One Offbeat Bride’s nightmare at Macy’s Bridal

Guest post by Siouxzi Rodeman

I get so many great emails from readers and someone of them are just meant to be shared with the world. Today, I wanted to share this email from Siouxzi, who had a nightmare dress shopping experience

macys bridal nightmare

Hey Ariel,
I wanted to say thanks I bought your book when we first got engaged. I really appreciated the anecdotes and advice. I thought I'd share what I'm going through right now with you.

My mother has stage IV lung cancer and also cancer in her pelvic bone. I don't say that for pity. It's just the situation we're in. My fiance and I never really did the whole on the knee surprise engagement. We'd decided drunkenly on night ages ago (I think this new year's maybe?) that we wanted to get married. My mother asked if we'd set a date, and the answer was no. We didn't even have an engagement ring. We saw it mostly as a thing for her to look forward to, maybe in two years.

Tuesday I got the call from my mom. The tumors are growing again, her lung was filled with fluid, they were going to drain it and start chemo on Friday. After a lot of crying and thinking and talking we decided to push up the wedding. To November 2007.

I've pretty much come to terms with all of that. And I'm so incredibly lucky to have great friends who are contributing in every way to help make our day as special as our relationship is. I have an incredible friend who is going to make my wedding gown. But first we wanted to try some on to see how they fit.

I'm definitely an offbeat bride. I'm pierced, tattooed and make dreads for burners, goths, ravers, and myself. So naturally, I expected some comments or whatever when I walked into a place, but I didn't expect this. My maid of honor and I went to Macy's. I've never been part of a bridal party, I had no idea I needed to make an appointment to try stuff on. So Jackie, my maid of honor took the lead, asking if we needed an appointment.

They said yes. (silence)

Jackie asked if they had any today, they said no. (silence)

Jackie asked if they had any this week, they said yes. (silence)

After way to much work to get them to try and find an hour for us to come by, they asked when the date was. We told them November 24th. Oh, wow, you know the date already, next November, blah blah. No, this November, we said.

And they laughed. Very much like the Dr. Demento show song, they laughed and laughed and then they laughed some more. And then they showed me the most hideous bridesmaid sample dresses walked away and we didn't see them again until we came out of that tiny closet.

To say I was upset is an understatement. I didn't cry in front of them because I refuse to let them to see me down. But I sure had a session later on. I'm not a princess bride. I don't need to have a tiara and be waited on hand and foot. But I'm sorry that my trying to have a wedding prior to my mom's death messes up the status quo wedding procedure. I'm not mad that they didn't have any appointments, though there were three consultants there and not a person other than us in site the whole time we were there.

I just don't see how laughing at a person, when you have no idea what their situation is, is acceptable behavior for a store like that. I was hurt at first but the more I think about it the angrier I am.

Sorry to write SO much. I just thought you might appreciate and relate and maybe have advice to others who find themselves not getting the wedding they wanted but trying to at least make it one they enjoy… and not turn into a
complete wreck in the process.

And BOO Macy's.

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Comments on One Offbeat Bride’s nightmare at Macy’s Bridal

  1. That’s just awful! I’ve only been engaged for a couple months, but so far going to the bridal shops has been the worst part of the planning, so I can totally relate. As a chubby bride, I haven’t exactly had the best experiences, either. Seems like it’s hard to get respect if you aren’t tall, thin, blonde, and rich.

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. Just know that there are good places out there. They’re just harder to find. I hope your wedding day is beautiful and wonderful.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. Cancer is really tough. I know; that’s how I lost my grandma, who raised me.

    About the Macy’s staff: I noticed that attitude at a lot of businesses now-a-days, and not just “big” chain businesses. Customer service these days has just gone down the shitter. You just keep your chin up, take your business elsewhere and tell as many people as you can how shitty you were treated at that store.

  3. I’m so sorry about your mom, too, Siouxzi. I lost mine to cancer seven years ago. Planning my wedding is tough without her, but I’ve figured out a way to bring her into it: charity favors in her name.

