Tying the Knot

Saying Yes to the Dress

Our digital content editor shares her wedding dress shopping experience.
Credit: Thinkstock

Not even 24 hours after Jeff and I were engaged I booked my appointment for Kleinfeld in New York City. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the bridal mecca is the home of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress or SYTTD.

I’ve been obsessed with weddings long before I was engaged and, to me, the perfect Friday night consisted of yoga pants, a glass of wine, Chinese food and SYTTD. In fact, I’d spotted my dream gown on the show in 2012, found it online and saved the link in a folder labeled “Bridal Gowns.” Jeff and I had only been dating for about a year at that time, but what can I say? I’m a girl who knows what she wants!

So, the day after Jeff proposed, I was “nonchalantly” browsing Kleinfeld’s website “just to see” when appointments were available (planning a long-distance wedding requires a bit of foresight). The boutique just so happened to have an appointment available the day after Christmas (conveniently, when I’d be on the East Coast for the holiday), so I jumped on it.

My mom, my sister/maid of honor and I took the MegaBus to New York City for the appointment and, after fumbling a bit with Google maps, we’d finally arrived at Kleinfeld…so many beautiful dresses!

To be perfectly honest, I’d felt a bit anxious the night before our trip. All of a sudden, everything was happening too fast! I’d been waiting forrreverrr to try on gowns and you mean to tell me it was going to be over in an hour?! Nooo! My stomach was in knots and I couldn’t sleep.

Once we met with our consultant, Renee, she whisked us into a fitting room and it was time to get down to business. She asked if I had any dresses in mind and I quickly ratted off the designer name and style number, complete with a picture from Pinterest. Yes, I’d done my research.

Then Renee escorted us to the backroom and allowed us to handpick gowns. I always knew I wanted to wear a ball gown (really, when else do you get to wear a ball gown unless you’re a princess?!), but my mom and sister encouraged me to try on a few mermaid styles to show off my figure “just for the fun of it.” So I did.

Renee suggested we start with my “dream dress,” but I knew I wanted to save that one for last. So…off I went in and out of about eight to 10 dresses until we finally came to The One. It was love at first sight!

We left the fitting room and Renee took us into the main room where I could twirl about in my dress. Another consultant came out nowhere and adorned me with a veil (you wouldn’t believe how much those things cost!!) and sparkly hairpiece. To my surprise, I didn’t cry (no one did, actually) and there wasn’t any of the drama you sometimes see on the show. I was just happy. Everyone loved it and I didn’t want to take it off!

Below are a few tips to help you find the dress of your dreams:

1. Stay true to your heart. In my case, it was that I wanted a ball gown. Even though the mermaid style looks good on my figure, it wasn’t what I wanted and what fit my wedding vision. So be sure to stick to your guns.

2. Leave the huge entourage at home. Bring one or two people you trust to tell you the truth about how you look, but who will also support you no matter what. In my case, I brought my mom and my sister. Any more than close family/friends and you run the risk of being overwhelmed by everyone else’s opinions. Yours is the only one that really matters.

3. Keep an open mind. While I picked my dream dress about two years ago, I was open to the reality that it may not fit properly, look good on me or I may fall in love with something else. So while it’s good to have a few dresses in mind (or at least a desired silhouette), know your options.

4. Come prepared. Be sure to wear and/or bring proper undergarments. Kleinfeld actually has strapless bras (the corset-type ones, which are smoother and more supportive) at the boutique, so you don’t have to bring one. And also shoes if you want to try the dress on with heels.

5. Have fun with it! This is an exciting time and when else do you get to play dress up? You don’t have to buy your gown that day. Keep looking until you find the perfect dress…you’ll know it when you do. This is NOT the time to settle!

About L’Oreal and Jeff

LOreal and Jeff

L’Oreal and Jeff met in May 2008, became friends and went on their first date at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium in May 2011. They currently reside in Chicago and are planning a fall 2014 wedding in Baltimore with a LOT of purple details. Despite rooting for rival NFL teams, they love laughing and having fun together and look forward to getting married!