I went shopping at Kleinfeld, the high-end bridal salon where TLC's 'Say Yes to the Dress' is filmed - here's what it was like
- Kleinfeld Bridal - the famous New York City wedding dress boutique best known as the setting of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" - services more than 17,000 brides a year.
- Kleinfeld has remained an iconic mainstay of the bridal market, which has swelled into a $72 billion industry.
- I joined my cousin on a recent trip to Kleinfeld to see what the experience is really like. This is what I learned.
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By the time I arrive at Kleinfeld Bridal for my cousin's 9:30 a.m. appointment - admittedly several minutes late, harried, and bleary-eyed on a recent Saturday - the store is eerily quiet, bracing itself for the mob of brides-to-be in search of the perfect wedding dress.
Before going any further, I must confess that despite the Manhattan bridal salon's status as heralded host of the beloved TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress," I have watched a grand total of 15 combined minutes since it debuted in 2007. Yet when my cousin asked me to join her for a dress consultation a few months ago, I decided I had to see for myself what all the fuss is about.Read more: Millennials have a new attitude about weddings - and its sending bridal stores into a downward spiral
From the sharply dressed employees rushing around in Louboutins, to the palpable excitement radiating from fawning friends and family members, I was immediately transfixed. The store itself is immaculate, awash in ornate gowns made with delicate lace, chiffon, tulle, and silk in hues of cream and ivory. Everything appears to be endlessly shimmering, thanks to the sheen emanating from the elaborate bridal jewelry displays and embroidered specialty dresses.
My "Say Yes to the Dress" ignorance aside, Kleinfeld has had enduring appeal in an uncertain bridal market. As the $72 billion wedding industry continues to evolve and experiment with new models, Kleinfeld has found a way to stay afloat while peers like David's Bridal have faltered. While TLC has certainly played a role in Kleinfeld's success, so too has the store's commitment to customer service and willingness to adapt to a modern era. In recent years, Kleinfeld has debuted private labels with buzzy designers like Christian Siriano and partnerships with e-commerce companies like Zola.
Here's an inside look at what it's like to shop at one of the most celebrated bridal stores in the US: