5 On Your Side

At Raleigh bridal shop, dress comes with stress

Posted August 8, 2013

— Delayed dresses, wrong sizes and stressed brides are not a good combination for a bridal shop. One local store has brides and bridesmaids complaining that dresses ordered months in advance arrived too close to the wedding day and others just didn't fit.

Libby Klein contacted 5 On Your Side about her sister Abby's wedding. In January, the bridal party ordered five dresses from Victorian Rose Bridals in Raleigh's Cameron Village. They expected the dresses to come in the first week of April, but they didn't arrive until May – one week before the wedding. 

On top of that, three of the dresses didn't come close to fitting. 

Klein's turquoise maid of honor dress was about three sizes too small, so a different bridesmaid, whose dress also didn't fit, ended up wearing it.

"They did the measurements here, so if nothing else, my dress should have been the one that fit perfectly," she said. 

Instead, Klein had to rush to a department store to buy a coral substitute. 

On a third dress, the bridesmaids used tape, bobby pins and ribbon to stick it together.

But when they complained to Victorian Rose Bridals, the store offered "no reparation ... not even an apology," Klein said. 

Victorian Rose Bridals Raleigh bridal shop's delays, sizing errors up wedding stress

Owner Kathy Purser said the store is "all customer service oriented," but that they have a no refund policy because dresses are custom orders. Still, she said, if the problem is the store's mistake, "we're going to remedy that."

5 On Your Side heard from other bridal parties with similar complaints about Victorian Rose Bridals – a bridesmaid whose dress arrived late and was the wrong color, a mother of the bride whose dress didn't fit and a bride still waiting for her gown two weeks before the big day.

The reviews online are mixed. 

Asked whether the store at least has some communication and organization issues, Purser said "not at all." Customers didn't understand that estimated delivery dates are just a ballpark figure, Purser said.

"Estimated means two weeks before, two weeks after," she said, adding that her clerks now make that clearer to customers.

Purser eventually admitted problems with Klein's order and agreed to refund $364 – the cost of two of the dresses that couldn't be worn. 

As for the wedding day, Klein said everyone involved made the best of it, while keeping a close eye on the bridesmaid who had to be sewn into her dress.

"We joked that we were all going to be on watch, just in case her dress fell down," Klein said. "Like I said, you try to make the best of a situation, but it was still very upsetting."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • kwierzel Aug 14, 2013

    It's very easy to blame the victim when a person is scammed. I'm an attorney and I've seen many smart people get taken for a ride. Weddings, funerals and births are vulnerable times! Some things you can do before making a big purchase: (1) check out the BBB; (2) call the Attorney General's office and ask about consumer complaints; (3) google the company with the word "review" as part of your search; and (4) pay attention to your gut!
    If you have a bad experience, you should file a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General's office. Often they will be able to mediate and, in the worst case, the AG's office can start an investigation into their business practices. When you post reviews on websites, make sure you stick with the facts. Don't embellish for effect!

  • snappyjack Aug 13, 2013

    Also, it sounds like your products are not superior when they are the wrong size, don't fit, and come in a week or two before the event. Stop blaming customers and take some responsibility for your poor quality of service.

  • snappyjack Aug 13, 2013

    Superman, obviously you either own or work at the store. As long as a store keeps making excuses for its poor performance, you will never win. Ever heard of "the customer is always right"? It's because customer service will take you further in any business than any superior "custom made" product ever will. People will flock to your store when they hear about the excellent way they treated a customer, how they go over and beyond for someone, not because of a superior product.

    People will not remember excellent products when they were treated badly. They are not there to make sure measurements are taken down correctly - that is YOUR job. "They don't have smart shoppers" well that really makes me want to shop at the store after hearing that (not). 3 complaints on yahoo - there are a lot more than 3 complaints on the internet. Plus you should strive to have none. Fact is you treat your customers like dirt, like they owe YOU something - they don't.

  • superman Aug 13, 2013

    When they do the measurements make sure they are correct. Watch them write them down. Then ask to initial them. I am sure the store will give you a copy of the order that includes the measurements. Then there should not be any questions as to measurements when the order arrives.

  • superman Aug 12, 2013

    It is always a good idea to check out a store after you place your order, get the merchandise and then you are unhappy. However it may be better to think ahead and do it prior to doing your shopping. The store may be lax but they certainly dont have smart shoppers.

  • superman Aug 12, 2013

    Gosh 3 complaints on Yahoo. I could walk down my street and get 10 complaints on the president and 10 on the minister at their church. Customers can have their alterations done at any shop. I dont think it is unusal for any shop or store to have numberous complaints. Some people just cant be happy. Last year my neighbor had his hardwood floors refinished. He had the company come back 3 times. They really looked good the first time. Would you belive there are people who dont like some stores or some churches?

  • superman Aug 12, 2013

    Ben Dover the Eighty-Second The person is standing there while the measurements are taken. Very easy for them to make sure that they are correct and written on the order correctly. If I am 28 in the waist and they measure 38 I know something is wrong.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 9, 2013

    For those who don't seem to know, designer wedding dresses are rarely stock items. They have to be "built", and are "built" to the dimensions of each individual bride.

    These aren't Sears or JCPenney dresses, nor do they cost as cheaply either. They're thousands of dollars, and because of the cost, it's not untoward to expect perfection.

    Now designers dressmakers sometimes do make mistakes, but because of their experience, and the time and cost involved, that happens very very rarely.

    Most of the mistakes are the fault of the person who does the measuring at the bridal store or are because the bride/bridesmaid gained or lost weight since the person at the bridal store measured them.

    The records at the bridal store and the designer should easily reveal which happened.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 9, 2013

    superman - "You need to be fair about the store or any store that orders something custom made for you. They have no control over when the item will be made or shipped. They do have control over the sizes but then people often lose weight or gain weight over a period of a couple months. If you want to avoid all of this-buy something in stock that you can make your selection and take it home."

    There is proof the woman doesn't order things when the customers place the order to her, often doing so several months later.

    That puts the responsibility of their late delivery squarely in her lap.

    There is adequate proof now on hand that the woman's seamstress(es) have made mistakes in alterations over and over and over again.

    That puts the responsibility of items not fitting after being altered by her employees squarely in her lap too.

    Based on all of that, what's your point?

    It's not like this is the only complaint. There are 3 over at Yahoo alone and are more at BBB.

  • eikyle Aug 9, 2013

    We had nothing short of a nightmare experience with Victorian Rose last year. I truly believe Karhy Purser (the owner) intentionally goes out of her way to be difficult. Won't give the details here but suffice it to say you can find our complaint in BBB files. Had another daughter get married this year and had a sublime experience all the way around with Traditions by Anna in North Hills. I tell everyone I know NOT to shop at VR.