    On to the salesladies: they suck. Try avoiding the bridal shops all together. My bridesmaids are ordering their dresses from Target. That Issac Mizrahi knows how to make an awesome dress for cheap.

    • I haven’t ordered yet but I’m pretty sure I’m getting our bridesmaids dresses at Target too. I found styles very similar to bridal shops for half the price or less.

  4. Fuuuuuuck those Macy’s clerks! My god – I am so sorry you had to deal with that shit. And I’m even sorrier about your mom. I think you’re doing a good thing.

  5. Wow, Siouxzi, that really sucks. Yes, boo Macy’s. I am so sorry you had to deal with that during such a hard time. I can relate. My mom passed away when I was 22. I was the only one planning the funeral (no siblings, my step-dad was out of commission) and went to order several hundred chairs from a rental shop. I told them I needed the chairs in three days for my mother’s funeral and they said that was “Impossible! We need much more notice than that!”.
    Well excuse me for not being more on the ball!
    I don’t know if you want advice but I have a little. As hard as it might be for you, perhaps going to a smaller (kinder?) shop and explaining the situation. Also, looking online for recommended bridal boutiques. They are spendy but since you’re having your dress made it will be more for the experience of finding what type of gown you want.
    Hugs and best wishes from Seattle,

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement. Luckily, even going in I knew that I was having my gown made for me by an incredibly talented lady who happens to be one of my brides maids, so we were just there looking for skirt styles to narrow things down. I think the real disappointment is that, as a person who provides services for others, I make it a priority to help a customer find a solution to their situation. Especially if I’m not able to help them. I believe it’s as important to guide someone to an answer even if it’s not going to result in a sale for me rather than let them go away feeling as lost as they were when they came to me. That’s all I with Macy’s could have done for me.

    But never-the-less. All the plans are falling nicely into place and this wedding is going to be the best that we (friends and family included) could have hoped.


  7. Siouxzi – I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I totally agree with your last comment about being blown away at the rude customer service you experienced especially when you provide customer service. I can’t even imagine what crawled up these sales people’s butts. Good luck with the rest of your wedding planning, just so you know it is totally do-able to plan a wedding with short notice. I did it and it was great!

  8. My heart goes out to you and your mom. I’m so sorry.

    I get so angry when people make assumptions about other people’s actions. How could they laugh without knowing your motivation for last-minute planning?

  9. Rebecca – funny you mention that. Anytime I’ve started to explain the sudden change of the date I have to preface everyone’s question with, “No, I’m not preggers” Everyone assumes. That’s why they’re all asses 😉

    • That one I completely understand. I got asked that one just for being engaged.
      Don’t know why.

  10. That’s bullshit. This isn’t high school, for all they know you were about to spend thousands of dollars there. They aren’t very good sales people (arent’ they on commission?), I would call the store and report them. I bet you get top notch treatment, and maybe a discount or gift card. Let the store make up for it. Congratulations on your engagement by the way, I think it’s great your mom will be there for your day. I can’t imagine mine without my mom.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your experience darlin, and sorry to hear about your dear mama.

    I say write a very firm letter to Macy’s managers about their ridiculous standard of service.

    I just went wedding dress shopping for a dear friend. I don’t know if it is different here in Australia, but we didn’t need appointments for anywhere except one place. In particular, there was an AWESOME little boutique who were so friendly, helpful, hand-crafted and reasonably priced… there ARE muchos better places out there darling…
    big hugs to you ~

  12. Way back when this was first posted, I send Macy’s a letter giving them the heads up that someone had received such crappy treatment, and as of yet, they have not sent me anything other than an automated response.

    I guess the truth is that Macy’s really doesn’t care. I’d boycott them, but I never shop there anyhow…

  13. Siouxzi:
    We didn’t quite get laughed at in one store, but the behavior/demeanor of the associates was enough to make me walk out.

    75% of my bridal party (including myself) are plus-sized. There was no way in hell I was going to wear a strapless dress – it just wouldn’t do it for me. Two of my best women, a couple of other friends, and myself went on a dress-shopping excursion. The first place we ended up at was David’s Bridal. I was already gagging, but everyone insisted that sometimes you could find good deals. After seeing that they only had strapless dresses, one of my best women asked the first associate we saw: “What do brides with fat arms do?”

    “Wear a veil.” And she walked away. No kidding. I also had no idea that we would have had to make an appointment well in advance to try anything on, but after that little quip it didn’t matter — they weren’t getting a dime of my money!

    I waited patiently while the girls looked around for possibly suitable dresses for themselves, but we got out of there as soon as we could. We went to a little shop that’s been around forever. I explained my preferences and the associate didn’t raise an eyebrow. She started pulling out dresses, and eventually steered me to one in a special section of abandoned layaways. It fit perfectly, was $99, and it cost me $80 for her to add gorgeous Italian ruffle sleeves and shorten in a little. I didn’t really want a white dress, but paying $100 for a dress was too good to pass up! Someday, we’ll renew our vows, and I’ll go a little crazy.

  14. Hi Siouxzi,
    I had to write b/c my dad has lung cance; he was diagnosed this year 2 weeks after my daughter was born. And at the same time that my book came out. It really puts things (especially weddings) into perspective. I think you are so awesome to do this b/c of your love for your mom. I also just wanted you to know that I have been planning events, and weddings for a long time (I used to be the event director at Martha Stewart.) In my opinion, all you need is six weeks to plan a proper event/wedding. I think people wast way too much time planning the freaking wedding in the first place. Obviously you have been spending your time (gasp) actually building your relationship with your partner, which makes soooo much more sense in the world of reality. It’s totally unacceptable to have anyone treat you this way, especially a sales person from Macy’s. Unfortunately their are unkind people in the world. If you have any questions I would love to help! Good luck and enjoy every moment.

  15. People acted like we were crazy to plan our wedding in 8 months. People are really stupid. And I hope you did let Macy’s know what they did to you. I just don’t understand it. I have a friend who works for Federated. I’ll forward this post to him.

  16. Oh my god… you need to make this story public so those WHORES at Macy’s burn with shame. That is the most foul behavior. I know you have a lot to deal with and you probably want to forgive & forget but… consider writing an op-ed piece for your local paper! Good luck and congratulations.

  17. Okay, the way the sales associates treated you was ridiculous BUT I don’t think it has as much impact given that you stated in comments that you didn’t have any intention of spending money with them or any other store. They should have been far kinder and much more polite regardless of your circumstances, but I don’t think their reaction was as much to do with your appearance and more to do with the fact they knew they couldn’t get you a dress in time. Rude? Yes. Crappy? Yes. Hurtful? No, because you were never hoping to buy anything there. Write a letter to the store complaining about the service and hope they get a dressing down, IMHO.

  18. i hate macys…..they should be hexed. i feel for you becouse everytime i try to go out to stores to work on wedding planes and whatnot i get treated like crap. i have had women just stand up mid convo and say ok bye ill see you later and leave. no hand shake or anything. i cant stand people who are so rude

  19. Grrr!
    I had a similar experience at a David’s Bridal. Just awful. I hope you contacted Macy’s and got those jerks reprimanded.
    I guess in their world gals with tattoos and/or piercings like ourselves do not deserve couteous treatment. Ridiculous!
    I hope your wedding was fabulous, and I hope your mom is well.

  20. I had a similar reception at Macy’s and they told me they never let anyone try on any dresses, unless they are sample size. In fact they looked at me like I was from Mars when I suggested that I might try on a dress. They did not even want to let me LOOK AT THE ONE DRESS I was supposed to buy. They pointed out they “probably don’t have it.” I was the only person in the whole place, and the dress ended up being on the first rack in the place. WHAT ASSHOLES.

