Last week, the bridal and special-occasion gown brand Alfred Angelo abruptly closed both its retail boutiques and its wholesale business. Other bridal stores are taking advantage or helping out (depending on your point of view) with sales and offers of help, and the former employees of at least one store went back in against the bankruptcy court’s rules to fetch paid-for gowns and distribute them to customers.

The Rescue Operation

Three former Alfred Angelo store employees in California teamed up to make sure that customers didn’t have to worry about the whereabouts of their gowns. There’s a tiny problem with this, though, since the company’s bankruptcy estate owns those gowns and the stores now.
An attorney explained to Scripps Media that the former employees should not have entered the stores and grabbed dresses and paperwork, since a temporary restraining order now governs the stores and their property.
As far as the bankruptcy court is concerned, women who hadn’t yet picked up their gowns are “third parties,” not people who paid for merchandise and should have the right to pick it up.
“The actions of the employees may constitute theft or grand larceny under state law and could subject them to state criminal prosecution,” the bankruptcy attorney explained. “Third parties receiving stolen items could also face state criminal charges and prosecution.”
The ex-employees who organized the wedding gown raid don’t especially care.
“Like, are you really going to come after a bride?” the group’s ringleader asked, referring to herself as the “Robin Hood of bridal.” She said that other stores’ former employees were performing similar missions to unite dresses and brides, but didn’t specify which ones.

At least there are sample sales

For brides whose dresses are still on order, things are murkier. Stores ranging from giant big-box chain David’s Bridal to tiny boutiques have special deals for affected customers, and women across the country are offering their own gowns to brides in need.
“It was a great company. They gave you excellent service but what dirty pool to leave us hanging there,” the owner of an independent bridal boutique in Traverse City, MI told the Detroit Free Press.
Another store owner told the Free Press that she would be offering huge discounts on Alfred Angelo sample gowns in stock, since she wouldn’t be taking any more orders based on those samples.
David’s Bridal is offering discounts on its own products and, perhaps most helpfully, waiving rush fees for alterations on gowns purchased from Alfred Angelo for events coming up this summer.

The company speaks

Alfred Angelo finally posted a notice on its website, admitting that it filed for bankruptcy on July 14, and directing customers with questions about their orders to the bankruptcy trustee.
Her address is In the message, include your order number, your name as it appears on the order, and the location of your purchase.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event,” the company said in its statement. “We appreciate your patience. Thank you.”

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.