NYC’s Best Places to Shop for Wedding Dresses

By grace.g.yang ยท June 22, 2012
Under: Wedding

Shopping for a wedding gown is a really daunting task; I want to stay within my set budget but I also want to get something beautiful, classic, and glamorous for our wedding day. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for my wedding dress (and haven’t found it yet) but here are my notes on the places I’ve visited and comments on each place. I’m still booking appointments for later in the summer so I might do another list later in the year!

1. Kleinfeld Bridal, 110 W. 20th Street

Pros: large selection of dresses, very experienced sales people, private dressing rooms, 15% off during trunk shows, flat fee of $695 for alterations, large Pnina Tornai collection, online booking for appointments
Cons: no photography, even though they have a large selection of dresses they won’t necessarily pull them for you because they don’t want to give you too many to choose from, they can be very pushy

My favorite dress from Kleinfeld:

IMG_2035

The dress selection at Kleinfeld was very large (the largest out of all the stores in New York), however, that doesn’t mean you’ll get to see a lot. On my first visit, I gave them a list of dresses I wanted to see – out of all of them, I only saw three. Instead, I was shown different gowns at higher price points. They really try to up-sell you (and oftentimes don’t care/pay attention to your budget). Also, they don’t allow you to take photographs, which I think is a REALLY bad idea; you have an image of what you *think* you look like in the dress, but photographs don’t lie! Also, I said I was getting married next June and the sales person said I was really behind because I should give it at least a year to find my gown and order it – that’s the longest I’ve heard (and to make a gown, it only takes four months before alterations)

2. Bridal Reflections 260 5th Avenue

Pros: allow you to browse for dresses on your own, private dressing rooms, large Ines di Santo collection
Cons: really pushy on sales, won’t tell you the price of the dress without saying “we’ll make the price for you”, all of their gowns are extremely embellished

My favorite gown from Bridal Reflections:

photo 2

I was shown a lot of Ines Di Santo gowns that were in extremely embellished with a ton of different types of designs. The sales person said everything could be customized to my tastes but it was difficult to envision what the gown would look like since they were so busy already. Originally, the sales person said that every designer would work with my budget, but then after I asked her for more details regarding how much the gown was, she said she’d have to ask management and get back to me. I don’t know what the final price of the gowns will be, but most of them are very similar in design; if you’re looking for a glitz and glam gown, Bridal Reflections is a good option.

3. Vera Wang 991 Madison Avenue

Pros: comfortable seating for your entourage, large selection of sizes, really experienced sales staff, only one person for all alterations
Cons: sample gowns didn’t fit that well, needed a lot of assistance getting into gowns, no photography allowed, pricey!

My favorite gown from Vera Wang (photo is from Saks):

IMG_2032

Vera Wang is known for her bridal gowns; each one is made to order (and takes four months to make it!) The alterations also are done by only one person so you get to know her and she gets to know your body and your likes/dislikes. I liked a lot of the gowns on the rack but their sizes that were available were really not flattering. I tried on the same exact dress at another store and it looked surprisingly better (don’t worry if you’re trying on gowns that are larger than your normal pant/shirt sizes). The dressing area is really luxurious (although a bit dark) and the sales staff is really quite knowledgeable. I really liked the woman that helped me and she suggested I go back for their trunk show.

4. Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier, 110 E. 55th Street

Pros: large selection of Oscar de la Renta, knowledgeable sales staff, not pushy, good selection for a sample sale
Cons: gowns are expensive; on the phone, they stated that gowns start at 5,000 and are typically 6,000 – 12,000, which limits the selection if you’re looking within a budget

I attended the Mark Ingram sample sale, which I thought would be chaos but was actually surprisingly organized. There were lots of boobs flying around (no private rooms for a sample sale) but the selection was really good and the gowns were all in very good condition. I plan on making an actual appointment there soon (I didn’t end up purchasing the gown I was looking at) but I haven’t made an appointment yet. They have a great selection of many different brands and also have a very kind and friendly sales staff.

5. Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Avenue

Pros: large selection of Oscar de la Renta, knowledgeable sales staff, not pushy, good selection for a sample sale
Cons: on the weekends, the only gowns on display are the trunk shows

My favorite gown from Saks:

IMG_1999

I loved the sales person at Saks and thought she was extremely helpful and knew exactly what I was looking for, but also brought gowns that would fit my body shape and were all within my budget. I also liked the fact that they offer the option of opening up a Saks card and giving you 10% off the gown in addition to 10% off anything else you purchase for your wedding. I didn’t walk out with a gown but I plan on returning for another trunk show.

