I'd like to share my story of my experience with Bella You, in Rochester, NY. (Irondequoit, NY)
We initially went there looking for a specific bridesmaid's dress, and in the process I also found my wedding dress, which I love. When I went back in to purchase my dress, I spoke to the owner, Margaret Asposto, about the price of the bridesmaids dresses and asked her if she would come down in price to come closer to the prices that were online. She wouldn't match the prices exactly; however, we decided that going with a local shop would be better than going with a faceless online store. So, even though it was going to cost everyone a little more money, we decided to order all 10 of the attendant’s dresses from them, plus my wedding dress, and another formal dress I needed, so 12 in all.
Here is the short version of the story, for those of you who would like a quick read.
On February 8, I called Bella You to make sure that all ten dresses had been ordered. I specifically went over who gets what color dress because we have women on both sides of the bridal party. I am quite sure that all 10 orders were in at that time, or the shop would have said “We don’t have a size for Michele’s dress.” Or something like that!
On May 26, Bella You should have received ten dresses – 6 blue, 2 black, and 2 children’s. They did not notice at that time that a dress was missing (they did not order the missing dress until two weeks later.)
On May 27, I called Bella You to see if the dresses were in. A few hours later, I picked up four blue adult dresses. Nothing was said to me about the missing dress.
The owner, Margaret Asposto, specifically told my attendant to NOT tell me what was going on, and told her that she would be charged $45 for “rush alterations” at the shop if she wanted to get the alterations done when she arrived in town for the wedding. Margaret told me that they couldn’t guarantee that the dress would arrive on time for the wedding, but that all we could do was wait and hope, but it “probably would be here on time.”
After finding out about the problem, I made three phone calls – one to Eden Bridals headquarters to locate a sample in the US, and then to two different dress shops in different states, I found the dress we needed and solved the problem myself.
I STRONGLY recommend that anyone considering using Bella You in Rochester, NY (Irondequoit) for their wedding dress or bridal party dresses to find another shop. They repeatedly dropped the ball, Margaret Asposto, the owner, specifically told my attendant to be deceitful to me, Ms. Asposto also lied to me about when my attendant called them to place the initial order, repeatedly blamed my attendant for Bella You’s mistake, never apologized for their error, and did nothing to try to fix the error in a timely manner.
I am fortunate that the dress we needed was available elsewhere, and that I thought to call Eden and find it. Bella You could have done the exact same thing, and in my opinion, they should have since it was their error. Obviously dress shops have samples in different colors and sizes, so this is not a stretch to assume that they could have come up with the same idea. Another bride may not be fortunate enough to find the color, size and style that they need. If my experience can spare someone else a similar amount of stress, then this was all worth it.
And on a related note, always pay for major purchases with a credit card, so if there is a problem and the store won’t refund your money, you can reverse the charges. You may not be able to reverse charges if you use a debit card, some banks will, but not all.
The following is the DETAILED timeline of our experience:
January 15 – My bridal party and I went to Bella You, in Rochester (Irondequoit), NY, and tried on dresses. There was a specific dress made by Eden Bridals that I wanted my attendants to try on. The woman who helped us, (the daughter of the owner Margaret Asposto), was very nice and helpful. She showed me a number of dresses that I probably would not have considered, including the one I eventually purchased.
January 18 – I went back in to see the wedding dress I liked, and the owner, Margaret Asposto, was there. I asked her if she could meet the online price for the bridesmaid’s dresses. She would not, but took some money off, and after speaking with my bridesmaids, we decided to pay a little more so that we had personalized service and a local shop instead of online. I was informed of the three to four month order time. I purchased my wedding dress, another formal gown, and committed to ordering 10 other dresses for the wedding party. I give Bella You the list of all of the attendant’s names, and what color each person’s dress should be. I was very concerned about the dress colors because we have women on both sides of the bridal party and the dress styles are the same, but the colors are different.
February 4 – the cutoff date I gave to attendants to order their dresses. Attendant Michele, in Washington State, calls Bella You at 5:26 (they are open until 6) and leaves a message asking for a call back.
February 7 – Michele calls Bella You again, at 4:36, after not receiving a return call from Friday. Michelle and one other attendant order their dresses on the 7th. All of the attendants have now contacted me to let me know that they have ordered.
