Friday, February 26, 2010

eff saying yes to the dress....

 

Dear ESB,

I had an horrifically awful experience wedding dress shopping this past weekend. I actually wrote about it extensively in my absolute sheer and utter rage immediately after the fact, thinking I would send an email to the management of the store. While I still fully intend to do this, I thought I would write to you - see if you had any interest in bringing this up on your blog. I feel like it might save a trip to NYC for many a bride hoping to find their dream dress at that bullshit shop from that bullshit t.v. show on lame ass TLC.

That's right.  I went to Kleinfeld to buy my wedding dress. I didn't go because of their t.v. show.  I didn't really know they had one until after I made the appointment. I live in LA and found the dress I wanted to buy.  It was actually the 3rd dress I tried on in the first store I went in to. Long story short, my grandmother really wanted to be with me when I bought the dress. The only store I could find it in on the east coast relatively close to her was Kleinfeld.  

Never mind that its basically a glorified warehouse, the saleswoman that helped us (who incidentally looked like the "caseworker" from beetlejuice) could not have been more rude. First problem? My budget was too small (when, by the way, did $2000 become an insignificant figure?). Second problem?  The friend I brought with me was too opinionated. Really? That's a nice to thing to say to a complete stranger. Third problem? My grandmother had the AUDACITY to go to the bathroom during my appointment. The saleswoman literally tracked her down and basically told her off. Umm, she's 88? Fourth problem? My boobs are too big. They were going to have to charge me $150 to "open the cup size" of ANY dress I tried on (and bought). Really? But I fit in the sample sizes (more on this later). I never did get an answer if it was $150 for the set or each! 

I could actually go on about how awful an experience it was, but to cut to the chase, the woman had no interest whatsoever in selling me the dress I knew I wanted from the start. The store's employees seem to actually believe that they are bona fide celebrities. Ummm... it's a reality show. About wedding dress shopping. Sorry sister, that's a pretty niche audience.

The woman tried to rush out of the store faster than anything I've ever experienced. 35 minutes into my 65 minute appointment she told me she didn't have anything else for me to try on. Leaving the store I felt like a deflated, sad, hippo with too-big boobs. Not wanting to leave for home with that as my grandmother's lasting memory of our fun time wedding dress shopping, I called another store (Priscilla of Boston if you're interested). They could squeeze me in. It was heaven. The woman who helped us could not have been sweeter. She even showed me a rack of sale dresses! I pulled one off and said I'd like to try it. She gladly obliged and this funny thing happened. My grandmother's face LIT UP. She was so excited - I was so excited - the saleswoman was so excited. The dress not only fit like a glove, it was gorgeous. Super romantic and frankly, not so different from the other one I'd flown across the country to show my grandmother. I bought the dress. Off the rack. With plenty of room for my boobs. Thank you very much. 

A happy ending for sure (let's hope this keeps up). The reason I wanted to email you though, was because I am fairly certain a lot of girls make the journey to Kleinfeld - as some kind of pilgrimage. Whether they believe the hype of buying a dress 9 months to a year ahead of time, HAVING to have 3 + fittings, that there really does exist THE dress (one dress really?) I don't know. But what I do know is that I am glad I wasn't that invested in having a "Kleinfeld experience" as the girls who were literally taking pictures of themselves while walking in to what has now become another NY tourist attraction. If I could give one piece of advice to girls shopping for a wedding dress it would be that it is just a dress. There are a hundred that will make you look beautiful. There are another hundred that will make you feel great about yourself. You won't be able to find it unless the situation is right, and for me, it most certainly was not right at Kleinfeld. 

-R 

(Image from Vogue Paris via tobacco and leather

43 comments:

  1. yay for non itty-bitty titty committee members finding awesome dresses! i have yet to find mine because of that reason. and seriously, eff that show!

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  2. here's the thing. i'm sure her experience at kleinfeld was just as horrible as she says. but bridal salons/ sales floors are terrible in general. i live in kansas city, and i'm terrified to go into any of our high-end bridal stores because of the horror stories floating around about rude and patronizing sales people and botched orders/alterations. in kansas city! the capital of nice!

    i was in chicago last weekend, at a bridal shop that deals in consignment pieces--either once worn or samples from other stores-- and even there, i was told that my "under $1000" budget was unreasonable (um, the dresses are used?), but i could still try on dresses "for the experience." (i actually found two great options for under $1000, much to the "surprise" of the sales girl.)

    its just the way the industry is. get a dress off etsy. have someone custom make one for you. buy it off the rack at nordstroms. borrow one. skip the "bridal salon" experience all together.