  21. I am sorry for your loss but I will admit that bridal shops are nightmarish. This has been sufficient cause for me to definately make my own wedding gowns. Plural. My fiance and I are having two ceremonies, one at his families’ place and one at mine. One is just a vow renewal but will be just as ornate as the other and he does not want me wearing the same dress. Needless to say, being in a wheelchair has caused issues with these shops. Half of them are not accessible and the other half do not consider me human or something. Macy’s has been the best out where I am. It is just ridiculous

  22. When I worked bridal, I NEVER looked at anyone like she was crazy. I NEVER said “oh, you’re too fat to shop here”. I NEVER even blinked at the occasional tattoos and patchouli and hairy armpits we’d get in there. Never. It’s their wedding! The one day when every woman, regardless of size, lifestyle, body modification, whatever, should look gorgeous. No matter what she wears. I’m glad you had a talented friend who made that gorgeous dress for you. It breaks my heart that people can be that awful, but it makes my heart sing to see the pictures of your wedding and how happy you are.

  23. Hey girlie, just found you here.

    And that absolutely SUCKS. I have several reasons to despise Macy’s and this is just another one. George and I had a run-in with them when we were looking for my engagement ring. We were IGNORED for several minutes before someone had the time to talk to us and when they found out that we are on a budget, we never saw the woman again. Ended up with a 7-carat rose quartz cabochon that he picked up online from another vendor and I get nothing but compliments on it.

    Bridal shops, especially big-name ones, suck. I’ve been avoiding them like the plague.

    Hope to see you at our wedding in October.

  24. I can relate. I went out dress shopping for the first time today and decided to take a look around David’s Bridal. That was the first and last time I ever go into that store! I was just looking around when I was stopped by a very rude woman who said I could only look through the catalog and that I needed to have a “consultant” to actually see the dresses up close! I was only there for dress styles too – I don’t want a dress in white or ivory. And that was something no one in that store could comprehend.

  25. I too had a crappy customer service experience… Except I went shopping (just to look) when I was 7 months pregnant..It really shouldn’t matter how you look. Every girl should get the dress of her dreams.

    Good Luck!!! I hope everything turns out better than you imagined!

    p.s. I’m having my dress custom made.

  26. I was having similar trouble with looking at bridal shops, because I didn’t always have time to make an appointment or whatever, and I don’t NEED a whole barrage of women telling me personally that I am NOBODY if I don’t buy the priciest gown and matching cathedral veil. It is a nightmare. When I found the dress I loved, it was at a little silk shop in Portland, OR, where I could try on as many dresses as I wanted, and I happened to leave the same day with the dress in hand (because it happened to fit,) with the promise that I could come back for free alterations anytime. It was a relief, and the dress was so pretty I wanted to cry. It was grey silk, absolutely gorgeous, and cost about 1/4 of the other dresses I’d been eying. The people at David’s Bridal and Macy’s are going to have to answer to someone in the afterlife, and explain why they thought it was so funny to toy with people.

  27. I’m so sorry to hear all this. I was very lucky to find a small town shop with an open minded owner. She didn’t balk when I had my two boys with me. She’s a grandmother and played with the boys and let them run around. She had a tattoo herself (her son is an artist). I gave her my price- $300- and she found something perfect. If you’re in Western PA, send me a note and I’ll tell you where to go!

  28. Wow… sadly I’m not surprised about the way everyone has been treated at Macy’s. I work for a luxury retailer who specializes in fine china and bridal registries, and I have heard total nightmare stories from my brides about Macy’s. They’re just too big to really care about the customers and they probably pay so crappy that their sales people have an attitude and don’t want to work. I absolutely will boycott them at all costs.

    Other than David’s Bridal trying to sell me dresses I clearly told them I would not buy (I told them my budget was $300 or under and they kept giving me $600+ dresses to try on), they weren’t too bad. The consultant let me try on tons of dresses and was helpful and courteous. I ended up walking out with a clearance-priced pale yellow dress for $60.00. Sweeeet.

