For many women, choosing a wedding dress is one of the most important moments in life. Not only does it make the whole wedding journey feel all the more real, it also sets the tone and the mood for the big day. Ask most women, the dress is key. TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress brings audiences all the joy, drama, and tears (of joy and grief) that come with the gown shopping experience, and serves as a great piece of entertainment for all those wanting to cast a judgmental eye over other people’s sartorial choices.
While the show might look like it’s all petticoat pleasure and satin smiles, the truth is the brides who appear on the program are having to abide by a lot of secret rules. From not being guaranteed a refund for dresses that don’t work out, to being faced with a hefty bill at the end of their shopping spree, these ladies looking for their dream dress can sometimes end up being part of a nightmare experience. While Randy might be the hype-man we all want in our life, the reality of the situation can sometimes be very different.
Here we are, lifting the veil on what really goes behind the scenes of everyone’s favorite wedding show, and showing you what these hopeful brides have to go through in order to get their fancy frock.
With that in mind, here are 20 Rules Brides Have To Follow On Say Yes To The Dress.
20 A lengthy application process with some pretty personal questions
As with all reality TV shows, there’s a process to getting chosen to appear on the show. With a program like Say Yes to the Dress, it’s of little surprise that thousands of women go into a frock frenzy as they clamor for the chance to be ushered into the hallowed doors of Kleinfeld’s bridal boutique.
However, in order to get to get the chance to be filmed finding the dress of their dreams, hopeful participants must first submit an application containing via Kleinfeld’s website, which includes a whole host of questions including “How did your partner propose to you?”, “Who will be paying for the dress?”, “What has been the most stressful part about planning your wedding?”, and many, many more.
19 Purses and cell phones are banned from the shop
It’s been revealed before how many reality TV shows limit their stars’ access to cell phones and personal devices, but you may not have guessed that the same rule applied to a bridal gown show.
Well, according to Diply, all brides who appear on Say Yes to the Dress must hand over their purse and their phone when getting ready to begin filming their segment.
The phone part is pretty obvious, as the producers and will want to limit the brides revealing anything about their experience on the program until it’s actually aired.
As for the purse? Well, that rule is a little more murky. It could be that they don’t want anyone potentially trying to steal something from the shop, or it could be to avoid clutter within the boutique.
18 Brides Aren't Allowed To Wear Pink
No, this isn’t a militant stance against the universal assumption that all women love pink. The banning of pink during filming is actually a rule which is pretty common in reality TV. The brides and their guests who come on the show are told not wear this color in order to avoid them blending into the background when it comes to their interview segments.
Diply revealed this very specific rule the brides and their entourage have to follow, and it makes sense. Who would want to be a floating head against a backdrop?
Although this color rule might annoy some ladies and gentlemen hoping to pop with color on the show, they just have to deal choosing from any other color of the rainbow.
17 Brides Have To Be On Time
While showing up late on your wedding day might cause a little theatrical drama and might be exciting to watch in film and TV, there’s no excuses for turning up late for filming if you’re set to be on Say Yes to the Dress.
According to Diply, brides who get chosen to appear on the show are given a strict call time for when they need to be camera-ready, and if you’re a notoriously tardy gal, then it’s just too bad if you miss your slot.
Brides who turn up late are turned down and replaced with an alternative gown-seeker.
You'd better believe there are thousands of girls just waiting for the opportunity to usurp another bride’s place on the show.
16 The Brides Have To Change In Front Of the Camera Crew
While archaic ideas of shy, blushing brides might be all but lost in this day and age, we wouldn’t be surprised if many of the brides on Say Yes to the Dress blushed a bit when it was their turn to be featured on the show. According to Diply, women who get chosen for the reality TV series have to accept the fact that they’ll need to try on dresses in front of the camera crew filming them.
When the ladies are in the changing room trying on their gowns, they have to change in front of the camera operators as well as their consultant, which is understandably pretty awkward. In order to avoid embarrassment and inappropriateness, the show tries to hire female camera workers as often as possible, but it’s not clear if this is the case for each bride.
15 The Brides Don't Get To Choose Their Consultant
Consultants are key to Say Yes to the Dress as it’s them who guide the brides-to-be to their gown of choice. While the brides don’t get to choose who their consultant will be, the producers of the show match these gown gurus to the dress-shoppers very carefully.
According to Diply, the makers of Say Yes to the Dress try to pair the brides with a consultant who looks different to them.
If you’re a brunette bride, you’ll likely to be paired with a blonde or redhead assistant.
