Is Say Yes to the Dress real? Does TLC say yes to authenticity? Well… yes and no. The subjects of the show are real, but the Internet is rife with stories of the SYTTD production team picking brides and bridesmaids with built-in drama and then massaging out the most dramatic soundbites. That's all business as usual for reality TV, but apparently, shopping at Kleinfeld Bridal Shop isn't always the blissful experience it looks like on TV. Just check out the first-hand anecdotes below. Some are old, some are new, some are borrowed… all will make you blue!
For starters, it sounds like you're treated more like a number than a person. "There were probably 20 other brides trying on dresses at the same time, so you never had a dedicated mirror or platform that was for you," customer Parisa Arash told the New York Post in 2010 after visiting Kleinfeld's New York City location, which she called a madhouse. "You [have] to stand around the middle of the floor waiting for someone to move … It's literally a machine that's pushing people through."
Amanda Lauren, who detailed her "awful" experience at Kleinfeld for Ravishly, said she had a "hankering for a Valium" after shopping there. "Kleinfeld isn't large enough for the amount of customers it attracts," she said. "Would my appointment end before I got a peek at myself?"
Three brides told the Post they were forced to try on dirty gowns, some with "actual armpit stains." Parisa recalled seeing a dress she had seen at another boutique; but at Kleinfeld, it was so battered, it was unrecognizable. "On the show, it looks like this amazing wonderland of gorgeous dresses … But the samples are beaten to hell. You don't even really get a good idea of what [they] look like."
Also, Amanda said the Kleinfeld staff blatantly ignored her requests. "I sat down and gave [the consultant] my criteria and budget," she wrote. "I showed her my favorite dresses from their website. I had one request: No Pnina Tornai… So, naturally the first dress she showed me was Pnina Tornai." (The List reports both the show and the boutique "are set up to move as many of the Israeli dressmaker's gowns as possible.")
So there you have it. Kleinfeld is a institution in the bridal gown biz, to be sure. But going there in hopes of getting the same experience you see on Say Yes to the Dress might put a early damper on your wedded bliss.