  29. I went to David’s Bridal… I didn’t have an appointment so they made me come back two hours later because they’d have a “consultant” available. When I came back, the “consultant” (who had 3 of us with appointments at the same time) gave me a book to pick dresses from, out of the 8 I picked they only had 3 in “my size” in stock. (None of their cheap dresses were in the book, and she would let me have my friend grab the cheap ones off the rack that I really really liked).

    The real hell started when I tried the dresses on… lets just say the phrases, “well with a rear end that size, no dress is going to fit well”, “We make lots of dresses in large sizes, but not THAT large”, “You know, a bride your LARGE size should have been looking for a dress a year ago, not just 4 months before the wedding”, “The poofy sleeves on this one would cover your large…uh…fluffy…arms”, and my personal favorite, “Well a bride your size should know that you aren’t going to find a dress that’s perfect for you, you’re lucky to find one that fits”.

    I’m only a size 16… when did that become “huge”. I found an amazing dress at a little shop, the lady was sweet and they had dozens of dresses in my size, and they had five dresses that matched my exact wants… the first one I tried on was my dream dress! If you live near Everett, Washington and want a colorful dress or a princess dress then I recommend Hermosa Bridal Boutique in Snohomish.

  30. I am so sorry to hear that. I am going through the same thing, and it totally sucks. My mother was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer (it’s also in her breast and brain), and my finace and I have been planning a wedding in Jamaica for April 2009. They gave her 2 years to live and she’s only 46. I am totally stressed out. I thought about moving the wedding up with a very small guest list, but the wedding planning is a good distraction for her from the chemo and radiation.
    I’ve been so angry at the world that I dare some wedding vendor to be rude or snub me like this – heads will roll.

  31. I JUST read this. I know it’s after the fact, and I hope your wedding went well and being in that situation (with a Mom in Stage 4 liver cancer)….just wondering if the bride ever contacted management at Macy’s and wrote a scathing letter about customer service…or the incredible lack of it tbat she received. Some of these providers get too into their own little worlds….and forget that there are many other people willing to service a wedding…and yes, even though you weren’t necessarily going to buy from them, word of mouth means a lot.

  32. I used to have the misfortune to work in the Macy’s bridal section, along with a lot of awful bitchy old ladies who treated people like you described. I decided, while I was working there, that I when my boyfriend and I get married I will never go to a department store to look for dresses, nor will I register for stupid pots and pans that I don’t really need, so that everyone else can feel obligated to buy me stuff that is 3x overpriced.
    Boo Macy’s. Indeed.

  33. I got lucky bridal shopping (probably because I only went into two stores and all I had for a guideline was a dress that involved black somehow). My SIL wasn’t so lucky though. She has MS and although her condition has much improved with better treatments, she still tires out really easily. She was in a shop and to make her mom happy she said she would try on a few of the big poufy dresses. Now, those things weigh a ton even without having any other issues to deal with. She was having a lot of trouble with the dresses and the saleswoman told her that “really, if you’re so sick you shouldn’t be trying on dresses like this. In fact, you should really consider whether you should even be getting married at all.” WTF?!? Needless to say they didn’t buy a damn thing in that store. What the hell is wrong with people?

  34. Gah, so much brutality! ;(

    SO glad that Siouxzi had such an awesome wedding!

    …& yeah, not going to a department store, yipes!

  35. Was Siouxzi’s wedding ever featured on this site? I hope it went well. I’d love to see how everything turned out.

  36. Hubby and I had been planning to get wed for years but had never really started the process. Then life got hard in terms of employment and he got a job proposal in France. Suddenly, we wanted to get married fast. He emigrated and I had 5 months to plan our wedding before I too had to emigrate. All the bridal shops I went to had that shitty attitude of laughing and saying it was impossible, it was too close, then be really unhelpful showing me stuff that had nothing to do with what I had asked for. Then I found a small modest shop, where they had dresses from all those expensive creators, only each dress was unique because they were from previous seasons and the owner was a seamstress and she modified them to the taste of the bride. They were super nice and I got my personalised dress for half the price of the other bridal shops. It was the 7th shop I went to… I guess one must keep looking until one founds the right place… and totally ignore unprofessional employees.

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