8 Tricks To Wedding Dress Shopping In NYC!
/ Friday, September 4, 2015
Wedding dress shopping is a high-stakes, emotionally-charged, tulle-filled mess of fun and frustration. After 3 months, 8 salons and about 65 dresses I said "heck, yes!" to my dream dress (don't worry, not the one pictured). Now I'm sharing the 7 eye-opening tricks I picked up along the way with Martha Stewart Weddings, which is a whole other dream come true...
The dress tips I'm sharing aren't what you'd see in a traditional bridal magazine. There's some serious real talk in this round up! Spanks secrets. Rule breaking. Plus some fabric wisdom you've never thought of before.
I'm sharing my tips with Martha Stewart Weddings exclusively. But if you're interested, I'd love to outline my experience wedding dress shopping in New York City here on Hey, EEP! A lot of people come to New York specifically for gown gazing, so I think this could be helpful...
1. Kleinfeld: One of my maids-of-honor (I'm having two!) is the fashion editor at a bridal magazine. She recommended Kleinfeld as my first stop since it carries so many different designers and styles. This is "the" place for out-of-town brides to shop, so it's 100% as hectic as you'd think. That said, our consultant was lovely, patient and spot-on when choosing gowns for me.
Pros: Lots to choose from, bridal right-of-passage, large accessory and veil selection
Cons: Very busy, appointments book up quickly, lots of tourists
2. Wedding Salon of Manhasset: This gorgeous, light-filled boutique has everything you could dream of tucked in one sparkly spot! I tried on "my dress," a gorgeous Monique Lhuillier ball gown, for the first time when I was here. The consultants are warm, encouraging and let you comb through the racks yourself which I love.
Pros: Large selection, big & bright space, very intimate, Vera Wang Salon attached
Cons: Strict about no photos
3. Lovely Bride: I wanted to check out more affordable gown options before pulling the trigger on my dream dress. It pays to be an education shopper, especially when wedding dress shopping! Lovely Bride is a small, unique bridal boutique in TriBeca with a sizable gown selection, all under $8K. Ultimately the styles were a little too bohemian for me. But what a cool place!
Pros: Affordable, super-cute, small salon, very intimate, trendy
Cons: Try-on gowns were a little dirty / worn-out (for me, that was a turn off)
4. Harbor Bridal: I stumbled upon this teeny bridal oasis when I was visiting my parents on Long Island one weekend. It's on main street in Cold Spring Harbor, one town over from where I grew up. Owners Leigh and Tori are delightful, fashionable and such a young-fresh break from the same-old wedding salon experience. Even though I didn't find my dress here, I would tell everyone to pay them a visit.
Pros: Sister-owned, Say Yes To The Dress playing at all times, chic Parisian boutique, intimate, friendly
Cons: Smaller selection, hike from the city (unless you know someone on Long Island)
5. Monique Lhuillier Boutique: I mean, what does one even say about the mother ship, right? A charming brownstone tucked between Central Park and the fanciest avenue of the Upper East Side, this salon is just breathtaking. Lush fabrics. The most delicate details. This place is everything. I could have stayed forever. Tried on my dress here, as well, in pink.
Pros: Stunning gowns, feels very exclusive, totally chic location, wonderful consultants
Cons: Mostly expensive options
6. Amsale Flagship Salon: I was crushing on a silk brocade trumpet gown from Amsale, in addition to my dream dress. This salon was sleek, spacious and completely well-stocked. We basically had the place to ourselves but our consultant said that's because we booked a Sunday appointment.
Pros: Light-filled spacious salon, Lots of different styles between 3 lines, seamstresses on-site
Cons: Located in what felt like an empty office-building
7. Gabriella: I had a tough time with Gabriella because it came so highly recommended by a few friends and I didn't really have a great experience. Similar to Lovely Bride, this salon offers a larger selection of affordable dress options than other ateliers. That said, my consultant was 35 minutes late to our appointment. There were so many brides and so few mirrors, which meant serious bridal bottle-necking. There were a few gowns I liked but overall I was a bit disappointed.
Pros: Affordable dresses, frequent truck shows, cool indie designers
Cons: (Based on my experience) Crowded, disorganized
8. Mark Ingram Atelier: This salon may look petite but Mark's selection of incredible gowns is truly tremendous (and extremely well curated). Even better, they borrowed the Monique Lhuillier gown I was eying so that I could compare it to the other dresses. As a bride, I never felt more understood or taken-care-of. If I were to redo this whole experience, Mark Ingram would have been my first and only stop. This is where I say, YES!
Pros: Extremely professional, unique and extensive selection, attention to detail, wonderful staff
Cons: Not many gowns to look through yourself
That's it! I hope this was helpful to some of you. Where did you buy your wedding dress? Where would you recommend other brides go shopping? xo Erin