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  3. That's horrible! The place I bought my dress a few years ago, Suky's in Ardmore, is sadly out of business and my experience was fantastic. Everyone was kind, I didn't feel rushed or unimportant, and it made me want to never stop wedding dress shopping. I agree, there is a TON of pressure for everything about weddings to be perfect, when really, we should return to what the wedding is about-a celebration of love, commitment and friendship.

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  4. kleinfeld sucks. everyone in there is bitter and far from married

    oh and my momma got her gown from P of B and loved them then as much as she does now.

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  5. psh. they all say that.

    and then you say: "oh, you cant work within my budget? i guess ill hafta go somewhere else, then." and walk out.

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  6. Ugh. How awful. I'm glad she found something she loved at a place where she had a good experience. Because yeesh.

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  7. i found my dress at a bridal salon in charlotte, nc (vineyard collection) called hayden olivia. it was, and still is, an amazing experience dealing w/ them. no patronizing, no rude sales girls. they're awesome. so i think it just depends on who you're dealing with. every bride is looking for something different, and salespeople should know that. jerks at k-feld.

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  8. Oh, girl, that sounds horrible. Bravo to you for finding your dress and doing it YOUR way - without having to open any cup sizes!

    I've watched that TLC show, scoffing at how much money people shell out for A DRESS. I found mine at a bridal shop. After the sales clerk put me in some expensive, elaborate gowns, I pulled (all by myself) an ivory silk charmeuse sheath dress with a dramatic plunging back. It's simple and elegant. Oh, and the price tag: $200. Apparently, it is a bridesmaids dress, which is fine by me. Nobody will know the difference, and now I can afford some kick-ass shoes.

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  9. as far as i'm concerned, kleinfeld and all the hags working there, tlc, and their shows about dipshit morons popping out 30 fucking kids can go suck a big one.

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  10. ugh, sorry... still in a pretty foul mood.
    i probably shouldn't be reading/commenting on blogs right now. :/

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  11. ...am i the only one that now wants to see nicole's dress?

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  12. Celia you should ABSOLUTELY be commenting on blogs right now.

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  13. my first job was at a bridal boutique, and so many things about it SUCKED. i don't doubt there are a lot of shitty bridal store employees out there (i worked with some), but i dealt with quite a few brides who were not so pleasant, too.

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  14. @liz - no, you're not the only one. I wonder if she'll post a pic...

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  15. lauraestimiller@gmail.comFebruary 26, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Right on.

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  16. kleinfeld = you asked for it

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  17. The sad thing it's it's that bad on the SHOW. The show is an advertisement not to go there.

    First place I went to (I knew I wasn't buying a dress there or probably from any salon, but similarly to you, my mom is sick and wanted to see me try on dresses). Anyway, they were sweet, but I SWEAR TO GOD, when I looked it up, they have FIVE complaints on file with the better business bureau form brides who had been ripped off. FIVE. Rad guys.

    There are so many parts of the wedding industry (the icky industry, not awesome independent vendors, of which there are many) that have ZERO interest in actually helping their customers. It's odd that they are able to pull it off....

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  18. Oo, yay for finding a dress at P of B. I wandered in to the SF store without an appointment while busy being a tourist from halfway round the world. Everyone in the store was lovely as pie, and showed me all the samples on sale without making me feel like a second class citizen. Two appointments later I walked out with a dress. And the whole experience was FUN. And my salesgirl was sweet and honest (immediately on seeing me in one dress: "Uhhh... no. Definitely no.").

    Meanwhile, I went to the biggest bridal store in my home town (in Australia) looking for a veil and got told I couldn't try on veils with my dress. They don't allow people to try on dresses bought at other stores. Stoo-pid!

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  19. That sucks, but unfortunately is not surprising - watching that show makes me cringe.. you can just tell that those salespeople just want to sell the most expensive dress and move on. i get it, its a business, but you know, it is also a special day and its a new thing and its easy to feel uncomfortable.
    I had a similar experience at a small place on the LES, the woman had just made a deal and when it was time for my appointment, she clearly didn't need to the money that day so just rushed me along sighing about my budget and putting strapless dresses on me even after I insisted, over and over again, that I didn't want strapless..
    If any of you are in the New York city area - I highly suggest checking out Angelo Lambrou on East 7th Street. He is not cheap, but he will make you a dress that is custom fitted to your body. He will change whatever you want from his samples, or, he will build you something you and him make up. He is warm, smart, honest and most of all *not* a warehouse. He doesn't push you to buy something you don't really want, and what I love the most is that he is honest. He would rather you didn't buy something at his store then purchase something you are not happy with.
    Sorry to sound like an ad for this guy, but after many experiences like the one at Kleinfelds, I 100% recommend looking at the smaller designers who are more interested in the construction of the garment and the personal attention then making some extra cash.

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  20. I am so happy to read this! I had a similar experience there where the woman who was helping me decided I wasn't going to buy in the beginning of the appointment and then didn't listen to me from then on. It was a horrible experience, especially because it was the first place I went. It actually made bridal gown shopping hell from me from then on. I finally went to a small boutique called Wedding Atlier and had such an amazing experience. Thank god cause I was ready to give up.

    And yes, it is just a dress. I tried on a lot that looked nice and I could have worn. You just have to feel good in it and have a good experience shopping for it.

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  21. At the store where I bought my wedding dress, the staff there was utterly snotty. It was very hard for me to keep focused on shopping when they were p*ssing me off totally from the moment I walked in. These people need to be more humble and nice -- especially since brides end up spending so much money at their stores.

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  22. I was too scared to go into a bridal shop so I got my dress made by someone on etsy:)

    How come the majority of bridal store staff are so intimidating? Like you don't deserve to be in the store or something...

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  23. They are so nice at P of B. I had an appointment there which I canceled because I found my dress online at a vintage shop on Etsy. When I called to cancel, the girl who answered the phone said "oh, did you find a dress?" and when I told her yes and described it, she squealed like she was one of my BFFs, congratulated me, and wished me a nice day. What a sweetheart.

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  24. I had a horrible experience in Coral Gables at Chic Parisien. I, too, was one of those dumb betches that thought I HAD to go to Miracle Mile and shop for my wedding dress. I ended up having an awesome time with my two best girls, drinking champagne and totally crashing the Biltmore, but I will never. ever. forget that awful betch Lucy and her "you have to buy it now" speech.
    A couple of months later, after I recovered, I found an awesome local boutique where the co-owner took to me after hearing my awful story. I found a dress. Maybe not THE dress. So, I didn't buy it. But I will buy my dress from him, when I'm ready. Because he rules.
    Oh, and yes, SYTTD is a clear advertisement to avoid Kleinfeld's at all costs - however; Randy Fenoli, who I had the pleasure of meeting, is actually probably the one of the nicest guys in the universe.

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  25. I so adore this post. Like big time.

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  26. i never went to a bridal salon to buy my dress, and i couldn't be happier.

    ok, so that's not entirely true. i was pushed into david's bridal by my cousin so her daughter could see me in a wedding dress. fine. okay. i get it. the dresses were heavy, not flattering, and the sales girl kept trying to upsell. i felt bad, as i clearly wasn't going to buy anything.

    in about two months, little miss will see me in my ebay wedding dress! huzzah!

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  27. Kleinfeld is hell on earth. I could have written this post.

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  28. My dress hunt was exhausting and was pretty frustrating...although I think that's partly because at the time I believed all the sales people when they said "oh! your wedding is 10 months away!??? That's BARELY enough time to get your dress! Sorry, whaaaa????

    I tried on close to 100 dresses. I was frustrated with bridal salons, but only had BAD experiences at a couple of them (mostly when I told them I didn't want to look like a princess and they gave me this look like I had six heads).

    The boutique salon I ended up buying my dress from was really great. I walked in frustrated and tired and the owner was excited by my challenge. She said "i will find you your dress tonight" and low and behold the first dress she pulled for me was awesome....and half of my budget! It pays to keep at it until you feel good about your decision.

    As a sidenote: what's up with TLC's obsession with little people??? And with families with a million kids!!!?

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  29. I think it totally depends on your salesperson. I went to a totally low-key bridal salon in midtown, and while they weren't all sales-y I swear the girl nearly fell asleep she looked so bored the entire time.
    And I may be the lone voice of dissent, but I adored Kleinfelds because of Keasha. She was lovely, helpful, and when saw that my mom almost made me cry (in the bad way) whisked the dress off of me, pulled me aside, and made a private appointment the very next day. She's lovely and I can't recommend her enough. Everyone else, up to and including the people who tried to sell me $250 fake earrings can suck it.

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  30. Effffffff them. And good for you for getting away and finding something that makes you feel great.

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  31. I saw "Say Yes To The Dress" for the first time the other day with my sister (I know right, how could I have POSSIBLY gotten through the bridal experience without watching that show?). Actually, I saw less than half the episode. It was kind of disgusting. I was freaking out about what I spend on my wedding and here were girls spending that same amount on their dress. It was the best cure for wedding guilt.

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  32. Congrats on finding something fabulous - at a lovely store (seriously, since when do bridal retailers have the right to treat customers like sh*t), where you didn't have to get the bust enlarged (I feel your pain... had to get my dress increased in the bust...), at a price within your budget (agreed - since when is $2000 a small budget?!).

    My husband and I just got married last year - and I wouldn't have changed a thing... except for the dress. Not that it wasn't lovely, but at the end of the day, I regret spending a bunch of money on a dress I'll wear once. There are so many great off the rack options and designers on etsy. My sister-in-law wore a white dress from BCBG that cost her $150 -- it was stunning...

    Enough rambling. So glad you found your dress... best of luck with the wedding planning!!

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  33. so glad R was able to find a dress after all that..best of luck with the rest of your wedding planning.

    it seems like everytime i see that show on tv, they're trying to sell those damn pnina tornai dresses..ugh, makes me want to vomit.

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  34. I'm so glad things worked out!
    If anyone needs a bridal salon in NYC go to "bridal reflections". I got my dress there and they were friendly and understanding :-)The first time i went in with a friend and didn't buy anything. They knew I liked a certain designer and were happy to book an appointment during that designers trunk show when my mom could come in town! That's what I call service.

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  35. Kinda really want to know which saleswoman she had at Kleinfeld! (Well, I have my theories, but I'd still like to know for sure...)

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  36. Was thinking the same thing Catherine. I really wonder who she met with.

    I have to admit, I can really get into a "Say Yes" marathon on a lazy Saturday. It's kind of in the same way I slow down when I pass a car accident, but I find the show completely fascinating! Who are these people? The brides, the sales people, the families...unreal!

    My personal favorite thing is when people come in and say "I'd like to spend between 6 and 12k" ....Ummmm?? Excuse me? You have a minimum?? So if someone came out with your dream dress for a meeeasly 2k (eye roll) you'd turn it down or insist they encrust it with more cheesy-ness to get it up to your price range?

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  37. I can't believe that I just discovered this blog! Where have I been?!

    Anyway, I also went to Kleinfeld with a 2k budget and got a similar reaction. The only reason my mother and I went there is because of the sheer amount of dresses they have to offer. I had never seen the TV show and was really hoping to find my dress at a small, funky boutique or something. But my mom flew in for the experience, so we went. To make a long story short, I found my dress. It was on sale and we got them to go even lower on the price because of a little snag in the fabric. It wasn't the experience I was hoping for (at all) but my dad was so proud that we bargained and came out way under budget. All in all, I absolutely love my dress but I would NOT recommend Kleinfeld's. I'm so glad that R was able to go elsewhere and get the service she deserved :)

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  38. I too went to Kleinfeld with a 2K budget, mostly because of the amount of selection and because my maid of honor thought it would be fun, and they were terrible as well. I got the "no, we do not have anything else for you" line, and when I found something I sort of liked, but was not 100% sold on, the saleswoman basically said "whats wrong with you? why are you not buying this dress right now?" it was terrible. I went home and found another salon to buy the dress at just in case I decided it was "the one" because there was no way I was going to give them the money.
    About a month later I also went to Priscilla- and it was AMAZING. My saleswoman and all the other ladies there were fabulous, they had tons of dresses in lots of price points- they didn't scoff when I said I needed some time to think about which dress (2k isn't a lot for a dress in wedding land, but to me, thats a big amount of money to make a decision about!). I made another appointment soon after to go back and make the big decision, and they happened to have a sample sale between the two appts, so I popped in to see what they had and to look at bridesmaids, and ran into my saleswoman and thought she would be pissed, but she was totally friendly. I didn't end up purchasing at the sample sale, but definitely did at my second appointment.
    My fiance's sister ended up going to the Jersey salon after hearing my rave reviews and got her dress there too.

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  39. My Kleinfeld experience also made me cry. The woman marched me into the back room and said, "You want lace? On your budget? Get real." I tried on five dresses and then she basically ushered me out, not letting me look for others. It was horrible. Thank you for writing about this.

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  40. I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience there, but I do think that everyone's is different. I went to Kleinfeld's early on a Sunday morning as their first appt of the day (I think that helps - they were probably less exhausted at that time!), and I went after trying on dresses at 6 other stores - big chains, small boutiques in NYC, the full range. I had a good idea of what different types of dresses cost, and what I wanted, and I was very firm and not apologetic about my grad-student budget of under 2k. The salesperson didn't look thrilled, but she also didn't complain. She worked with it. I did also have to be very firm about what the salesperson brought me (like saying, nope, that dress has beading and I said I didn't want beading) but felt that ultimately she did listen to the material, price point, and desriptions I gave her in the end. I tried on probably 10 dresses there, all within my criteria. After looking at so many dresses at other places, I found in Kleinfeld's huge selection exactly what I was looking for, for under budget, and was still very happy with it when it just arrived in the mail yesterday. I just think they do better with firm, clear ideas. In my opinion, it's a good stop later in your dress search, because I was able to re-try on several "contenders" from other stores AND my ultimate choice, all in one place.

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  41. I had an appt at Kleinfeld and I was completley underwhelemed. I did notice how rascist the store is I saw all black sales people with black customers and all spanish salespeople with spanish customers. I guess in Ronnie and Maras perfect world every race is segregated.

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