San Jose bridal boutique set to close, leaving many brides scrambling

Bridal store “Brides of California” on the Alameda in San Jose is going out of business at the end of the month. Dozens of brides are scrambling to find a new dress in time for the big day now that their orders are in limbo.

The owner of the small boutique said at least 30 brides are impacted by the shop’s closure. Weak summer sales and designer shipping delays have caused financial hardships. Many brides are just now finding out about the  impending closure via email.

Like many brides, Julie Pham, 33, envisioned the perfect wedding when she marries her childhood friend in October. She wanted to wear the perfect dress, and was trusting it would come on time.

But that hasn't been the case.

“I feel super anxious and upset,'' said Pham of Union City, adding that the problem was made worse by the fact that the owner did not call personally, but rather sent an email alerting her to the closure.

Pham said she ordered her $3,000 gown back in April to support the small business and paid in full.

Instead of a dress, Pham said she got an email that stated the store is going out of business, the order would not be fulfilled and a refund is not guaranteed.

“I’m very upset,” said Pham. “I didn't know what I was supposed to do.”

Pham took to Yelp and found other people with similar stories.

Adam Beerman’s fiancee ordered a dress in April. He rushed over to the store 20 minutes after he received an email, but the store was closed.

“If anybody knows me and has an idea of what to do, please let me know,” said Beerman. 

For here part, Brides of California Owner Cheri Amor-Monreal is struggling too.

“I’ve just been attacked so much in the last few days,” said Amor-Monreal. “I keep losing my voice. I get really sick. I’m not eating right now. I knew it would be bad. I didn't think it would be this bad so soon.”

The 30-year-old took over the business in 2017. The first-time owner said she feels incredibly sorry and may file for bankruptcy.

“Financially it’s not doing as well as we had thought,” said Amor-Monreal. “Little things add up quickly being in the bridal industry and there's not a lot of room for error here.”

Amor-Monreal said brides can work with designers directly, and she’s offering sample dresses as compensation. However, for some brides the off-the-rack gowns are not the same as a special order dress.

As for Pham, she's disputing her original charge with Brides of California with her credit card company hoping to get her money back.

“She should have been honest from the beginning and this whole thing could have been avoided,” said Pham.

The store will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until the end of the month.