Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Gowns


As we round out the end of Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Gowns, I thought I'd write a quick overview of the Manhattan bridal boutiques that I visited. In addition to the four Brooklyn stores I've profiled, I visited a total of nine Manhattan stores, as well as one store in New Jersey, in addition to spending countless hours on sites like Bhldn.com and Nordstrom Bridal - something I do not recommend brides do! I was completely envious when a co-worker told me she just went into one store and bought a dress and that was it. This roundup is meant to help you narrow down which boutiques are worth visiting, and which ones you can skip. 

So, in the spirit of the holidays, let's start with THE GOOD {in no particular order}:

Photo: Jenny Packham
{one} Gabriella Bridal Salon. Located in a SoHo loft, Gabriella offers a comfortable, living room-type atmosphere in which brides can try on designer bridal gowns. I actually went to Gabriella on the recommendation of a friend who found her dress there, but thought that the dresses would be out of my price range, given that the store stocks designers like Jenny Packham, Marchesa, and Angel Sanchez. And while I did observe one bride trying on a $10,000 Jenny Packham dress {it was absolutely gorgeous, though!}, I was pleasantly surprised at the options in the $3,000-$5,000 range. The bridal consultant I worked with was so nice and friendly, and really understood the look I was going for. She also never showed me a dress that was outside of my price range. I also liked the fact that all the sample dresses are on display, and you can walk with the bridal consultant through the racks. On the racks were a wide range of dresses, from simple, clean and modern dresses to intricate beaded numbers. Gabriella is definitely on my list of must visit bridal boutiques for any New York City bride. Located at 155 Wooster Street, Manhattan.

Photo: Pronovias
{two} Pronovias. When I first stepped into Pronovias, I thought I would hate it. Located in midtown {eww!} in a large building with at least ten people at the reception desk, at first glance, Pronovias did not convey the most warming feeling. But, that all quickly changed once I was ushered to a small dressing room by my friendly bridal consultant. She tried hard to find dresses for me to try on, and was eager to take pictures. Importantly, despite its steel exterior and the presentment of more expensive airs, Pronovias had a lot of beautiful dresses in the $2000-3000 range. Of course, I'm sure you could find more expensive dresses there if you tried {after all, there is an Elie Saab collection}. My only complaint about Pronovias, however, is that there is a limited selection of non-embellished dresses, so if you're looking for a more clean look, then perhaps Pronovias is not the best place to go. On the other hand, if you're looking for a lacy, traditional dress for your wedding, then you must visit Pronovias. Located at 14 East 52nd Street, Manhattan.

Photo: Leanne Marshall
{three} Lovely Bride. Located in TriBeCa, Lovely Bride is a cool boutique that offers a wide-range of dresses from smaller, independent designers, but the store also carries dresses from more well-known designers such as Anne Barge and Theia. The whole experience at Lovely is pleasant; you browse through the dresses in the back with the bridal consultant and take dresses off the rack that you want to try on. Lovely has cute little fitting room nooks, which provide plenty of light and open space for you and your friends and family who have tagged along. The only downside is that some of the fitting nooks are facing each other, so it's a bit awkward to have the bride across from you try on the same dress that you only tried on minutes earlier. The best part about Lovely Bride, however, are the prices. Dresses start as low as $500, and there are plenty of beautiful options in the $1000-2000 range, making Lovely Bride one of the more affordable boutiques I visited. The range of dresses was fantastic, and a bride can easily find a dress she likes here. Of course, we all know the problem won't be finding one dress at Lovely; it'll be narrowing down the many dresses you will find that you like! Located at 182 Duane Street, Manhattan.

Photo: Rosa Clara Group
{four} Designer Loft Bride. Again, here's another one where first impressions can be deceiving. I was not impressed with the store's website, nor was I impressed by the fact that the store is located in a building in the Garment District. In fact, the store was decidedly non-chic; it looked a bit dated, and the dress in the display window did not evoke a positive feeling from me. Nonetheless, I decided to be open minded, and greeted the bridal consultant with a smile. We walked through the racks of dresses, a good number of them from the Rosa Clara Group, and ended up picking a bunch of dresses that looked promising. We headed to the cramped dressing room and I began to try on the dresses, surprised at how beautiful and affordable the dresses were. I tried on a beaded sheath that looked very similar to Jenny Packham dresses, but at a more forgiving price of around $2500-3000. I also tried on a 1960s style dress that I liked, which was around $2000. Unfortunately, no photos allowed. The highlight of Designer Loft Bride is perhaps that alterations are only around $400, which is the lowest quote I was provided for alterations in Manhattan. So head to Designer Loft Bride; the options might just surprise you. Located at 226 West 37th Street, Manhattan.

Photo: Nicole Miller
{five} Nicole Miller Bridal. Nicole Miller Bridal is located in the back of the designer's ready-to-wear boutique in SoHo. There, you have the undivided attention of the bridal consultant and the chance to flip through the modern and clean dresses Nicole Miller has on offer. Dresses start at around $450 {for shorter styles} and max out at around $2200 {for longer, lacier styles}. I loved stepping on the platform and checking out how the dress fit me in the large mirror. Nicole Miller dresses seem perfect for a non-fussy bride, or a bride wanting a destination wedding. You won't find intricate beading, but you'll find simple and well-fitted dresses that still make a statement. Plus, if you're a bride short on time, then a visit to Nicole Miller is a must, as in-stock dresses can be produced in a matter of days. Located at 77 Greene Street.

Next Wednesday we'll look at the BAD and the UGLY… 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

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