Secrets of New York

The ultimate insider's guide to the best-kept secrets of NYC's must-see places and buzzed-about people.

Kleinfeld Bridal, the site of TLC's

Kleinfeld Bridal, the site of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress," has become well-known among brides-to-be across the globe. (Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal)

landmarks

Kleinfeld Bridal in NYC goes beyond 'Say Yes to the Dress'

110 West 20th Street, New York 10011

The bride wants a mermaid gown with a plunging, diamond-encrusted sweetheart neckline. Her budget: $10,000.

The bride's mother wants to find her an A-line cut with a lace-covered bodice. Her budget: $2,500.

Conflicting price-points, silhouettes, necklines and all, the bride will still most likely leave Kleinfeld Bridal saying “yes” to the dress.

More than 17,000 brides-to-be from across the nation visit the Chelsea bridal retailer every year in search of that to-die-for wedding dress of their dreams. The site of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” has become well-known for its elite selection and service. (Thanks to the reality show, its staff has also become known for their ability to swiftly diffuse "bridezilla" drama, but that’s a whole other story.)

Don't have a 💍 on your finger? Whether you're a future 👰 or not, you'll still be interested in these Kleinfeld secrets.

Moms everywhere say they can't wait for the

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

The most popular bridal style? Sexy.

Moms everywhere say they can't wait for the day their little girl slips into the wedding dress they had perfectly preserved for them years ago. The problem? Most brides wouldn't be caught dead walking down the aisle in their mom's long-sleeve, turtleneck lace gown.

"Say Yes to the Dress" bridal consultant Debbie Asprea knows what brides these days really want: "Brides want to look sexy! Today, I see the strong influence of sex appeal, especially from the Israeli designers." That means corsets, sheer bodices, fitted silhouettes and low backs that might make moms cringe (at first) are on the brides' wish lists.

"I sometimes have to help the moms accept the new styles. It's a bit of an adjustment for them, but when they see that look on their daughter's face in her favorite dress, they understand it's a 'yes!'" she said.

There's A LOT you don't see when the

Credit: Meghan Giannotta

Up to 30 hours of work can go into each dress

There's A LOT you don't see when the cameras stop rolling on "Say Yes to the Dress." Depending on the bride's requests, up to 30 hours of work per dress can take place between the time the bride says "yes" and when she says "I do," according to Kleinfeld. Size and style changes are made on the shop's lower level, where 100 seamstresses accommodate requests by hand. There's even an entire beading department that sews beads back onto dresses by hand after alterations have been made.

The luxury retailer wasn't always known for its

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

You’re saying you don’t want a fur wedding dress?

The luxury retailer wasn't always known for its wedding gowns, because back in the 1940s it wasn't a bridal retailer at all. Kleinfeld opened in Brooklyn in 1941 as a fur salon. It wasn't until the 1950s that the wealthy Kleinfeld family realized there was a demand for wedding attire in NYC. It's believed by today's Kleinfeld owners, Mara Urshel and Ronnie Rothstein, that revelation came when friends and customers became envious of gowns the family had brought back to the city with them from trips to Europe.

Pictured: The evolution of the Brooklyn Kleinfeld location.

When a bride brings her maid of honor,

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

How to deal with a bride’s very opinionated entourage

When a bride brings her maid of honor, mother, aunt, high school friend, mother-in-law, college roommate and second cousin to her fitting, it's a miracle if she leaves with a dress that pleases everyone.

Asprea's trick: Bring the bride out in one dress of each style requested. It'll help rule out styles the bride really doesn't like and may also convince the friend who suggested a particular dress that it's a no-go.

Jennifer Hudson wore a Pnina Tornai gown in

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Kleinfeld gowns are a favorite in films

Jennifer Hudson wore a Pnina Tornai gown in "Sex and the City: The Movie." Krysten Ritter wore one in "Confessions of a Shopaholic." So did Lisa Kudrow (pictured above) in "P.S. I Love You." All three movies were filmed in Kleinfeld showrooms. The Manhattan shop is so used to being featured on TV and in movies that it's closed on Mondays for special shoots.

Once the bride has picked the dress of

Credit: Meghan Giannotta

The dresses are packed to fit the bride

Once the bride has picked the dress of her dreams and the alterations team has worked its magic, the dress is sent to a special packaging team. A group of five or more at a time work on gently stuffing the dress with cardboard and packing paper to replicate the bride's curves -- bust, waist, hips and all. This helps keep the dress full and in shape, so all the bride has to do on her wedding day is slip right in, says Jennette Kruszka, who has been Kleinfield's spokeswoman for more than 15 years.

The mother/daughter relationship can be very, very complicated.

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

Nothing gets past the mother of the bride

The mother/daughter relationship can be very, very complicated. Even though the wedding is all about the bride, Asprea said the moms have the last word more often than not.

"I feel that of all the guests she brings, her mother is typically the most important opinion in the house!" she said. "I have never ever seen a bride buy a dress that her mother didn't like." It's all about compromise -- especially when the mother is the one with the open wallet.

They're not fun house mirrors that will make

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

You’ll love how you look in the Kleinfeld mirrors

They're not fun house mirrors that will make you appear two sizes smaller and a few inches taller, but you'll still love your reflection at Kleinfeld.

"We invested in special lead-free white mirrors because most mirrors in your own house have a green tint to them because of the lead," Kruszka said. "We wanted a lead-free mirror so a bride can stand in a white or ivory dress and see the truest color."

Does a lack of lead really change your reflection? Trust us, it does.

The most expensive dress Kleinfeld ever sold was

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

A bride once spent $80,000 on her Pnina Tornai

The most expensive dress Kleinfeld ever sold was a custom Pnina Tornai gown priced at $80,000. Four years ago, a customer requested that the designer, who is exclusive to Kleinfeld, create a gown for her destination wedding in Santorini, Greece, according to the bridal company.

The bridal shop's second-most-expensive dress -- a $32,000 Pnina Tornai (pictured) -- is still available.

The brides have their own little secrets --

Credit: Meghan Giannotta

You can have a special message embroidered into your dress

The brides have their own little secrets -- messages hidden inside their dresses. The seamstresses will add in whatever message the bride requests, according to Kleinfeld. Typical asks include sewing in a part of their mother's dress and writing "bride's name ❤️ groom's name."

Kruszka, who was with Kleinfeld before the Manhattan

Credit: Kleinfeld Bridal

A raw space let Kleinfeld get crafty

Kruszka, who was with Kleinfeld before the Manhattan location opened in 2005, recalled white chalk being drawn on the floor to help employees figure out how everything in the new space would fit together. In turn, the bridal shop was able to make sure everything in the main showroom was mobile so that it could be easily moved out of the way to accommodate a 100-foot runway, she added. Everything you see on the TLC show (couches, tables, mirrors) gets moved when the location hosts bridal events.

It's a belt. But what Kleinfeld means by

Credit: Meghan Giannotta

You probably can’t guess the most popular accessory

It's a belt. But what Kleinfeld means by "belt" doesn't involve chunky metal and loopholes. Any type of sash, bow, ribbon and gem that ties around the waist or hips to complete the bridal look is considered a belt.

"Add a beaded belt and you get a 'wow.' The belt is probably one of the most popular accessories and has been for quite some time. It really brings the gown to another level," Asprea said.

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