5. Amsale, 625 Madison Avenue

Pros: allows photography, selection of Amsale, Kenneth Pool and Christos gowns
Cons: the appointment was cut short because there wasn’t a lot of dresses that were fit and flare, pricing is quite expensive for gowns

My favorite gowns from Amsale:

IMG_1978

photo 1

Other places:

Bergdorf Goodman
- I wasn’t a fan of their collection (and the sales person was trying to push me out of the appointment because she didn’t have any gowns). They have lots of trunk shows so it might be worth checking out if you like a certain designer, but not if you’re just dress shopping

David’s Bridal
- If you’re going to shop around, you should start here; the service is terrible but the gowns give you an idea of what looks good on your body. The sales people are serving at least two other people during your appointment and most likely won’t have time to help you. The gowns are much cheaper (most being under $1000), but the fabric quality isn’t as good and some of it is very shiny (in a bad way).

Designer Bridal Loft
- This place advertises that they have an ongoing sample sale; they might have one, but I didn’t see any sample gowns that were actually on sale when I visited. There are many Jenny Packman gowns there but I wasn’t interested in the style so I don’t plan on returning.

What places am I missing? Where did you find your perfect gown?

Reader Comments

I went to bridal reflections and got a romona keveza gown. They would tell me the price so I am wondering if you got a bad consultant. Hang in there you will find something perfect

#1 
Written By Ruth on June 22nd, 2012 @ 8:44 am

Thanks for the encouragement, Ruth! I’m going to Chicago to look for gowns there as well. Hopefully I will find something within my budget :)

#2 
Written By grace.g.yang on June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:12 am

you should check out reem acra in midtown. a friend of mine got her dress there and had a wonderful experience. she got to work with reem herself and said she would recommend it to anyone.

#3 
Written By jean m. on June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:34 am

@Jean – I’ve been trying to get an appointment at Reem Acra but there’s only one person that works there (or something ridiculous like that!) They have trunk shows so I’m going to attempt to go to one of those to see the gowns.

#4 
Written By grace.g.yang on June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:42 am

Wish I could contribute some useful advice here. Your gown preference is impeccable though: the simple dresses with interesting angular details are always the most fantastic in my opinion. Not too much frilly nonsense or bedazzled fabrics. Interesting post, I sincerely hope you find The One!

#5 
Written By Bianca on June 22nd, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

Congrats on your engagement! The first dress pictured from Amsale is my favourite on you so far. Wedding dress shopping is great fun, so enjoy it! I found my “dress” within one of the first 10 dresses that I tried on. That was a relief as there are so many styles to choose from!

#6 
Written By Sandra W. on June 23rd, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

Have you tried Bridal Garden or RK Bridal?

#7 
Written By Lea on June 25th, 2012 @ 9:30 am

Love the dress from Klienfeld’s. I got my dress from Kleinfeld’s and had a wonderful experience. They took care of everything from soup to nuts and were very accomodating. Camille was my sales lady. Love her!

#8 
Written By Michelle on June 26th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

To be perfectly honest, Saks and the second one from Amsel are the best for your body style. The other dresses give the appearance of being a mermaid :( Best of luck and remember, it’s one day and you’ll never wear the dress again. After moving mine multiple times, I realized that I was never going to wear it again; my daughter was never going to wear it. Basically hauling around something that I should have given to a thrift shop long ago, so that someone could actually use it. In the end, not worth stressing over chicky!

#9 
Written By imdb on June 29th, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

Try Gabriella’s. I just got one there. It’s in meat packing

#10 
Written By Mbs on July 4th, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

Hi Grace! I love the second one from Amsale. If you make it out to the Chicago ‘burbs, I found mine at “A L’Amour” in Barrington. Happy hunting – you’ll look stunning on your wedding day!

#11 
Written By Carolyn on July 7th, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

any luck with reem acra? i also love the second dress from amsale, btw. it looks really fantastic on you.

#12 
Written By Jean M. on August 24th, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

Thanks, Jean! I didn’t have any luck with getting an APPOINTMENT at Reem Acra! I actually went to Gabriella’s and tried some Reem Acra gowns. I didn’t really like them on me. I’m going back to Saks next weekend with my mom and I’m hoping we will see their full collection and select a gown then!

#13 
Written By Grace Yang on August 24th, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

I just bought my gown from KAREN WILLIS HOLMES bridal – NY. No appointment needed, Helpful staff and stunning dress. Highly recommend. http://www.karenwillisholmes.com

#14 
Written By SarahR on July 4th, 2014 @ 12:58 am

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