South Yorkshire bride’s dream dress ordeal

Elizabeth Smith and James Frost.
Elizabeth Smith and James Frost.

A bride-to-be faces having to fork out for her dream wedding dress twice over after a Sheffield bridal shop closed suddenly.

Elizabeth Smith and her fiancé James Frost say they discovered Choola Bridal on Ecclesall Road – where they bought Liz’s £1,195 gown last summer – had shut earlier this month only when a relative drove past.

The couple are due to wed in Italy in six weeks and claim that, after tracing their dress to the manufacturer, they could have to shell out for another.

Choola stopped trading on March 3. Owners have blamed its closure on ‘prolonged illness’ and on the sale of the business falling through.

The company said it had not yet appointed receivers.

James, of Wickersley in Rotherham, said: “Our dress is one of those the manufacturer hasn’t been paid for, so we have to pay for it again.

“We are flying out to get married on May 3 and it was only by sheer chance that a family member drove past the shop and this was brought to our attention.

“We are six weeks from the wedding and this was Liz’s dream dress. She felt the whole thing had fallen down. People have been left high and dry.”

The manufacturer has offered the couple a discounted price of £576. But they will struggle to claim a refund through their debit card as the dress was bought more than 120 days ago.

Other worried brides waiting for dresses from Choola have also spoken online of their fears.

Managing director Ivan Allsopp-Pick said most brides had insurance to cover the cost of dresses, and the ‘few brides without’ should contact card providers for refunds.

He said brides should receive letters soon, and suppliers were ‘keen to honour all dress orders’.

“My wife and I are devastated we could not keep the business trading,” he said.

Rising costs and online dress counterfeiting were also blamed.