The producers of the show do this in order to create contrasting visuals and spice up the feel of the show. If everyone looked the same on screen, it would get pretty boring pretty quickly, so in order to ensure a more diverse feel, the consultants and brides are matched together in advance.
14 Brides Have To Endure Long Filming Hours
Although the show is only 30 minutes long when it airs, the amount of time the brides have to spend being in front of the camera is disproportionately long.
417 interviewed with Courtney Wright, who was featured on the Say Yes to the Dress spin-off series, Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids, and she revealed that her day of filming for the show was very long indeed: “We filmed for about eight hours total, but the show is only 30 minutes. There are always two stories on each episode, so each story really only gets about 12 minutes.”
Eight hours for only twelve minutes of footage? That’s a lot of extra material.
What we see is an excited bride trying to find her perfect frock, but underneath it all is probably an exhausted woman tired of standing around with cameras on her all day.
13 Drama is a must
When interviewed for 417, Courtney Wright also revealed some telling truths about just how unrealistic this reality TV show actually is. It’s common knowledge that a lot of what we see on our favorite reality TV programs is enhanced and edited in a certain way to make the events more sensational.
High drama means higher viewership rates, and audiences need some high stakes to keep them tuned into a show.
While Say Yes to the Dress might not be the most dramatic reality TV show on air, its producers do everything they can to make sure some drama gets thrown into the mix for the audiences’ pleasure.
Wright revealed: “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.”
12 The Brides Don't Have A Say In How They're Edited
Once again spilling the tea on what really goes on behind the scenes during the filming of Say Yes to the Dress, Courtney Wright told 417 that the show has a very heavy editing process.
Wright revealed: “When I watched it, I couldn’t get over how much they cut out and edited it.” As we now know, brides have to endure long hours of filming for what ends up being a twelve minute segment, so it’s only natural that huge amounts of what is captured on camera is edited out.
However, because this is a reality TV show, and the aim is to get as many viewers as possible, the editing team will carefully select the juiciest, most dramatic bits, and only leave a very select amount into the final cut. This means the brides just have to wait and see how they’re portrayed when the episode gets shown on TV.
11 They Have to Accept That Their Episode Might Air Before Their Wedding
One of the biggest controversies to ever taint the show occured when an unsuspecting bride was left reeling in shock and dismay when her the episode she was starring in aired before her wedding even happened.
Godino sued the show and accused the program of backing out of their promise to delay the airing date of the episode until after her wedding.
Speaking to the New York Post, Alexandra Godino said: “If I for one second, for one second, thought they would air this before my wedding I would never have done it — ever, ever, ever.” She went on to state: “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.”
She lost her plea to delay the airing of the episode.
10 If The Dress Doesn't Work Out, The Bride May Not Get A Refund
Another big story to come out of the Say Yes to the Dress woodwork was an incident involving a bride who sued Kleinfeld over not giving her a refund on a dress she picked out when appearing on the show. According to Yahoo, Randi Siegel-Friedman had chosen a dress worth $12,000, but when it came to the dress being delivered before her big day, the measurements, as well as the fabric were all wrong.
Siegel-Friedman tried to get the store to give her a refund, but was refused the request. As such, the bride was forced to wear a sample dress which was off the rack on her wedding day, which wouldn’t have been so bad had she not dropped such a huge amount of money on her custom-made Kleinfeld gown that turned out to be a disaster.
9 The bigger the reaction, the better
One of the things we most associate with Say Yes to the Dress is the big reactions to the dresses the brides try on, whether it’s tears of joy or outright shrieks of horror.
According to Buzzfeed, the women who appear on the show are encouraged to be vocal and over-the-top when it comes to trying on the different dresses, as they’re more likely to be featured on the show if they do.
Brides apparently try on between 6 to 15 dresses, but only those that garner a big reaction will be in the final edit of the episode.
If there aren’t big shrieks or a mom telling her daughter she looks ugly in her dream frock, you probably won’t be seeing that dress on the show.
8 A Canceled wedding won't stop an episode from airing
One of the meaner rules brides have to accept when they go on the show is agreeing to their episode being aired even if their wedding ends of being cancelled. According to the site, “over the past 10 years, 725 brides have been featured on the more than 251 episodes.” That’s a lot of brides-to-be and a lot of dresses being worn, but sadly not all of these gals in gowns make it to the altar.
One of the most famous people to have had this happen to them is singer Elle King, who appeared on Say Yes to the Dress and chose a gown, only to call off her engagement not long after. Despite this, the episode was still aired.
As they say, the show must go on.
