What You Don’t Know About TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress
One of TLC’s most popular shows is Say Yes to the Dress. It takes place at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan. The employees at the store do whatever they can to satisfy a bride’s every whim. Kleinfeld claims to have the largest selection of wedding dresses on earth, and over 200 employees help brides find the perfect look.
The show mixes fashion with drama and, of course, tales of love. But not everything turns out exactly as you’d expect. There are some behind-the-scenes secrets and other tidbits about the show and the store that may surprise you. Check out some interesting facts about Say Yes to the Dress…
If The Gown Doesn’t Fit, Simply Sue
Bride Randi Siegel-Friedman sued New York bridal salon Kleinfeld Bridal (the setting for Say Yes to the Dress) for $12,000 in 2017. She said the boutique refused to give her a refund for a custom-made gown they designed. A few months before the big day, Seigel-Friedman claimed the dress didn’t fit well and the fabric was wrong.
She opted to wear an off-the-rack gown instead. When she went to the bridal boutique to collect her refund, the store refused. So the bride filed a lawsuit. It’s unclear if she received any compensation for the discarded gown.
Not all episodes have happy endings.
Pnina Tornai Gowns Are Particularly Popular On The Show For A Reason
It’s interesting that so many brides wind up choosing a gown designed by Pnina Tornai. The reason is that the show and Kleinfeld are firm supporters of the Israeli dressmaker. Tornai reached out to Kleinfeld about carrying her line before the show launched, and she was initially turned down.
Eventually, TLC and Kleinfeld relented, and Tornai became one of the store’s biggest vendors and the only one with an in-store boutique. You’ll notice that a Pnina Tornai gown is often one of the first dresses offered to the brides to be.
One Bride’s Fiancé Was Involved In A $2.5 Million Scam
When Emily described her fiance David Gotterup in a 2015 episode, she told the cameras, “He fired me so he could date me.” She then proceeded to select a Pnina Tornai gown that cost $6,500. She was over budget, but that was the least of her problems. Shortly after, Gotterup and his business partner were charged with 11 counts of fraud in Brooklyn, New York, related to mortgage refinancing.
Gotterup was accused of bilking his clients out of more than $2.5 million. Worse, he was also accused of using money from a disaster relief fund to pay for his wedding. Gotterup wound up being sentenced to 135 months in prison.
You Must Be Bold & Open About Your Life When Applying For The Show
Brides who want a spot on Say Yes To The Dress need to know a lot about their weddings before applying for the show. They also have to be willing to reveal details about their relationship, such as what their future husband does for work.
Brides must be able to describe themselves and their fashion sense in three words. They also must be willing to talk about their budget, family traditions, and why they want to appear on the program. The Atlanta version of the show requires brides admit if they have been convicted of a crime.
A Bride Sued Producers For Unveiling Her Gown Before Her Wedding Took Place
In 2016, bride Alexandra Godino sued producers for airing her episode before her wedding took place. She told the New York Post: “Not showing the world my gown before the wedding is very important, and in particular, I do not want my fiancée to see the gown before the wedding.”
Godino felt her wedding would be ruined if people saw her gown in advance. “I hired a lawyer because, how many times have they done this to brides? This is a show about weddings, how they’re completely unsympathetic is mind-blowing,” Godino added.
If you visit the store, expect to be surrounded by people.
Kleinfeld’s Manhattan Store Is A Madhouse
Kleinfeld’s Manhattan storefront is not very large. There’s just enough room for a bride, her gown, her family, the show’s cast, and the production crew. The store has catapulted in popularity since the show launched, but in reality, you won’t see the whole staff waiting on just one bride.
These days, brides-to-be must vie for attention with 20 other brides at once. That means there’s a lot of women trying to get a glimpse of themselves in the mirror at the same time. If you make an appointment, you have just 90 minutes to choose a dress before the staff moves on to someone else.
The Owners Of Kleinfeld Give The Brides Some Serious One-On-One Attention
Kleinfeld owners Mara Urshel and Ronnie Rothstein love their job and want to make the dress-buying experience as streamline as possible for brides to be (even if time is restricted). This includes giving customers their personal cell phone numbers.
During a 2016 interview with Brides, Urshel revealed: “At Kleinfeld, the staff works diligently to ensure that the customer feels that she is the only bride in the store. Every step of the way, the bride receives personal one-on-one attention, from a personal bridal consultant, to her fitter who she will work with for the next few weeks until the gown fits perfectly!”
It Takes Hours To Film An Episode & Producers Like To ‘Stir Up Some Drama’
In 2013, bridesmaid Courtney Wright revealed in an interview with Brides that filming an episode of Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids, in Atlanta, Ga., took eight hours. The group tried on four dresses, and each dress involved an hour of discussion afterward.
“I wasn’t expecting all the questions,” said Wright. “I thought it was just like, “Alright, go.” She added, “They want you to act as natural as possible, but you can tell that they want to stir up some drama. If someone says something that could potentially cause a disagreement, the director asks you questions about it.”
Musician Elle King Was Already Married When She Appeared On The Show
During season 15, musician Elle King, who is also the daughter of actor Rob Schneider, appeared on the show. She found the perfect dress and was thrilled. However, there were some complications surrounding her wedding. First, she was already married to her husband, Andrew Ferguson, during filming.
The wedding was performed in secret, and the dress was intended for a ceremony planned one month after the episode was to air. The ceremony never took place, because the couple split. Ferguson was also arrested for domestic abuse.
The Show’s Announcer Knows Absolutely Nothing About Wedding Gowns
Voice actor Roger Craig Smith has been narrating the action on Say Yes to the Dress since 2007. In addition to describing all the bridal gowns, he’s also famous for voice work for several other projects, such as Ralph Breaks the Internet, other cartoons, and the video game Resident Evil.
Smith doesn’t watch the show; he simply reads the script and talks to producers about what’s going on in the episode. Over the past decade, he’s learned a bit but is not an expert by any means. And he advises brides never to ask him any fashion advice: “You would wind up in a burlap sack.”
Brides Are Allowed To Say ‘No’
Before filming an episode, the bridge’s budget is set in place, and the consultants do the best they can to adhere to the figure. Of course, they still present gowns that are much too expensive in order to create a fairy tale scenario.
One of the show’s brides, Valerie Bowman, revealed that the gowns she couldn’t afford were removed from the area. Bowman said the bride is not required to purchase a dress she is presented during filming. If she isn’t satisfied with any of the offerings, or can’t afford any of them, she can simply walk away.
If you do decided to buy a dress, it will cost you.
The Brides Pay A LOT Of Money For Those Dresses
Most people know that wedding dresses aren’t cheap. If you’re lucky, you can get a discount or take an advantage of promotional sales and find a dress at Kleinfeld for a minimum of $2,000. On average, their gowns cost about $4,500. The most expensive dress in the store costs about $30,000.
Then you have to add in any necessary alterations. This is where things can get even more expensive. At Kleinfeld, it costs at least $695 for every fitting and alteration appointment. Many brides need two or three fittings, so you can see how the dress price can quickly spiral out of control.
One Famous Bride Called Off Her Engagement A Month Before Her Episode Aired
Dancing With the Stars alum Karina Smirnoff appeared on Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta in 2012 for the season three premiere. The show centered on her upcoming wedding to MLB pitcher Brad Penny. Unfortunately, the pair called off their engagement a month before the episode aired.
Interestingly, it was the second engagement the professional dancer had called off over the course of two years (she was engaged to fellow DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy for nine months in 2009). In 2015, Smirnoff made headlines again for calling off a third engagement to an entrepreneur named Jason Adelman.
Some Of The Kleinfeld Floor Samples Are Dingy
Kleinfeld Bridal dresses look incredible on television, but that’s not exactly what they look like in real life. Some visitors to the store have noticed that the dresses aren’t always so magical looking. In an article by the New York Post, a few women said they went to the store and encountered dresses on the floor with sweat stains in the armpits.
Bride Carly Sposato opted for private tailoring instead of the one offered by the store, which can be problematic. “If you decide you’re going to do your tailoring outside of Kleinfeld, once you open the box, they’re no longer responsible for what happens,” she said.
The Show Has Featured Transgendered Brides
The first transgender bride to appear on the original Say Yes to the Dress was Gabrielle Gibson in 2017. “I’m six-foot-one and I love to wear five-inch heels — my fiancé is five-foot-four — so I was a little worried about finding a dress with the right length,” Gibson told Yahoo Style. “After booking my appointment at the store, I was informed that the show was filming that day, so I decided to audition.”
Precious Davis, another transgender bride, appeared on the Atlanta version of the show in 2016. “I loved watching Precious’s episode, and I was thrilled to be able to tell my own story,” Gibson noted.
Omarosa Was Forced To Change Her Wedding Venue After Appearing On The Show
Omarosa Manigault rose to fame after starring onthe first season of The Apprentice with Donald Trump. She was a White House correspondent when she appeared on Say Yes to the Dress in Season 15. During the episode, she revealed details about her wedding, including the venue.
She added that she was marrying the pastor at her future church in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately, she wound up tying the knot elsewhere, reportedly because she received death threats prior to her big day. She ended up holding the ceremony at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Spin-Off On Plus-Sized Brides Wasn’t Very Successful
For some reason, TLC decided to make a spinoff of the show that focused on plus-size brides. Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss aired for two seasons before it was canceled in 2011. The show was similar to the original; however, brides were separated based on their weight. Yikes.
The episodes focused on Kleinfeld dealing with non-standard sized dresses. Other than that, there was very little difference between the shows. It simply focused on women who were larger than average, and it certainly wasn’t one of the network’s most enterprising decisions.
The Bridal Consultants Aren’t Randomly Selected
The Say Yes To The Dress consultants are carefully selected to match up with certain brides. Valerie Bowman, who appeared on the show’s Atlanta version, was a brunette without a Southern accent. To make things more interesting, producers paired her up with a blonde-haired Southern Belle consultant.
Meanwhile, the show has drummed up such a huge interest in Kleinfeld that fans come from far and wide to visit the store and try on dresses even if they don’t have an appointment. Some are not even planning a wedding when they make the trip.
One Bride Died Of Cancer Months Before Her Episode Aired
In 2012, the season nine episode “Queen for a Day” centered on bride Margo Mallory, who was battling cervical cancer. She and her fiance were planning a wedding later in the year. The episode featured Mallory’s search for the perfect dress as well as clips from her wedding.
Mallory, just 24 years old, noted how she and her husband weren’t giving up hope. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer. At the end of the episode, producers posted a photo of Mallory and her husband. She had died five months before the episode aired.
The Couple Injured In The Boston Marathon Bombing Separated After Appearing On The Show
Rebekah Gregory and her fiance, Pete DiMartino, appeared on the show in 2014. The pair was injured in the Boston marathon bombing while watching DiMartino’s mother run the race. Gregory’s leg was amputated, and DiMartino suffered from several injuries, including a ruptured eardrum.
The pair wed nearly a year after the tragedy but split up just 10 months later. Gregory said in a statement to the media: “Over the last several months I’ve come to realize that going through such a horrific event together put a fast-forward on our relationship that we each handled differently.”