In University I used to curl up on this massive couch and watch Say Yes to the Dress for what was probably hours upon hours with the 6 other girls I lived with.
It was a sweet time during my life. We would yell at the screens and talk about whether we liked the dresses or not.
Fast forward about 15 years, and I never imagined that those memories would come flooding back.
My Wedding Resistance
As I start wedding planning, I’ve been having a lot of resistance to it.
I think it’s because I found wedding season so triggering when I was lone single woman at wedding after wedding.
For some people they are totally able to let this roll of their backs, but for me, every wedding was an opportunity to see clearly what I didn’t have, all the while being asked about my love life all night, trying to awkwardly decline the advances of the lone single man at the wedding, and anything else.
Over time, I learned how to not get so insecure at weddings when I was single and learned to actually really love them, since love is what it’s about.
Anyway, as I go to plan my wedding now, I’m noticing all this resistance to “wedding” things and I think it’s because I’ve never really thought of any of this before, and had kind of put on a back-burner all things wedding related for a long time.
So now, I’m trying to work through my resistance by looking at different traditions around weddings and seeing what I connect with and what I don’t.
In this whole reflection, one thing that I decided that I was into was having a dress shopping experience.
Over my birthday weekend, I had my parents fly to visit me in NYC, and to go shopping with my mom, and two of my best friends.
Pronovias – 480 Park Avenue, NYC, NY
I chose this one because I absolutely loved their dresses, so I went to their flagship store to get straight to the action.
The White Gown – 62 Grand St., NYC, NY
A friend suggested this one and it’s also a Pronovias partner so went with it.
Kleinfeld’s – 110 W 20th St, NYC, NY
Because of SAY YES TO THE DRESS, obvi.
The Week Before
At Pronovias and Kleinfeld’s, the bridal consultants reached out to me before to hear more about me, the wedding, and the dress styles I liked or didn’t like.
They also all asked me for any photos including access to my Pinterest board which I thought was hilarious…since I don’t have one, but I guess it’s so common now.
I didn’t have a lot of clarity other than knowing I didn’t want anything too over the top and thought that I probably wanted strapless, didn’t love embellishments and wanted to look chic.
I just went through the Kleinfeld’s website and picked a bunch of dresses I thought I might like.
I also forced my Dad to watch 6 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress with me when I was home visiting the week before to get a feel of what dresses I liked.
He was so sweet to watch it with me and just so happy that I would be going to the STORE on the TV! “That store?! You’re going to that store!”
A Hot Tip: Plan Ahead
I booked my appointments 3 months in advance, which ensured I got the weekend time-slots I wanted and everything was booked when I checked 3 weeks before.
Chris didn’t get any input, obviously…but he did express to me his concerns that I would need to be able to dance in the dress, and that it was paramount that I find a dress that I could still rip the dance floor in. Chris and I loveeeee to hit the dance floor, so this was a fair point. It’s actually something that I’m glad he brought up because I ended up trying to move in the dresses.
Honestly my biggest fear was that my mom and I weren’t going to agree on the dress.
I had flashbacks of high school when she convinced me to buy a gold asymmetrical dress for my grad formal because it was “different” and I look back at the photos and think “what was I thinking?!” (it did work wonders with a tan though…).
We had shared photos of what we both liked, and she was more on the princess-ballgown train whereas I was on the more sophisticated and sweetheart vibe. We decided that we probably weren’t going to agree.
I also only booked 3 appointments but figured that would be enough. How hard could it be, right?
Overall Experience: TLDR edition
Provonias had the best experience by far, with a close second to Kleinfeld’s. I just got relegated to a random change room area part of the store at Kleinfeld’s that made the experience different than I imagined and they kind of hustle you out of there.
I was surprised but also liked that the bridal consultants let me lead the way in terms of what I wanted – I didn’t have any of them bring me anything that I hadn’t picked myself, which helped me to feel more at ease because I don’t love chatting through clothing decisions with strangers, you know?
I guess, like everything, you can choose your own adventure with how much input you want from others versus whether you want to take control.
I thought I found the dress I wanted to get after trying on 3 dresses, but in the end, found a dress that helped me feel most like myself in the final hour.
I wish someone had told me that from the beginning: which dress helps you to feel most like yourself?
The Pronovias store was an absolute dream. It’s an incredible space with dresses displayed freely for you to see, and the change-rooms are spacious and they don’t overbook the salon.
It was a 10/10 experience in terms of trying on the dresses. My consultant Callie was awesome, and she pulled for me a dress I tried on fourth that I then became convinced I would get.
It checked all the boxes of what I thought I would want, my mom and my friend both agreed and absolutely loved it, and it was in budget, so I was sold.
I was convinced that this was my dress, and so got the veil on, and my Dad joined us and we all had champagne.
