Hi Friends! Segi here. So as a follow up to my Engagement Party post, I wanted to share another FUN part of the wedding planning process. Okay so slight confession, I have always dreamed of this day and had been planning this experience even before I got engaged (lol). Fast forward a couple of months, Kunbi had set up all of my appointments and booked hotels etc (love you girl!) and my mum and I were all set to tackle New York City amidst the prediction of epic snowstorms and the worst/coldest days in years.
Brief background — In my post-engagement excitement, I had researched, pinned, clipped and saved numerous of dresses online and for all intents and purposes, I had picked ‘my’ dress and just knew in my head-it was THE one and it would fit like a glove (wroooonngg…but more on that later). Anyway, with that in mind, I made sure that my first appointment would be at the one and only Vera Wang ( I mean after all don’t I look like a Vera bride? 😉 ). So my mum, Kunbi and I made our way uptown to the Madison Avenue boutique for our first appointment trying to contain our excitement, my mum was excited enough for the whole of America and Nigeria put together haha.
1st Appointment: Vera Wang
Our appointment at Vera was awesome! The boutique is a dream! We were ushered into a truly magical world – Like Disney haha. A dreamy vision of lace, tulle and organza, this store truly is/was a bridal dream. I felt like a kid in a candy store!The process at Vera is very straight forward. All her dresses from all seasons are hung out on the floor in different rooms. Your bridal associate asks you your budget (aka the maximum amount you are willing to spend) and then will walk you from room to room where you can see, touch and feel all the dresses that are within your budget after which she pulls all your picks for you to try on.
My bridal associate was a joy (shoutout to Jillian!) and was very open to me trying on a lot of dresses and not to mention the commentary from my Mum and Kunbi. Oh! and most importantly Vera offers you alcohol, and tea, soda, etc but who cares about those when you have champagne?! Haha okay maybe that’s not the most important, but what was key for me was that they allow you to take pictures! For the life of me, I will never understand why bridal salons restrict you from taking pictures. The overall experience is something you would want to treasure and remember especially since you will probably not get to try/see yourself in the dress for the next 6 months or more- it would only make sense for you to have a reminder or something to share with friends and family. My Vera Wang shopping experience was a delight and I would definitely recommend it.
Bridal advice– Be open to trying on new styles. the dress that you thought was THE one might turn out to be a no no. Remember my dream dress that I just KNEW would be mine? Yeah, didn’t fit like so.
Oh and don’t forget accessories! That veil, sash, blusher, cover up can cost up to an additional $2,000 so don’t forget to add that to your overall budget.
And most importantly wear nice underwear! You will have to strip down to your undies, so make sure you leave your grandma and torn underwear at home.
2nd Appointment: Mark Ingram Bridal
Mark Ingram was a dream as well. I could go on and on and on about their fabulous customer service. First off, THE Mark Ingram came to MY dressing room to say hi to us, and chat with us about Nigeria. I mean who does that?! Yeah I was ready to give him all my coins after he told us he traced his ancestry to a tribe in Nigeria.
Oh and if you’re an avid follower of the blog you will remember that our awesome Editor Kunbi got her fabulous Angel Sanchez reception dress from Mark Ingram when she got married in 2012. This was almost 2 years ago and 2 years later they still remembered her and were absolutely pleasant and as fate or kismet would have it I ended up with the same bridal associate Kunbi had when she was shopping for her dress ( Shoutout Anju!). She was a pleasure and was extremely helpful in helping me narrow down my choices.
Bridal Advice– always ask questions. If there is a part of the dress you don’t like or there is something you want added ( applique, beading etc) most times the saloons can add or remove that item.
3rd Appointment: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon
My appointment at Gabriella was fun as well. Gabriella‘s is a smaller bridal boutique located in Soho. Don’t let their size full you though as they carry a lot of the fab designers such as Reem Acra, Jenny Packham, Romona Keveza and more. Getting to it was kind of tricky and my mum and I got lost and almost developed frost bite in the process but we found it and it was totally worth it. My bridal associate at Gabriella was a guy. I was a bit taken aback, but he asked my permission beforehand and was very non-creepy so it worked. The salon is so cute and just like Vera all the dresses are laid out on the floor and you and your associate walk through and pick out the ones that catch your eye. At Gabriella my mum fell in love with this beautiful Reem Accra ball gown, up till now I hadn’t tried on any dresses of this kind but the detail on it was STUNNING, I felt like a princess! Unfortunately it didn’t make the cut, but you can enjoy the pictures.
Bridal advice– ALWAYS be on time for your appointments, if you are going to be late or cancel, make sure you call them and inform them. Most appointments last 1 hour and if you are late or if you cancel you might have to pay (depending on the boutique) and they will cut you off right when your appointment ends, no extensions and you will probably not have enough time to try on all the beautiful gowns you want.
4th Appointment: That Store Which Shall not be Named
Sigh this storewas a huge disappointment to me. I’m an avid fan of the TLC show ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ so visiting this boutique was definitely a must for me. Once again I wore my best ‘baffs’ (nigerian slang for outfit) just in case they were filming an episode or just in case I ran into Randy (no such luck haha). My mum and I got there super early to avoid making the same mistake we made at Gabriella’s and were later joined by Kunbi and my other friend Bukky. The process at this store was different than the previous boutiques I visited. It’s the exclusive provider of a certain Israeli designer and her dresses are in a special room of the bridal floor. The first thing they do is take you to the Israeli designer’s room and try to force-feed her to you. I didn’t like this at all. I repeatedly told my associate the type of styles and wedding dresses I was looking for and even showed her pictures from my other visits and she kept trying to sell me ( I feel like I’m bashing should I stop?). The great thing about this store however, is that it has a wider price range so brides of all (most) budgets can find their dream dress. It just really felt like a sweat shop to me, I guess after all the one on one attention I got from previous boutiques, this one was just a bit different.
Also unlike the other boutiques – apart from the Israeli designer’s dresses in the ‘special room’, the bridal associates bring the dresses to you and you cannot (only on special occasions) go to the stockroom to pick out the dresses you want to try on. So you basically have to rely and trust that your associate has gotten your vision and brings you dresses that fit your style. Mine didn’t and the first 45mins of my appointment were wasted on “heck no” dresses lol. Also, we were not allowed to take pictures here, so enjoy these guerilla style pictures Kunbi managed to take(lol).
Bridal Advice– If you find a dress you absolutely love and it’s above your budget, don’t be shy, ask for a discount! Most boutiques are open to giving a discount. It might be as little as 5-10% but hey! It’s better than nothing.
After these appointments, I was pretty exhausted and couldn’t imagine going on another appointment and trying on another dress, so I canceled my other appointments at Bridal Garden and Pronovias. Besides I had found my dress so there was no need to keep looking. 🙂
5th Appointment: …..
The day I said ‘Yes, to the dress’. TBA…you will have to wait until November 1st to find out what designer and dress i went with 😉 You can keep up with my wedding planning with the links (well just one link for now) below: