When we decided to book a wedding date only eight months away, one of the things I needed to do sooner rather than later was get a wedding dress. They say that you have to give at least 6 months for the dress to come in and then alterations will take about a month, so we needed to get moving. So a couple weeks ago we headed up to Kleinfeld in New York, and I found a wedding dress!
Prior to the appointment, I’ll admit I was having mixed feelings about shopping for a wedding dress. Excited was definitely one of the emotions; I love gowns and dressing up and I knew I was in for a once in a lifetime opportunity in a truly special place. But I was also a little apprehensive and a bit nervous too. This stemmed from the fact that I really hate shopping in general, and if one thing rubs me the wrong way while I’m shopping it tends to ruin the entire experience. So I spent the week leading up to my appointment coaching myself on the fact that dress shopping was not like normal shopping, and that none of the things I dislike about regular shopping really applied. And fortunately, when I went back to my dressing room at the beginning of the appointment, all my fears melted away.
But before that could happen, we arrived at Kleinfeld about 15 minutes early for my 9:30 appointment. I have been an avid Say Yes to the Dress viewer for years, so I had a rough idea of what to expect, at least based on what I had seen on the show. A couple things were a little different though. When I checked in upon arrival the man at the desk asked who I had with me for the appointment, and as I ran through everyone—like they usually do on the couch on the show—it started to really hit me that I was at Kleinfeld for a wedding dress. We were the second group to arrive, but the waiting area quickly filled up. My guess was that there were at least 6 brides with 9:30 appointments, plus all of their entourages, so there were quite a few people.
And then right around 9:30, consultants started coming out and collecting their brides. We recognized some of the consultants from the show, which was exciting. As more and more groups exited the waiting area my heart started skipping each time a new consultant came out, and I’ll admit I was starting to get a little anxious when most of the other brides left to start their appointments before I did. But that anxiety quickly melted away when Diane came out. I recognized Diane from the show, and her smile and cheerful demeanor immediately put me at ease. I was still a little nervous at this point, but that final bit of fear disappeared when she led me back to the dressing room. All we had done at that point were introductions, but she turned to me and started rattling off some of the exact things I knew I wanted and didn’t want in a dress, that she knew just from meeting me. This mind-reading continued throughout the appointment, and I can’t even express how amazing and helpful it was.
In the dressing room, I showed Diane some of the photos I brought with me, then she let me walk around parts of the salon with her and pull out some dresses. This was a fun way to start the appointment and it got me fully in wedding dress-choosing mode. And then we started trying on dresses! The first dress I tried on was beautiful, and it was almost dreamlike to walk from the dressing room out to the pedestal. I could see my family before they saw me, and it was so cool to watch them turn and see their faces light up. The first dress had a lot of elements that I liked, but it was missing something. Plus, it was the first dress. So we continued.
After the first one, Diane had me try on a few that were similar to the pictures I brought, some of which I quickly discovered—and which she definitely knew already—weren’t quite right for my body type. A quick note about this: I feel like I was incredibly lucky to discover that the sample sizes the dresses came in were all very close to my actual size, so we were able to zip up each one without any clips or extras like that, which really helped me get a feel for the dresses.
After showing everyone one or two more and trying a couple in the dressing room, it was time for Diane to restock. So I put on one of those silky Kleinfeld robes and sat while she collected a few more dresses. I realized at this point that each consultant has their own dressing room, and Diane had a corkboard in hers filled with thank you notes from brides, which made me smile. This was also when I realized how many people they have working at Kleinfeld. The consultants do physically pick out some of the dresses, but they also have people who are almost like runners collecting dresses and distributing them to the different dressing rooms. So she was only gone a few minutes, but when she came back I had three or four new dresses to try on.
I mentioned earlier that Diane was reading my mind. I say this because even though I didn’t know it, she knew right when I put on my dress that it was my dress. I started to have an inkling when I left the dressing room in it and both my grandmothers started crying, followed quickly by everyone else. But I did hesitate a little when Diane suggested a veil, so we went back to the room to try on one more. But at that point, it was clear that I knew which dress was mine, so I put it back on and went back out. That was when they jacked me up with a veil and a bouquet and I realized that even though the dress wasn’t what I thought I wanted, it was perfect. I felt like a princess and I knew that I wouldn’t find another dress that was more me. So everyone whipped out their phones, hit record, and Diane asked me the question. And I said yes to the dress!
My wedding dress shopping experience could not have been better or smoother. Diane was incredible and I felt like I was floating through the entire thing. There were no disagreements; everyone cried for the dress that I got and that one only. For the couple days after the appointment (and I may have done it again just now, mid-writing), I would take out my phone and look at the photos I had saved of the dress and I couldn’t keep a smile from spreading across my face. I still can’t! And now I can’t wait to wear it on my wedding day.