Here’s a photo of me thinking that it was my dress, but not being 100% certain because I still had two more appointments the next day.
I left the store that night and told a bunch of people that I found my dress, including Chris.
Ever the practical mind of this relationship, he was happy for me but also encouraged me to keep an open mind for the next day.
Whatever, Chris…when you know, know.
The White Gown
This was just a meh experience. While the store was in Soho, it was really low-key. I had loved my Pronovias experience so much too, so it was hard to top. I also came in thinking that I had found my dress.
I wouldn’t recommend this store for little things – it was really cold in there, they don’t a big selection of dresses, and I found the changing room area cramped and with weird lighting.
My bridal consultant was really patient with me, and after trying on a number of other dresses, let me try on the dress that I thought was the one I wanted from the day before.
It’s always when you don’t think it’s going to happen…
I finally arrived at Kleinfeld’s for my final dress shopping experience, assuming that it was just going to be for kicks since I definitely had found my dress.
But then, it wasn’t.
Kleinfelds and Saying Yes to the Dress
Okay so this is a whole production of a place but it is really incredible. I see what the hype is about. And honestly, 19 year old me that used to sit on that old couch in University watching Say Yes to the Dress was fan-girling hard about being there.
Everything from the check-in process to the waiting area, to the silk robes they have you get into are all amazing.
It made the experience really fun and you can tell they pride themselves in having brides feel excited and taken care of.
My bridal consultant pulled some of the dresses I had sent her before the appointment, and when they arrived in the room I wasn’t feeling any of them.
She decided that she would leave to find me some other options (I think they have an outrageous number of gowns to choose from in the back – if you’ve seen the show, you know!).
I, being distractible and not wanting to stay in the changeroom solo, decided to walk around the floor to see some of the limited number of dresses they keep on the floor in that main area where there are other guest areas like you see on the show.
One of my friends came with me and we started to check out some different dresses. I wasn’t finding anything – until I did.
I actually don’t think this is encouraged or allowed, but I was ready to go rogue at that point.
In my perusing, I found a dress that right away I really liked, was within budget, and similar to the one I thought I wanted but had some spice to it that the other didn’t.
My bridal consultant found me, looking like a mother who had lost her child at the mall, and I let her know I just had found a few dresses I wanted to try.
I remember we got to the room with the new dresses and she asked which I wanted to try first, and I said “this one, for sure, because I think I might actually like it.”
She zipped it in and I did really love it. It felt like *ME* and was similar to the one I thought I wanted, but then…more me, you know?
I came out and showed my mom and girlfriends and they also really loved it. UH OH.
Uh oh because you know my first thought was that I felt bad because I had been so keen on the other dress – like I was cheating by loving this dress the same and maybe more!
So weird how that happens right?
I was really conflicted between the two.
I think my consultant didn’t know how to read me so generally just didn’t say anything, and my mom and girlfriends were keeping zipped and waiting for me to get more clear on it.
But you know what happened?
This other older bridal consultant came over and stopped me and said “omg you HAVE to get that dress. It is so perfect for you.” and came and was a full hype girl to me about it.
Then a few other consultants and people who passed by said the same thing!
I then asked my mom and girlfriends to share what they thought they should do. I see that this is why you should bring people with you! It was so helpful.
My mom forced me to first say that I was leaning toward the Kleinfeld’s dress and then they shared that they totally agreed. Their thoughts were that while both dresses were great, that this one was way more me.
Then I turned to them and said “okay, yeah, so I guess this is just my dress then. I’m going to get this one.”
I honestly think that my bridal consultant was shocked that I decided to get a dress, and then awkwardly overhead me say this, and then piped in and said: “Okay! Omg. So I need to ask you the questions….”
Why am I so awkward
I begin to die instead and get so awkward.
“Catie…do you loveeeee this dress?
…is this the dress that you can see yourself walking down the aisle, to your Fiance, Chris, in?
Catie, are you saying yes to the dress!?”
Did you know – I COULD NOT SAY YES TO THE DRESS BECAUSE I GOT TOO AWKWARD.
My entire face and upper body went beet red and my mom piped in: “Jesus Catie are you okay?”
I did the same thing when Chris proposed – I got so awkward and shocked at first that he needed to literally hold my hand and be like “helloooooo….?”
So that was that. I got the dress.
The only thing I wasn’t into is that they don’t let you drink champagne there and cheers or pose with the sign or any of that other basic B stuff. They did give me a card if I wanted to go and get bubbles across the street, but I was finished at that point, so that was that.
I’m glad I go over my own bullshit to let myself have a really fun bridal dress shopping experience. It really was incredible, and a weekend that I’ll always remember.
I’m glad that I let myself go to the stores I had dreamed of going, and let myself be open to finding something that would feel like me for my wedding day.
I am so excited!