5 On Your Side

Raleigh brides get dresses back thanks to store manager

Posted August 3, 2015 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 3, 2015 5:51 p.m. EDT

— Customers of a Raleigh bridal shop that closed without warning now have some relief.

When the owner of La Belle Mariee filed for bankruptcy protection on July 27, it appeared as though dozens of brides would not get their dresses. But now they have them thanks to a store manager who says she just wanted to help.

Last week, Tiffany Ragston told 5 On Your Side that she would work to reunite brides with about 70 dresses they had paid for and that she had removed from the store.

All of the brides were excited to get their dresses back, and some even hugged Ragston to thank her.

“This is my dress. I’m over the moon, I’m so thankful, I’m so grateful,” said bride Danielle Dunn. “I can’t imagine having to replace it, so I’m just happy that it’s here and it’s safe and we can get on with planning.”

Earlier this week, Ragston met brides in the parking lot of the Glenwood Avenue bridal shop where several got their dresses - and bride Monica Carper got her irreplaceable veil, made from lace from her mother’s gown. Ragston spent her own time and money returning the remaining dresses because she felt it was the right thing to do.

“Could you imagine having your wedding then not having a dress for your wedding and then having to go repay and do all this stress,” Ragston said. “It’s too much and morally I couldn’t do it.”

Many of the brides bought samples off the rack, which helped with their situation. Others, who had paid up-front for gowns that had to be ordered, emailed previous 5 On Your Side reports about La Belle Mariee to designers, who were then willing to work with them on their dresses.

A bankruptcy meeting between creditors and shop owners Beverly Cray and Kathy Purser is scheduled for early September. It will be the only real opportunity for customers to talk with the owners, who are required to be there.