7 Brides With An Unusual Dress Are More Likely To Be Filmed
Part of the fun of watching Say Yes to the Dress is getting to see the spectacular range of wedding dresses on offer. For the most part, the wedding gown we see on the show are on the traditional side, conforming to classic designs and falling within the white or ivory palette.
However, every so often a bride comes on the show, who has a very unique style that requires a completely different type of dress to be on offer. From showgirl styles, to dresses that look more like lingerie than wedding gowns, to even a black wedding dress, every type of taste is catered for at Kleinfeld.
The stranger the dress request is, the more likely it is to be featured on the show, as everyone loves tuning in for something out of the ordinary.
6 Brides Don't Get To Choose Their Entourage - Producers Do
Another very appealing aspect of Say Yes to the Dress is getting to see and hear the reactions from the bride’s entourage. A lot of the time, the people accompanying the bride on the show are overcome with emotion when seeing the bride-to-be step out in her gown, and viewers often get teary-eyed over loving mothers and fathers who just can’t help beaming over their beautiful daughter.
Other times though, we get to see some pretty savage responses from the bride’s entourage, making us wonder, why on earth would the bride bring them along? As it turns out, the brides don’t get to choose who they bring along, but it is the producers who make that decision based on a dossier of questions the brides have to answer about their nearest and dearest. The producers then choose who they think would make for good TV.
5 Brides Don't Get To See Most Of The Dresses
When watching the show, it looks like the shop is decked out in wall-to-wall dresses,but it turns out that most of the brides don’t even get to see a fraction of the gowns on offer. Amanda Lauren spoke to Ravishly about her experiences buying a dress from Kleinfeld:
“Brides can’t look at most of the dresses. The gowns are stored in a mysterious back room.”
Indeed, Buzzfeed reported that the store has several large stockrooms where the majority of the dresses are kept, and there are even revolving storage racks in the ceiling of the shop. It’s up to the consultant to choose which dresses brides will and won’t get to see, which might seem limiting, but is ultimately fair, considering the sheer volume of gowns on offer.
4 Brides Have To Accept being Shown Dresses They Don't Want
When speaking to Ravishly, Lauren also revealed that during her negative experience shopping at Kleinfeld, she kept on being shown dresses she wasn’t interested in seeing. This clearly demonstrates that the gowns being shown to the brides aren’t necessarily being chosen to suit her style or desired shape, but instead are ones that the store wants sold.
Lauren revealed: “For the most part, I felt like they didn't listen to my requests... again. For example, I said to Trina, 'no pearls on the bodice.' [The consultant] then brought me a dress featuring pearls on the entire bodice.”
It seems the consultant was only interested in pushing certain designs to be sold. So much for "the customer is always right."
3 Brides Are Encouraged To Buy Dresses From A Certain Designer
As well as having certain styles pushed on them, the brides are also always shown dresses created by Israeli designer Pnina Tornai. In fact, almost in every episode of the show, dresses by this particular designer are brought out for the brides to try, and it seems like the consultants actively try to promote sales from Tornai’s collection.
According to The List, Kleinfeld has a special relationship with this designer and as such try to push her designs as much as possible.
Pnina Tornai is one of Kleinfeld’s main designers and the only one with an in-store boutique.
As such, if you watch Say Yes to the Dress, you’ll notice that this designer’s dresses are always brought out to be tried on.
2 No Drinking Allowed While Trying Dresses
Deciding on a dress that you’ll wear on your wedding day is cause for huge celebration, and as anybody who has ever watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress knows, finding the dream dress is a pretty big deal. As such, you’d imagine that a classy store like Kleinfeld would bring out glasses of fizz when the “Yes” has been uttered, but alcohol isn’t permitted within the shop, according to Diply.
When we see bride and her entourage toasting to her gown success, they’re probably actually just drinking fizzy apple juice or something similar.
This rule might be in place in order to avoid an rowdy behavior amongst the expensive dresses, or maybe it’s because they don’t want to deal with stains on their frocks. Either way, it’s a nay to champagne.
1 Brides have to be ready to spend big money
One of the biggest things brides have to face when choosing their gown on Say Yes to the Dress is having to fork out a lot of money for their dream dress. In the show’s application form, there’s a question about who will be paying for the dress, as the show doesn’t offer any of its frock for free.
The gowns range in price, anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to $70,000.
These dresses can end up costing an outrageous amount of money, but for some brides, that feeling of being in their dream dress on their big day is priceless. Well, as long as they’ve got the cash for it, they’re good, and Kleinfeld is happy to bring out their most lavish stock if the bride is ready to pay for it.
Did we miss any other rules from Say Yes to the Dress? Share your knowledge in the comments!