If you've watched any programming on TLC over the past 10 years you've seen at least one commercial for "Say Yes to the Dress". Filmed at Kleinfeld Bridal in NYC the series shows brides of all shapes, sizes, and backstories shopping for their wedding gown. If they find one they love? They are ultimately asked one very important question, "are you saying yes to the dress?"
Having been a fan of the show for years, and even spending a semester as an intern at the salon, I just KNEW that I would be a Kleinfeld bride. When the time came for me to shop for wedding dresses I went to one place and one place only.
My Kleinfeld Bridal Experience
There are rules here. When you make an appointment you are told it is 1 hour and 30 minutes long and you can only bring 3 or 4 people with you.
It has been a few years so I cannot remember if it was 4 people in the party total or me plus 4 people. Either way, I brought with me my mom, my aunt and my cousin (my Matron of Honor). When you watch the show you'll see large groups of people but that is only for the show (sorry if I ruin any of the magic in this post for you).
No Pictures, Please!
When you are trying on dresses you are not to take any photos until AFTER you've decided a dress is THE ONE.
No, I Didn't Meet Randy
Randy really works there, I promise. I've seen him there with my own two eyes multiple times over during my internship but due to the popularity of the show he tends to only be there for brides who are filming and sometimes he's traveling for special appearances. If you happen to find yourself at the salon during a time when they are not filming, (like I did) chances are you won't see Randy.
But I Did Meet Pnina!
There is no denying Pnina Tornai gowns are a step above the rest. When you feel the fabric and see the crystals in person you can just tell her dresses are high quality. They are hand-made in Israel and need to be ordered at least a year in advanced because of this.
The salon holds what they call, "Trunk Shows" on a rotating basis where they feature different designers for a certain period of time. During these shows the gowns of the featured designer is offered at a small discounted and the designer is on hand to help brides who are trying on their dresses! If you go during one of Pnina's Trunk Shows (like I did), you will get to meet her and she is a DOLL!
The alterations team at Kleinfeld are a cut above the rest. If you buy your gown there you really should have it altered there as well. Vera is just as feisty as she appears on TV and is a genius! Her entire team are amazing at what they do and they are dealing with thousand dollar dresses each and every day. It just doesn't make any sense to purchase your gown there and not get the complete experience.
When you're downstairs in alterations (it really is under the main salon floor like they say on the show), Vera may not be the one working on your gown but she will most likely pop in to say hello to make sure everything is going smoothly!
There Isn't Room For Everyone to Sit on the Famous Couch
If you've seen the show, you've probably noticed that a majority of the family waits in the main room for the bride to parade around in her gowns as they sit on a couch.
If you watch closely you'll notice 98% of the families are sitting on the same couch, meaning even if you meet three brides in one episode they are all sitting on the same couch and therefore they did not film on the same day.
Kleinfeld sees a lot of brides in a day, they have a ton of rooms that you never see and plenty of places for waiting family members to sit so not everyone can get a seat on the famous couch.
Honestly, as a bride who was trying on dresses, walking all the way out to the main showroom each time would eat up A LOT of time and you only get 1 hour and 30 minutes. I was happy to have my waiting family right outside of my dressing room door.
They Made Me Feel Special
I only shopped at Kleinfeld so I cannot really give a fair comparison but I will say the team there made me feel so special. I was treated kindly, the consultants are all very attentive, they are honest with you and genuinely celebrate with you when you find your gown.
If you shop with enough time prior to your big day you can customize almost any dress in the salon! Having been a intern a few years prior to. my appointment I remembered this one Pnina gown that was sadly discontinued before I got there. However, all I had to do was mention my long-lost gown and Pnina was willing and able to recreate it for me!
I didn't go with an entire recreation, I did however take elements from that dress and add it to a newer design that I found at the salon. Complete with a small sketch on my receipt by Pnina herself!
It Felt Like I Was Buying a Car
Once you've said "Yes to the Dress" it is time to get down to business. The contract you sign is quite long and basically bounds you to the dress for life. If I remember correctly there is a very small window to cancel your order but once it is in production, it's yours. I imagine there are some circumstances where they will accept a dress back (because I do remember seeing a few in the showroom marked as final sale while working there) but I cannot state what those reasons are because I have no idea. So just make sure you are 100% certain it is your dress before you sign on that dotted line because it will be yours, for better or worse afterwards.
My Pnina Tornai Gown