February 8 – I call Bella You to make sure that all of the dresses are set and see there were any questions or problems. Margaret comments to me that my attendants were very through and that they even gave the measurements in the right order. Final totals: 6 adult blue dresses, 2 adult black dresses, 2 blue children’s dresses. We go over the names, colors and sizes of each dress so that I’m sure that everything is set; and the dresses should arrive sometime in May. Again, I am sure that that the names and colors were reviewed because of the importance of them being correct. Had a dress order actually been missing at that time, I would assume that the shop would have told me.
February 9 - Bella You places the order for the dresses.
February 28 - The day that Bella You claims that Michele placed her dress order.
May 10, 8:35 am – I call to check on dresses, leave a message; do not get a return phone call.
May 11, 5:19 pm – I call again to check on dresses, and I am told that they are shipping on Friday, May 13, and will arrive in 5-10 business days and they will call me as soon as they are in.
May 27, 1:24 pm – I call during my lunch to check on the dresses, and I am told that they arrived on May 26, but they have not checked them in and “haven’t had time to call me.” I ask if I can pick up some of the dresses later that day. After work, around 5:30, I go to Bella You and pick up four of the adult blue dresses. I was told by the owner that 4 attendants and one parent will be called over the weekend and the dresses will be shipped early next week.
June 5 – no attendants have heard from Bella You. I call Bella You at 10:34 pm and leave a message for them to call me back.
June 6 – eleven days after the dresses arrived at Bella You – I get a return call from Bella You and speak to the owner’s daughter. I was told that all 5 people have been called. I inform her that four of them told me that they have not received a voice mail or spoken to anyone from the shop. One person, the mother of the flower girls, called them in the middle of the week the week before (the week of May 30) and had not received a return call. I was told that they will all be called immediately. They call my attendant in Ohio, she pays the remainder of her dress price, plus an additional fee because of the size (which she was not told about ahead of time, and we were not told about when we selected the dress), and shipping. She is told that the dress will ship the next day.
June 7 – I call Bella You to make sure everyone was spoken to about shipping the dresses. At that time, I am told that a dress is missing, and that I picked it up. I give them the names of the people whose dresses I picked up (four blue dresses), and the people who have to have them shipped. I ask which dress is missing; they say “Michele’s.” I identify what I think is the mixup, as I have picked up my wedding dress, however, the attendant Michele needs to have her dress (an adult black dress) shipped. In addition, there is no reason I would have picked up her dress since she’s in Washington State. They put me on hold, then come back and I am told not to worry, they have it all straightened out. At that time, I assume that it was just a mixup with the names and all is well.
June 8 – unbeknownst to me at the time, the missing dress is (supposedly) ordered.
June 14 – dress arrives in Ohio (nearly three weeks after they arrived at Bella You)
June 16 – dress arrives in NJ (exactly three weeks after they arrived at Bella You)
June 21, in the evening – I am contacted by Michele, the attendant from WA, and told that her dress was not ordered in early February with the rest of the dresses. (this is the FIRST I have heard of the problem.) I call the shop and am told that she did not order her dress until February 28, and so it was late. I speak to Michele again, and according to her phone records (which I have personally reviewed), she called the shop on both February 4 and 7. I am also informed that Michele was told multiple times by the Margaret, the shop owner, NOT to tell me that the dress was missing or that there was a problem. Michele was also told that the dress would be in to Rochester in three weeks, and she’d have it in four. My wedding is on July 23 – four weeks away. Michelle stated that Margaret told her that there were still two dresses at the shop.
I speak to Bella You again, with Margaret Asposto directly, and I am told that they “hope” the dress will arrive the first or second week of July but it might be later than that, and that Michele can get it “rush altered" at the shop in 24 hours for a $45 charge when she arrives for the wedding. However, as Michele is not arriving from Washington until two days before the wedding, and the shop is over 120 miles from the wedding, there is no possible way that she can have it altered by the shop. (And why would they be charging for the alterations when it was their error?)
Margaret Asposto, tells me not to worry, that she’s “almost positive” that the dress will be in on time, though she cannot tell me when it will ship. She also tells me that until the dress ships they will not be able to give me any updates, and then once it ships, it will be 5-10 more working days until it arrives, but that it has to go through customs as well, and sometimes that adds additional days but that’s not their fault (the one thing so far that truly isn’t.) I request that the dress be shipped directly to Michele in Washington, and am told that that will be difficult to arrange, but they will see what they can do, and that “they are one step ahead of me and already thought of it.”
