I Went Wedding Gown Shopping At Kleinfeld Bridal To See If It Was Worth The Hype

Ileana Paules-Bronet


Ileana Paules-Bronet

On August 30, 2019, my boyfriend and I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time. We met up with a friend of mine who worked there and made our way down the Grandview Trail. After a sweaty hour of hiking down into the canyon, we came to a clearing and decided to pose for some pictures. Of course, the first photo I had to take? A handstand.

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  • After I finished taking my obligatory handstand pictures, my boyfriend and I decided to pose for some cute couple photos. As we stood by the Grand Canyon, looking at my childhood friend, I felt something unmistakeable in my boyfriend's pocket: a small square box.

  • Before I knew it, my boyfriend was proposing to me. He pulled out his phone, read me a very sweet note (which I literally do not remember at all), and asked me to marry him. After five-and-a-half years together, I wasn't *shocked* that he was proposing (in fact, I had been pretty sure for a few weeks that it was coming), but I was still utterly overwhelmed. I -- of course -- said yes!

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    I couldn't wait to tell everyone that we were officially engaged! After a few days, it finally felt real, and I couldn't wait to get started on my wedding planning journey. Even though I knew I should start with the realistic things -- budget, guest list, venue, etc. -- I couldn't help but think about going wedding dress shopping.

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    Now, as a caveat, I'll step back from this entire thing for a moment and tell you that as a sociologist, I am more than aware that the entire world of modern weddings is a creation of the capitalist society we live in. I get it. With countless movies, television shows, magazines, websites, and media empires that exist in the Wild World of Weddings, it's very clear that the wedding industrial complex is real and rampant. Even with all this knowledge about the ways in which wedding ~dreams~ are forced upon girls at a young age, I couldn't help but fall into the trap myself -- and I'm OK with that.

  • The Kleinfeld Experience

    Ileana Paules-Bronet

    Since I live in New York City, there was no question about where I'd be going dress shopping. It had to be Kleinfeld Bridal, the salon made famous by TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. I made my appointment as soon as I got back from the Grand Canyon, scheduling my visit for the day after my engagement party, so that all my closest friends and family members could attend.

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    I went wedding dress shopping twice before my Kleinfeld appointment. First, I went to a small salon in Brooklyn with my mom and future-mother-in-law, to get an idea of which shapes worked best on me. Next, I went to a small salon in upstate New York with one of my maids-of-honor and my former babysitter. Finally, it was time to go to Kleinfeld.

    Accompanied by my mom, grandmother, maid of honor (the other one), and cousin (who is one of my bridesmaids), I made my way down Manhattan's West 20th Street and into the bridal studio.

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    The entrance was every bit as grand as I imagined. I checked in at the front desk, then took a seat and waited for my consultant to come find me. My entourage and I took a look around and peeked into the massive main salon area. It was white, sparkly, and gorgeous -- just as I'd hoped it would be.

    After a few minutes, my consultant, Sherry Gordon, came to find me (accompanied by an intern who would be helping with my appointment). They brought me back to a dressing room, asked me about my style, gave me a robe to change into, and went to find some dresses!

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    First, I tried on a couple of Hayley Paige gowns I'd been dreaming about for years. Although I absolutely loved the fabric, I didn't like the fit of either, so I moved on to some of the other dresses Sherry had pulled for me.

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    Next, I tried some simpler form-fitting gowns. At previous appointments, I'd felt torn between dramatic, sparkly dresses and classic silk dresses. I wanted to see if my visit to Kleinfeld would clarify any of my confusion -- spoiler alert, it didn't. Of course, Kleinfeld had significantly more dress options than the other salons I'd been to, so I honestly felt more confused after the appointment than I was when I went in. 

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    That said, there were multiple dresses I absolutely loved. The problem wasn't that I couldn't find a dress I liked, it was that there were too many dresses I liked! Luckily, my consultants and entourage were super helpful -- and Dorothy Silver, director of sales and merchandising, even came over to weigh in on my dress options!

  • Ileana Paules-Bronet

    Dorothy worked with my consultant and intern to help pick out some veils that matched my dresses. Although I initially thought I wouldn't want a veil, I couldn't deny that it added the "bridal" element I was missing in some of the dresses.

  • Was It Worth It?

    Ileana Paules-Bronet

    When my appointment ended, an hour-and-a-half after it began, I didn't say "yes" to the dress -- but I left with a huge smile on my face. I had an incredible time during my Kleinfeld appointment, as did my entourage. My consultant was considerate and helpful, and the dresses she pulled were exactly what I wanted. Overall, the experience was definitely worth the hype. If you're able to go to Kleinfeld when you're searching for your wedding gown, it's truly worth it -- even if you don't find your dress!

    (And no, I won't be on the show. Getting featured on Say Yes to the Dress is a whole different process, which includes an extensive application.)

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