Say Yes to the Dress: A Shopping Adventure!

I’ve been dreaming of wearing a beautiful wedding dress since I was a little girl.  I love gowns and the intricate construction and attention that they require. When I took design classes at Parsons, my final design-sketching project was a wedding gown (not my dream gown, but a wedding gown nonetheless!):

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Sketch by Miss Cauldron

So, it probably comes as no surprise that one of the very first things I did after we got engaged was figure out a weekend for my mom to come up to NYC for a weekend of wedding-dress shopping! My bridesmaids, Chicago J and New York J, also signed up for the fun. Who wouldn’t want to shop for wedding dresses in NYC?! There are so many great salons to choose from. I scheduled—count ‘em—seven appointments in two days. What a whirlwind! On the list were:

I did a lot of research beforehand, and I used Pinterest to collect everything in one place—what an easy way to store photos of all the gowns that caught my eye! I printed out all the photos and sorted them into stacks according to which store had which designers. We set off for our first day of shopping with printouts in hand, but an open mind about what we’d find.

First stop was Kleinfeld. Debbie was my consultant. (She was suggested to me by a friend the week before, so I called and asked if I could be scheduled with her, and it worked out!) She was great. I was a little nervous about trying on gowns, but she reassured me and pulled some amazing dresses! Kleinfeld doesn’t allow photos, but here are just a few of the beautiful gowns I tried on:

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Rivini – Dari / Image via Rivini

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Anne Barge – Kristen / Image via The White Dress By The Shore

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Kenneth Pool – Estelle / Image via Kenneth Pool

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Monique Lhuillier – Bellflower / Image via Wedding Clan

As you can see, Debbie did a great job mixing up styles, fabrics, and shapes so I could see what looked best on me. We left with a couple of favorites in mind, and headed to the next appointment, at Gabriella.

Overall, we weren’t as successful at Gabriella as we were at Kleinfeld, but it was still fun, and a totally different type of experience. Gabriella is in a loft-like space with racks of dresses all around the room, and you select your own gowns to try on. I tried on a handful of gowns, but not very many of them seemed to suit my style. We did snap a photo of this Reem Acra, which was unique and had such a flowy feel:

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Looking slightly goofy in Reem Acra

Our last appointment on Friday was at Junko Yoshioka, whose gowns I had fallen in love with online. We walked into the space, which was the salon as well as the production facility, and we chose from racks of their samples. We didn’t take many photos as we were too dazzled by the prettiness. This one is Valentina:

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The color dip on this was amazing!

And this one is Bella:

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A little dark, but it was so pretty!

All in all, a productive first day of shopping! We left with some clear favorites, and looked forward to day two…

Did you love shopping for your gown? How many bridal salons did you visit?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Cauldron

Location:
New York City/Austin
Wedding Date:
September 2012
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  1. Member
    superduperbrit 2466 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:38 pm

    Nice, sounds like fun! I went to one bridal boutique and I bought my dress from them. =) I probably tried on like 10-15 dresses total. My dress was the 2nd dress I tried on.

  2. Member
    Mrs.Kpop 171 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:46 pm

    I bought the rivini dari and absolutelyyyy was in looove with my dress! how fun for you! iT was the 3rd dress I tried on and I only went to one boutique lol I knew right when i put it on that that was the dress for me! =)

  3. Member
    SouthernmostBride 111 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:52 pm

    I went to ELEVEN shops before I found my dress! Including seven in NYC. From your list I went to Kleinfeld’s and Lovely (loved my consultant, Katie!), and also had a wonderful experience at Wedding Atelier (loved my consultant, Marnie!). At the ninth store (not in NYC!) I found my beautiful Anne Barge gown. It was probably the the 95th dress I tried on – talk about overload!

    I’ll say I loved shopping for my dress, but hated having to make the final decision!

  4. Member
    savage614 5 posts, Newbee @ 4:11 pm

    I’m glad to hear that “the” dress is out there…somewhere. I’ve only been to two boutiques in the bay area, but the whole experience is overwhelming to me – my first consultant didn’t listen to the few requests I had, and while the second place was MUCH better I still didn’t have any wonderful “wow” moment. I’ve always had body-issue/hang-ups, and boy are they coming out of the woodwork! And then when I showed my fiance the two dresses that I sort of liked (fashion shots-not me in them) his response was “eh – not really my favorite.”
    I guess I’m glad I have lots of time…although I’m hoping it doesn’t take 95 dresses!

  5. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:43 pm

    Oh I wish I was American so I could go to Kleinfelds! Oh well! I am glad you had fun!! Sometimes it can ultra stressful!

  6. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:17 pm

    So many wonderful dresses, I’m so jealous! Can’t wait to see more pictures of beautiful dresses!

  7. Member
    adowling 3 posts, Wannabee @ 5:18 pm

    I actually put off trying on dresses because it was something that I had been looking forward to FOREVER and I knew I would be a little sad once it was over. I finally went and found my dress in the first shop. It was the fourth dress I tried on and I just knew it was mine. I tried on another four just to make sure. So in the end I went to one shop and tried on a total of 8 dresses.

  8. Member
    mermaid.di 23 posts, Newbee @ 5:19 pm

    Hi! Yay, love that you went to Kleinfeld’s and had Debbie as your consultant!!! Oh, the world of reality tele! AhhhMAZING idea to use pinterest for your dresses – I’ve just gotten into pinterest, so am still learning how to use it; getting there! I had a great experience dress shopping too – didn’t think I would; I thought everything would look horrible on me and I would be super frustrated. But I was really happy with the little boutiques we went too (except for one, which we had a good laugh about!!); and ended up choosing the second dress I tried on at the first bridal boutique! I was volunteering in Borneo, and when I returned it was one year to our wedding, so I began my shopping immediately thinking it would take weeks or months … but I bought my dress within the week! Very excited for this October!!

  9. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:20 pm

    You look beautiful in all those gowns. I m impressed with how many appointments you managed to cram in in a single day. Way to go, lady!

  10. Member
    potion 223 posts, Helper bee @ 5:20 pm

    Gorgeous! I had so much fun dress shopping, and bought a gown on my first and only trip, but sometimes I want to go shopping again just to try on beautiful dresses! Of course, I’ve seen enough episodes of SYttD to know that that’s a no-no ;)

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Kim, Guest @ 7:08 pm

    I tried in 40 dresses before I finally found a mori lee dress i lloved this past weekend after 2 months of serachin

  12. Member
    nightcheese 1827 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:11 pm

    ohhh godddd kenneth pool estelle is my dream dress! i will die right here if you ended up with it. siiiiigh

  13. Member
    cauldron 99 posts, Worker bee @ 7:38 pm

    @SuperDuperBrit: What a great way to do it – quick and easy! I think people are right – when you know, you just know.
    @Mrs.Kpop: Dari was the very first dress I tried on, and I loved it! It was a great first pick by Debbie – the shape of the dress and the mix of lace is totally stunning. However, it’s very similar to a dress a friend wore in her wedding last summer (might actually be the same dress, though she made some changes like adding straps), so it wound up out of the running.
    @SouthernmostBride: Wow, 95 dresses! I tried on a lot of dresses, but I don’t think I got up to that number. Sounds like it was all worth it to find the one!
    @savage614: Let those body hang-ups go, and just focus on how you feel in each gown – you will be gorgeous if you really love what you are wearing. Maybe you could just surprise your fiance instead of showing him the options! He’ll love whatever you choose to wear on the day of, trust me – you’ll be radiant!
    @Jacofblues: Yes, it was tons of fun – no stress at all!
    @Mrs. Pony: Thanks! They were all so pretty. I would love to wear many of them, but the one I chose is definitely the winner.
    @adowling: I hope you enjoyed the experience, even though it was shorter than you expected! That’s great that you knew you’d found it so quickly.
    @mermaid.di: Congrats on finding your gown! Sounds like a fun adventure.
    @priyathescientist: Thanks! It all worked out great – no one got tired or cranky (most of all me!) and we had a fabulous time.
    @Miss Potion: Haha, I know what you mean – I wouldn’t recommend tempting fate that way! Your dress is totally your dress – no need to try on more!
    @Kim: Congratulations – sounds like it took some searching, but now you know you’ve got the right one!
    @September29: Isn’t it beautiful? It looks so light and ethereal, but it is actually amazingly heavy in person, with all that beading.

  14. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 7:49 pm

    As a fan of YS2TD, I would soooo love to visit Kleinfelds to see all their wonderful dresses.

    Sadly though as an Encore Bride my budget isn’t that big (lol, I’m paying this time round… not Daddy).

    Infact, as “someone of a certain age” I’ve only recently decided to look for a Bridal Gown… originally I was thinking more along the lines of something more austere like a MOB Dress (although I will still probably stick within the norms of “mature” weddings somewhat, and take advantage of the fact that Wedding Gowns are now available in colours other than white… I soooo LOVE that, and I’m leaning towards something in Champagne)

    See what happens you hang out at WBee… ya find your inner Bride… and I am soooo happy I did.

    — — —

    Haven’t been to a Bridal Store yet, have been doing my looking online, and I’ve fallen in-love Rivini’s *Lisette*.

  15. Member
    Crafty 36 posts, Newbee @ 11:23 pm

    I didn’t go dress shopping at all. Well, not physically.

    Having fallen in love with some vintage styles and not finding anything available in my size, I’m having mine custom made by Dolly Couture. I *did* visit their small space in NYC to have my measurements taken and tried on ONE of their standard designs just to get an idea of length (as mine will be similar). But otherwise, I’ve only done the “major” shopping for bridal bras!