I ask her whose dresses are still there, and she says “the children’s dresses.” I know this is incorrect, however, I ask her to tell me which ones specifically. She states: “I’ll have to go into the back room and check. (pause) I have two little girls dresses in royal blue with chiffon, sizes 4 and 8.” (This is interesting to me, because two days earlier, the father of the flower girls told me how great the dresses look on his daughters.) I said to the owner “My flower girl’s dresses are already in Montana, did you order them twice?” She started stammering and said “oh, these aren’t yours, they aren’t labeled, they must be someone else’s. I just saw them and thought they were yours.” There is obviously no logic to those statements, but I simply said “Ok.” At this point, those dresses would have been at Bella You for twenty six days, yet she thought they were for my bridal party, and had not shipped them yet.
She repeatedly tells me that “these things happen sometimes,” “it’s not our fault,” “we can’t control how long it takes to get the dresses” and other similar comments. She never said “I am sorry that we made a mistake.” She also never offered to reduce the price of the dress, or anything else in consideration for the stress and problems that they caused.
June 22 – I call Eden Bridals directly. They will not give me any information because I am a consumer, and not a retail shop. They wanted to know the identity of the shop so that they could call them directly and straighten things out. I responded that I didn’t want them to call the shop because we have had so many problems so far that making the shop owner mad will likely only make things worse.
I ask them to tell me what shops in the country have the dress in stock, in the correct color and size. They give me the names of two stores that ordered the dress as a sample, but of course, they can’t say if the dress has been sold or not. Two phone calls later, I have found the dress, and it’s available to ship to Washington immediately. In my opinion, this is the very first thing that Bella You should have done when they found out that they made a mistake. Unfortunately, the dress was considerably more expensive, but it was worth it to just have the dress in hand and not be worrying about it in the last days before the wedding.
June 24, 11:20 – I call Bella You to find out what the exact order date of the dress was. The owner says she “just got to the shop, the computer isn’t on, and she hasn’t even turned on the lights yet” (the store opens at 11) but she will look it up and call me back. When she calls back an hour later, she tells me that there were three orders. February 9 and February 28 were the first two (she still insists that Michele did not call in her order until February 28.) Regardless, if Michele’s order was missing we would have caught that on my phone call with them on February 8.
She says she cannot tell me when the dress was ordered the third time because she doesn’t know because it was a “verbal order.” Then she says it was ten days ago, and I count back on my calendar and say “June 15.” And she says “That sounds about right.” Then a minute later, she says “no, it was ordered on June 8.” She also told me that according to the factory’s records, the dress was made and shipped and should already be in the store, but that they don’t have it. At this point, I have no idea what to believe... except that I’m quite sure that buying the dress elsewhere so that Michele will have it next week is the absolute best thing possible.
I request and am promised that any updates to the dress' status will be conveyed to me immediately - including when the dress is made, when it is supposed to ship, etc.
June 27 - Michele calls Bella You and speaks to Amanda, the owner's daughter. She is told that cancelling her order must be done through Margaret directly, however the dress is not scheduled to ship until July 8. And there is "no way" it would arrive on time. Margaret is not in on Mondays, so she was told to call back on Tuesday. (And though I was SPECIFICALLY promised a call when any updates came through on the dress, I was not notified about the ship date by Bella You. So either they already knew the ship date and didn't want to tell me, or they just didn't bother following through again.)
June 28 - despite leaving two messages requesting a call back, Michele does not hear from the shop.
June 29 - despite leaving two additional messages, no calls are returned. The final message left is that we do not want the dress, and if they chose to ship it, it will be refused. The charge on the card is going to be disputed based on the fact that she was told by the shop that the dress would NOT arrive on time for the wedding.
Avoid red-lining your stress levels... find another shop.
And my editorial comment – I have read many reviews where the shop owner replies and says “we can’t control shipping times” and “at least you have the dress, I hope you had a good time” etc. Well, quite frankly, having the dress in the end is NOT the issue here. Not having to make 20 phone calls and worry that the shop is going to place an order correctly IS the issue, as is being lied to repeatedly.
There are MANY professionally run shops out there. This is NOT one of them.
On the other hand, Brides Atlanta, Inc (Douglasville, GA) has been nothing short of amazing. The dress was ordered Thursday, June 23, and will be delivered Thursday, June 30. They have been helpful, courteous and gone above and beyond to get this taken care of as quickly as possible.