who may never receive their gowns have a dress for their big day.
“When I heard about the Alfred Angelo thing going on, I felt very called to donate my dress to a bride because I cannot imagine their devastation,” Valerie Do, of Indianapolis, Ind., told InsideEdition.com. “I just can’t imagine being that bride to spend [thousands] and then just be told, 'You’re not going to get it.'"
Do, who is just one of many women donating their used wedding gowns, made a public post on Facebook inviting brides affected by the closure to message her privately. She will later choose a bride to gift her $3,500 Liz Simon wedding dress, a gift from her mother-in-law ahead of her own wedding day.
“I loved my dress, it was absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “I loved every moment in my dress [and] I just know it’d make someone else feel as gorgeous, as beautiful as I did.”
Originally, Do said she was desperate to sell her dress to help pay for her husband’s mounting medical bills.
She and Justin Do were married on June 10. When they got back from their honeymoon later that month, her husband was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, where he suffered a severe concussion, broken collar bones and a collapsed lung, among other injuries.
“There are people coming from all over the place willing to help out and just showering us with love during difficult times, especially financially with him being the breadwinner of the family,” Do explained. “That’s what we do in life – you help others so they can have a better experience in life as well.”
That was the sort of generosity Ambar McGraw, 27, of Dublin, Ohio, credits for saving her wedding day.
She had paid for her wedding gown by check last Wednesday. The amount came up to more than $800 and the check cleared nearly right away. By Thursday afternoon, Alfred Angelo had closed and boarded up their storefront.
“I just paid for my dress 36 hours before that," McGraw told InsideEdition.com. “I was really sick and panicky at the beginning, and that slowly turned into anger. I was furious that company knew they were going to shut down and they still let me purchase the dress.”
After McGraw, a specialist in the Ohio Army National Guard, spoke to InsideEdition.com last week, she said a woman representing Brides Across America reached out to her, and offered she take her pick from dresses in her collection.
“I didn’t think that my wedding was going to turn into my dream wedding, but because of the powers of the internet, I get the dress I never thought I could get,” McGraw said.
She is now expecting her brand new Ian Stuart dress, worth up to $8,000, to arrive in the mail later this week accompanied by a matching veil, sash and hair combs, just in time for her wedding two months from now.
In fact, that was the exact model in the magazine she brought to Alfred Angelo last week when she was picking out her original dress.
“I tried it on with my bridesmaids. One came in from out of state to be there with me that day,” McGraw said. “It was an A-line, sweetheart neck line. It has lace and little beads and sequins. It was definitely my dress, within my budget and that’s the only thing I could imagine myself walking down the aisle to.”
Knowing she had spent most of her budget on this dress, and realizing she may never get the money back, she took to GoFundMe to raise money for a new dress, hoping that she would be able to have it in time for the big day.
Within three hours, she hit her goal of $1,000.
McGraw now plans to use the money raised to help other brides affected by Alfred Angelo’s closure, including a woman who said a seamstress has her dress and is asking for payment that Alfred Angelo never followed through with.
“I want to pay it forward and help out where I can,” McGraw said. “I can see how a situation like this will turn you into a bridezilla. I’m just trying to roll with the punches. I was one of the lucky ones for sure.”
Alfred Angelo has since confirmed their Chapter 7 bankruptcy and directed anyone affected to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event. We appreciate your patience. Thank you,” the retailer wrote in a statement.