  16. Member
    msfairy 976 posts, Busy bee @ 4:51 am

    I wish I had gone to Kleinfelds :) The Rivini looks so pretty, too bad you couldn’t take pictures!

  17. Member
    MrsPeachMartini 679 posts, Busy bee @ 5:46 am

    Your dresses are beautiful!!! I went to two salons- the first one they were really disorganized (kept changing the person I was working with, had the wrong persons sheet so they kept calling me by the wrong name, etc), and all the samples were a size 14+ so I really had a hard time visualizing the dress on ME because I’m a size 4, there were so many clips holding it on me that you couldn’t see half the detail. I did love the Adorae, but wasn’t willing to commit to it yet because I didn’t feel good about the salon and the sample was HUGE on me. The train was WAYYYY too long for my taste. We left and went to a second salon, and they had small samples to try on! As soon as I put the dress on, I knew it was the perfect one for me!!! The train is perfect and the weight of the gown was great too… amazing how I fell in love with it as soon as I was able to see exactly what it would look like on me!

  18. Member
    ddavila2001 611 posts, Busy bee @ 6:25 am

    I went to Kleinfeld’s for the blowout sale, wasn’t impressed with their selection at all. Everything on sale seemed to be polyester and cheapy feeling. Did Pronovias, Gabriella (WONDERFUL customer service), Mark Ingram (where I ended up purchasing my gown) RK Bridal and a TON of sample sales including one of flash sale site, The Aisle. Overall, I really did enjoy dress shopping. I found it a really fun experience.

    I ACTUALLY ALSO bought that Anne Barge – Kristen. I’m trying to sell it now because it didn’t fit with my venue. What was Kleinfeld selling it for? I put mine up on three sites for $900 and haven’t had much luck : (

  19. Member
    porcupine 633 posts, Busy bee @ 6:27 am

    Love the dresses! Especially love the Reem Acra. I seriously was in love with all her dresses, but not the price tag. Luckily, it only took me 2 shops to find the dress!

  20. Member
    MrsFutureG 1696 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:09 am

    I don’t understand why places wouldn’t let you take pictures. It isn’t like a picture is going to destroy a work of art (the sample dress has been sweat in, stretched and worn by hundreds of women). This practice never made sense. Unless you have the body of a supermodel, you’re not going to be able to go online and immediately remember how you looked.

    Unless you are the impulsive shopper who sees it and goes “yup, sold”, that only hurts you in the long run. I like to sleep on my decisions and to not be able to go back and look at the dresses, I wouldn’t even be able to keep them in the running.

    I am going in August to try on a FITTING version of a dress, but I have a picture of me in a size 8 (which I am most definitely NOT) of what might be my dress. I look at it almost every day and it keeps me excited and makes me almost certain that that is THE ONE. Without a picture? I would have just moved on by now.

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Andrea, Guest @ 9:11 am

    Congratulations on the engagement! It looks like you found a lot of great dress options. When you are ready to start looking for the perfect accessories to go with your gown check out http://www.monstermarketplace.com/wedding-stores for some unique and budget friendly options.

    Happy planning and good luck on the big day!

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Farhad, Guest @ 9:35 am

    Gorgeous! I’ve been looking at hair accessories for weeks… there are so
    many styles to choose from, it’s impossible to make a decision! lol
    wedding accessories

  23. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:07 am

    I’m pretty nervous about trying on dresses. I can be indecisive at times (and uber decisive at others), and don’t have a very clear wedding vision yet, so I’m nervous that I’ll need to try on hundreds of dresses and still not find one that speaks to me.

  24. Member
    royalpurplebride 511 posts, Busy bee @ 1:19 pm

    Tried on about 15 dresses at one salon and kept thinking, “eh, its pretty.. but I dont like…” . Any of those would have been me settling to please someone else. And then, the consultant wanted to pull one for me after hearing what I didn’t like on the others. This dress was the one I fell in love with!! And even with the pressure of the store closing, I knew that this dress was the one for me. And so did everyone else. I am still so happy with it! good luck!

  25. Member
    Mis Iris 218 posts, Helper bee @ 7:00 am

    you look beautiful in all your pics. On another note, i find it funny that Kleinfelds doesn’t allow photos, when they are on TV every time I flip past TLC!

  26. Member
    coyote 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:49 pm

    Oh such gorgeous dresses! It took me FOREVER to find my wedding dress, but it was fun to place dress up for a while. ;)

  27. Member
    WangYue 36 posts, Newbee @ 12:09 am

    Love the dresses.

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    south african wedding venues, Guest @ 1:17 am

    Generally visiting wedding salons increases at the times of weddings and people want the best wedding dresses and the makeup for them to look gorgeous in the functions. And so is your work complimented to.

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