April 8, 2013

Wedding dress shopping in NYC

Personal

Liz, my best friend, came into town last week from Chicago and we had a fun-filled trip of being truly girly. We bought makeup, she gave me an introduction on how to actually use it, and we went to New York City to really indulge in being a bride: dress shopping. I had the day planned with a whirlwind trip to three bridal salons, dinner, and a show on Broadway (btw, Matilda was awesome!).

We started at Lovely, a place that lives up to its name. The walls were decked out in Elizabeth Messina prints, big chalkboards, beautiful windows, and softness. It was intimate, comfortable, and well, lovely. Jacqueline walked me through aisles of tulle, silk, satin, chiffon, lace, beading, shimmer, and every pretty thing imaginable. I gave some yeses and nos and was whisked away to a dressing area to try on my first wedding dress. It was pretty easy to decide on ones that just weren’t for me and exciting to find a few that just might be. There was no hard sell, no restrictions on pictures, no pushiness on the most expensive piece of clothing ever. It was a fantastic experience! Jacqueline was gentle and encouraging. At the end, I found out that the gown I liked the most must have been one of the least expensive in the entire shop. Score!

NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping

Still, I’m not one to make snap judgments so I took my notes and went on my way to #2. You may have heard of this New York bridal institution: Kleinfeld. I have never actually watched an entire episode of Say Yes to The Dress (gasp!). We checked in at the front desk for my appointment. The place was big, ornate, and a little intimidating. We sat in the lobby with about a dozen other people, waiting our turn for a consultant. Sales associates were walking around to each group to discuss Kleinfeld’s paper line. A friendly face came up and introduced herself as Brittany. She led me to a tiny dressing room with bright lights and mirrors. We talked over what I liked and wandered out into the massive showroom which was buzzing with other associates and excited brides. I went back to my room to change into a Kleinfeld’s silk robe while Brittany pulled dresses for me.  She brought me some curveballs just to see what I thought and I was glad to expand my horizons. After all, she’s the professional who sees all shapes and sizes of bodies every day. Some of my favorites that day were her picks. Again, just a fun time playing dress up and no hard sell. I left conflicted as I saw some gowns that could really work for me.

NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping

We were feeling woozy from the hours of activity and lack of food as we made our way to #3, the Bridal Garden. It’s a nonprofit shop inside a nondescript building that collects samples and overstocked gowns from designers and shops and sells them at a very discounted price. The proceeds go towards education for disadvantaged children. It’s a great concept and I’m very glad my future sister-in-law, Nora, gave me the insider tip on this place. We were welcomed in without much fanfare and led over to the dresses that were about my size. I was told to go through the rack of dresses and pull anything that I wanted to try on. They were all different styles and in varying condition – some were pristine, others were slightly dirty or frayed or somehow damaged. I helped myself to a small dressing room and quickly breezed through them without finding anything in particular. It’s a shame I don’t live closer or I would be there every week or so to check out new arrivals.

NYC wedding dress shopping
NYC wedding dress shopping

It was a great albeit exhausting day.  I have found myself drawn to beautiful, simple lines that feel feminine without completely taking over my 5’0” frame.

After a lot of thought, I think I might just know the dress for me. Through an online search, I have seen the dress that, to me, says “woman”:

NYC wedding dress shopping

Don’t you just love it?!

The hunt continues…

Dresses for breakfasts, and dinners, and balls; Dresses to sit in, and stand in, and walk in; Dresses to dance in, and flirt in, and talk in; Dresses in which to do nothing at all; Dresses for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
~William Allen Butler

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