FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The bride and her family paid for her wedding dress in January.
The date of her nuptials is Aug. 19.
Everything seemed to be going perfectly well until Jenny Eversman and her daughter, Sabrina Eversman saw a Facebook post Friday that I Do Bridal Boutique on Coldwater Road had closed.
With less than a month to go, Eversman, speaking for her daughter who was at work, said they were “extremely stressed, disheartened, heartbroken.”
While details of this debacle are sorted out, sympathetic former brides and other bridal stores are reaching out to help.
The store’s owner, Tesia Lapp Watson, is the registered agent for I Do Bridal and was the agent for Wendy’s Bridal that closed under similar circumstances last year, according to online records. Lapp Watson was sued by Coliseum Shoppes earlier this month for failure to pay rent while running Wendy’s Bridal.
A call to I Do Bridal was not answered and there was no way to leave a message.
Eversman said her daughter’s dress was paid in full, on a card, “luckily.” The charge is being disputed after she and her daughter appeared at the store on Sunday. She said a man she believed to be the landlord allowed women to pick up their wedding dresses if the gowns were at the shop and he reassured customers that any disputed charges would not be contested.
The man Eversman wasn’t able to identify told them their information on missing wedding gowns was passed on to the designers.
Buying a wedding dress is a bit different than walking into a store and buying a gown, although that happens, too. Bridal vendors work with designers who require contracts to be signed with a client including the price of the gown, according to Greta Claeys, owner of Greta’s Bridal Shoppe in South Bend.
Claeys, who’s been in this business for 40 years, was contacted by a Fort Wayne woman whose daughter is also getting married Aug. 19. The mother was frantic to find a gown named “Savannah.” Commonly, gowns carry names and are not always unique to one line.
Claeys, who has 1,200 gowns in stock when most have 100 to 200, said she happened to have the Savannah gown in the size the mother was looking for. The mother will be up on Wednesday to get the gown, whether Claeys is able to track down the vendor or not.
That’s a service Claeys said she is offering to the brides in distress. If there’s a receipt, she has offered to contact the vendor to see what kind of arrangements can be made.
However, Claeys was shocked to find the dress had been discounted. Discounts on these designer wedding dresses are discouraged in an attempt to keep quality high, she added.
“We have access to the vendors to retrieve any ordered gowns in the vendor’s warehouse,” said Claeys who carries Maggie Sottero, Allure Bridal and Mori Lee, among others.
“If we don’t have access to the gown, then we have the ability to redirect them to the person who does,” she added.
Customers come from Chicago, Indianapolis, Michigan and Ohio. Claeys said she is the only bridal store in the state who represents Randy Fenoli, host of Say Yes to the Dress television fame.
“We know there was an error on her (Lapp-Watson’s) part and it was unkind of her,” Claeys said, “but we’re going to forget that part. We can only move forward.”
Eversman said one of the problems she has encountered is her daughter’s small size. Very few bridal shops carry a size 2, she said.
“I don’t know the exact date of when it was supposed to arrive. I know she’s been calling to find out where it was,” Eversman said. “My daughter had the phone number for Allure so we were going to call them directly and then reach out to the one store up in the Elkhart area that has posted on the WANE Facebook comments they would help to reach out to the designers.”
Eversman said she and her daughter were confident the store would be able to keep its end of the bargain and didn’t think they’d have a problem.
“If doing this interview helps my daughter or any of the other girls, that’s why I came out here to do this,” said Eversman who started to cry. “I’m not trying to exploit anything. I just want all these girls to get their dresses. That’s all.”