It’s one of the oldest stories of all time: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get married.
“I came home from work one day,” recalled Helen Hallbach, “And he just got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”
But for bride-to-be Helen Hallbach, things came to a halt this week.
Alfred Angelo bridal – where Helen’s dream dress had been signed, sealed, and all but delivered – closed its doors this week.
“When I first found out, I was kind of in shock,” she said. “I was like no way, this can’t be happening.”
All of the more than 60 Alfred Angelo bridal shops across the country are shutting down for good.
Helen had done her research, she said, found her dream dress and went straight to Alfred Angelo.
“That was the reason Alfred Angelo’s, for that dress,” she said. “I really only tried on that dress.”
Customers like Helen are now left empty handed, with no explanation, and no refund. Helen already paid in full, she said.
“I have seven bridesmaids, and they all bought their dresses there,” she said. “I felt really bad having their money go to waste, I just felt like it was my fault, even though I didn’t know this was going to happen.”
With $1,600 out the window, Helen spent the morning of her bachelorette party searching for a wedding dress.
Her first stop was “Patsy’s, A Bridal Boutique,” in Dallas where owner Lindsay Nordyke said first things first.
“Take a deep breath, calm down,” she said. “Any time you plan a wedding, it's super stressful anyways, and to have something like this happen can add to the stress and the pressure of the situation.”
For the brides left holding an empty clothes hanger, Nordyke said they do have some options, from rush orders to designers having dresses in stock.
“The third option, it’s a little more costly,” she said. “But there are designers in the states who can make a dress in just a couple weeks.”
There could be legal options, too.
“I would call a lawyer, have them file a breach of contract suit ASAP. The one potential downside, the one potential hiccup, here is, what happens if the bridal shop doesn’t have any money,” said Dallas attorney Chad Ruback. “You can’t get blood from a turnip.”
Despite the dress fiasco, Helen is one step closer to her fairy tale ending. She found what she was looking for.
“[My fiancé] is Jon Smith. He’s just a really kind, generous, man, I was very lucky to find him,” she said, smiling. “I say yes to the dress.”