The Say Yes To The Dress Phenomenon

Me on a trip to Kleinfeld in 2018.

Me on a trip to Kleinfeld in 2018.

With Montrose’s semi-formal date looming, many upper school students have their mind on all different kinds of dresses. But, the only dresses I ever think about are the kinds that are featured on TLC’s famous show, Say Yes To The Dress. 

Ever since I was 11 years old, my family’s guilty pleasure has been to watch Say Yes To The Dress. We were so obsessed with the show that we made a pilgrimage to Kleinfeld on a trip to New York City in 2018. Say Yes To The Dress features brides seeking their dream wedding dress at Kleinfeld in New York City. Established in 1941, Kleinfeild Bridal began as a small, quaint shop in Brooklyn, NY. They had only three dressing rooms and only two styles of dresses — no wedding dresses. In 1968, Kleinfeld began to sell dresses from European designers and expanded into the bridal business. In 1999, Mara Urshel, Ronnie Rothstein, and Wayne Rogers expanded Kleinfeild to include the 18 dressing rooms and 13 fitting rooms that it has today. 

In a typical Say Yes to the Dress episode, a bride comes into Kleinfeld and is paired with a bridal consultant who will guide her through the shopping process. In my opinion, that bridal consultant has the hardest job ever. Once the consultant learns about who the bride is and what her vision may be, the consultant embarks on the ever so complicated journey of finding the bride’s dress. Kleinfeld’s stock room contains more than a thousand dresses with all different styles, designers, and sizes. I can’t even fathom how they know, out of all of these dresses, which one is the best for their bride. Once they have a few choices, they will present them to their bride. She’ll either love all of them and want to try everything on or hate all of them and make the consultant look again. Whatever the bride’s reaction may be, the consultant dresses the bride in her first pick. Next comes the hardest and funniest part of the episode, revealing the dress to the bride’s “entourage,” composed of family, future family, and or her friends. The family and friends who make up the entourage are often outrageous, which makes for entertaining reality TV. 

Just like the bride’s reaction to a dress, a family can either love or hate their bride’s choices. I have witnessed some absolutely adorable families who cry when the bride comes out because she looks so beautiful. I have also seen families who voice their opinions right off the bat and make the bride doubt her feelings about the dress. Finally, I have seen family members make the bride cry because of their criticisms. The consultants are always there to rebuild the bride’s self-esteem and make her feel beautiful. In the end, the dress is all about what the bride wants. Nobody should influence her decision. As you watch, you always end up rooting for the bride, encouraging her courage to choose what is best for her.

If you watch the show, you also know the most famous designer and consultant who appears on the show is Randy Fenoli. Randy is so popular that one of the most frequently asked questions on Kleinfeld’s website is, “Will Randy be at Kleinfeld during my appointment?” When brides see Randy, they gush over him. Randy has a great eye and is a firm believer that every bride should be beautiful on her wedding day. At Kleinfeld, some brides spend upwards of $60,000 on their dresses. Randy creates beautiful, elegant dresses that don’t break the bank that all of his brides love. Even during COVID, Randy was able to Zoom into appointments and pamper his brides just like he would in person. Someday, in perhaps the not so distant future, I want my wedding dress to be designed by him. 

Hopefully, in the next few months, when you are shopping with your friends for a semi dress, you will find “your Randy” and can make that experience just like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress– Maverick Style!


By Kate Novack ‘24 Features Editor