So Say Yes to the Dress is starting back up with season 16 and I’m already TOO excited considering I’ve never “liked” a Facebook engagement announcement in earnestness. I am, in classic rom-com fashion, a cynical workaholic with complicated views on marriage. That is: I’m historically single. Like at press time I’ve been seeing someone for like five minutes but given my track record, I don’t know if we’ll reach the half-hour mark. You get me. I’m not racing down the aisle anytime soon. I don’t have a hidden “Princess Fantasy.” The extent of my wedding planning involves a giant pizza party and Cole Sprouse.
I do have a dark obsession with strangers’ weddings, engagements, and $5000 lace mermaid-fit dresses. I tend to emotionally invest (and sometimes judge) random people’s upcoming nuptials. It is a passion, and, I believe, an artform. While on Facebook, nothing fills me with bubbling rage like the day-to-day updates of how my high school classmate is #sweatingforthewedding, but binge-watching Say Yes to the Dress gives me so much baffling joy.
So here are my vows: all the crazy reasons Say Yes to the Dress still does it for me despite my otherwise joyless approach to getting married.
I love how 16 seasons deep this show is predictable AF.
Like a strapless sweetheart white gown or Uncle Steve getting wasted at the open bar and knocking into a seven layer cake, it is timeless. Each episode typically focuses on three girls. They’re usually like a Stephanie or a Sarah or a Katie or a Lauren. A Becky, Becca, Rebecca or Beckwanda.
Anyway, Sarah-Lauren is here today because she met the “man of my dreams” and “her best friend.” She’s here to get her dream dress! And we’re coming along on the journey! And after approximately three dresses and maybe one-back-and-forth because her mom doesn’t really like ruffles, she will say yes to the dress. Randy will get tapped at some point because he is a literal wedding wizard, but god help me, they will say yes to the dress by the end of the 22 minutes.
Cue footage some other customer’s wedding and that f–king horrible song that goes, “I’m not dreeeeeaming” starts playing.
Every beat is the same. It’s beautiful.
I love how there are approximately five or six themed episodes they do twice every season.
Like, there’s always an episode about being “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and there’s two ways that can go. Either it’s really sweet and poignant and even cynical little me is losing it by the end (if Dad cries, then everyone cries), or it goes from 0 to Creepy really fast. Honestly, these days “Daddy” as a word feels really ruined for all of us.
There’s the episode where someone gets into a fight with their mom because they have “totally different styles.” Mom is more conservative, but her daughter wants to show off the girls! A BLOODBATH ENSUES.
But my favorites are the very special episodes where they focus on ~rebel brides.~ It’s like the one brave girl who wants a blue-tint dress but her homely sister thinks it’s not bridal enough. The traditional “Bucking Traditions” episode really strikes a chord, because even if my tastes differ, I want the bride to follow her rainbow-colored dreams. Also, shut up, Sharon, it’s not your day.
It’s always great when some C-list celebrity makes a cameo appearance.
There are really two ways to get on the show, and the first way is through tragedy. Some of them are legitimately sad and tear at my heartstrings; if a bride has gone through an illness and just wants to feel beautiful, I need her to find the perfect dress. Every once in a while there’s a lazy sad anecdote like, “Oh, my Pop-Pop died 16 years ago and I’m like real bummed he won’t be there.” Ok.
The other way is by being a low-ranking celeb. Sometimes Say Yes to the Dress trades reality stars with other shows, which is how more than a handful of the Duggar family ended up on the show. Other times the bride is all, “I’m here with my sister, my mom, my maid of honor, and my FRIEND DANIELLE JONAS.”
You sit there like, “OH MY GOD…who? She married the non-Nick, non-Joe Jonas brother? Ok, then, sounds good to me.”
Another time Questlove showed up, which was awesome.
I get a psychotic rush when someone gets an affordable(?) dress at the blow-out sale.
They show up in an around-the-block line looking so eager, to get a gown for an extra-reduced price; these are, full disclosure, my kind of girls. Weddings, as it would seem, are hugely expensive, so I admire how these women fight to the death to find a deal and not compromise on their couture fantasies. And after all that hard work, they’re able to get the perfect frock for a mere $3000.
But honestly, I love when they actually do find their dream dress and my roommate and I determine if the bride looks incredible or like a human loofa.
Because after trying on all three dresses we’ve definitely collected some strong notes about what the one she ended up with. Sometimes it’s begrudging props like, “I don’t know, I could never be a Pnina bride because I don’t have a desperate thirst to look like a slore-ish disco ball but she’s pulling it off.” But other times, when we’re a bottle-of-Pinot-Grigio deep it devolves into tearful coos of, “Oh my god, she looooks amaaaaazing.”
Because basically, by the end of it, I feel like I’m part of the bride’s entourage.
For all the clichés and eyeroll-worthy things about marriage, for all the little things I’m shading, for the very fact that I would hate myself if I stepped into Kleinfelds for a friend’s fitting, I’m obsessed with it.
Maybe it’s that degree of distance that allows me to love it unconditionally? To invest in these silly Stephanies, Katies, and even the Beckys and their quest for the dress? I’m still not sure. But what I do know is that Say Yes to the Dress is returning for round 16 and I am so RSVPing.
Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta is a trash show, though.
If you want to ring in the season premiere properly or want to binge watch the series on Hulu, play along with our Say Yes to the Dress Drinking Game below.