Bridal Shop Closes Abruptly; Police Seize 50 Wedding Gowns

Brides-To-Be Scramble To Find Replacement Gowns, Accessories

Fort Collins police seized 50 dresses from Mountain Avenue Bridal after the shop closed abruptly last week, leaving dozens of brides-to-be in the lurch.

"I was in absolute shock," said Jessica Link, who had purchased her exclusive Pronovias gown for $1,700 from Mountain Avenue earlier this year. "It was a gorgeous antique-looking dress. The whole wedding had been planned around it."

That wedding was supposed to take place in two weeks.

Link told 7NEWS that she had been in frequent contact with the owner of the store and was told the dress was on its way.

"She was obviously lying to us," Link said. "I don't even know if it was ordered."

Now, Link's wedding has been postponed.

Brooke Jones knows that feeling.

She ordered her veil, shoes and accessories from Mountain Avenue and paid for them several weeks ago.

"I've been told that I won't be reimbursed for any of my money," Jones said. "With the economy the way it is, trying to find enough money to cover that to begin with is difficult, and now to have to do it a second time is really quite frustrating."

When Fort Collins police learned about the problem, they seized the inventory -- 50 dresses in all.

"We're trying to match the dresses with customers who have receipts," said police department spokeswoman Rita Davis.

When asked what would have happened had police not taken possession, Davis responded, "That's speculation, but the direction they were going is that the dresses would have been sold at a trunk show in Windsor or on eBay."

"I know how they feel," said Paige Deaner, a wedding planner who got into the business after her own bad experience with Mountain Avenue.

"I was a client of Patty Burling's in 2008," Deaner said. "She actually backed out of my wedding planning contract six weeks before my wedding. ... It was devastating. I felt kind of abandoned."

Burling had apparently been experiencing financial difficulty.

A note on the front door of the empty shop says, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mountain Avenue Bridal has closed indefinitely."

A call to Burling's home resulted in a voice message saying the mailbox was full.

So far, police have matched six of the dresses taken from the store to customers with receipts.

They're asking other customers who purchased gowns or accessories at Mountain Avenue but didn’t receive them to contact police.

Deaner said she feels for the women who are now scrambling to make other arrangements.

"A bride gets to be a princess for one day," Deaner said. "That’s why weddings and wedding dresses are so important."

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