This past weekend I went wedding dress shopping with my mother, my sister, my sister-in-law, and two of my best friends. Going in I was sort of dreading wedding dress shopping but I chose my salons very carefully and overall I had an amazingly positive and fun experience. If anyone is looking to go wedding dress shopping in NYC but is feeling a little more laid back about the whole process - I have a few recommendations below.
One thing that has surprised me about the wedding planning process so far is that a lot of things I imagined I would want - it turns out I don’t. No bridal party, no hotel ballroom, I am getting married in Brooklyn rather than Newport, RI, etc. As this translates to wedding dress shopping, I found I didn’t really have a vision of what I wanted my dress to look like - more a vision of what I wanted to feel like, and be able to do. I want to feel like myself, and I want to be able to eat, drink, sit, dance, pee without a military operation, and I am unwilling to wear spanx. (Why? Because spanx are the worst, that’s why.) I did not want a dress that stood up by itself. I also could not get myself excited about going to a “traditional” bridal salon like Kleinfeld or Saks - I don’t know why, I just didn’t want to go.
We started at BHLDN - Anthropologie’s bridal sister site. This was my first appointment. Their NYC store books up FAST but I was able to score a cancellation. It was a fantastic appointment - I loved the stylist, and nearly all the dresses I tried on were dresses I happily could have worn. If I had wanted a short dress, I could have walked out with one dress off the rack, no alterations necessary. Their prices are also very reasonable, as wedding dresses go.
Saturday morning we went to Rebecca Schoneveld’s studio in Gowanus. It’s a small but beautiful studio, and Rebecca makes all the dresses herself, so everything is totally customizable. Her fabrics were incredibly luxe and her dresses are all cut to flatter a woman’s body (meaning it is OK if you have curves). She arrived towards the end of my appointment with her 6 month old son strapped to her chest and she was warm and friendly and awesome. She will be making my wedding dress and doing my alterations - I am going later this week for measurements and to put down a deposit. Her dresses are also very well-priced, especially given that they are all made of unbelievably luxe silk and beautiful lace and/or satin.
Then we went to Jenny Yoo - it was the most traditional bridal salon I went to. Her dresses are a great mix - she has both showstoppers (aka wedding dresses that stand up on their own - which, BTW, look amazing on - I totally understand why people wear them) and simple dresses. I am not having a wedding party, but if I was, her bridesmaids dresses are gorgeous. I actually tried on a few dresses I loved, but nothing could hold a candle to the Rebecca Schoneveld experience! Jenny Yoo dresses are also extremely reasonably priced as wedding dresses go.
My last appointment was at Stone Fox Bride. I had a feeling I wouldn’t find my dress there (mainly because a lot of the dresses are out of my price range), but I had heard the shopping experience was amazing. It exceeded all expectations - within 90 seconds of our arrival, I was barefoot and bonding with the stylist, who is getting married soon herself, about Susan Miller, and my sister was prancing around with a flower crown on her head. She said she’s never given her wedding much thought, but now she knows she wants to wear a flower crown. The Stone Fox dresses are gorgeous and I really loved one of them - unfortunately, my mother didn’t think it was bridal enough, so it was a no go. Everyone who makes a dress appointment at Stone Fox has a photo of their ring taken for their Instagram page and they post your story - I had so much fun reading the comments. It is absolutely worth the trip! (I am wearing the band I wore to avoid losing my ring the first week with my engagement ring, because I love how they look together - I also have no idea why my hand looks so ruddy and dry, it wasn’t actually)
Overall it was an incredibly fun, relaxed, positive experience. Everywhere I went I felt like the stylists really listened to what I was going for and nobody scoffed at my (small, especially by NYC standards) dress budget. I would highly recommend any of the four salons I visited.