Choosing a wedding dress is a pivotal life moment for many people, so why not share it with the world? Now in its 17th season, Say Yes to the Dress remains one of TLC's biggest reality show hits. The series premiered in 2007 and has since spawned not one, but seven, spinoff shows, not to mention transformed the New York bridal salon where it takes place into a popular tourist destination. For many brides, getting a dress at Kleinfeld is as much about status and making a statement as it is about having a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. Many, of course, hope to appear on the iconic reality show itself.
But like all reality shows, this one isn't necessarily a true representation of real life. Instead, it comes with its own set of rules meant to help with the production of the show and give audiences what they want to see. And because this show takes place inside a real-life bridal salon, the featured participants are also customers who are expected to adhere to the store's own set of rules.
This is 25 Things Brides Aren't Allowed To Do On Say Yes to the Dress.
25 Have A Purse Out
Ever notice how a lot of people on reality TV shows don’t tend to carry around purses or the other regular everyday personal items that the rest of us lug with us wherever we go? More specifically, ever notice how neither the bride nor her friends and family members on the salon couch seem to have purses with them? Brides are notoriously not allowed to carry purses on the show, as this could interfere with filming and most likely just creates unnecessary clutter in an already crowded space. According to Diply, brides on the show and their entourage actually have to give up their purses pretty much upon arrival.
24 Have A Cell Phone Out
Going along with the above, also with the potential to interfere with filming are cell phones, which the brides must put away upon arrival (before filming even starts). Now, we do occasionally see members of the bride’s entourage whipping phones out to take photos, but we’re guessing that maybe they’re allowed to hang on to them to pass the time between dress showings. The bride must, nevertheless, hand her phone over with her purse (according to the Diply article), and she must go through the rest of her session without being connected to the outside world.
23 Show Up Late
Kleinfeld is already pretty strict about its appointment times due to its high volume of visitors every day, according to its website, but customers who are appearing on the show are under even more pressure to be punctual. After all, filming usually lasts for several hours. Brides and the members of their entourage are given strict deadlines on when they have to arrive at the bridal salon and be camera-ready. And if they don’t show up on time, they risk forfeiting their spot to another bride.
22 Miss Or Postpone The Appointment
Things happen, and bridal appointments often must be rescheduled. However, things are quite different if you’re a bride who is going to be on Say Yes to the Dress. Going along with the above, once a bride is accepted to be on the show and is given a designated filming date, she cannot miss it or make time adjustments. In fact, according to Kleinfeld’s website, a fine of no less than $100 will be applied if an appointment is missed or canceled at the last minute (credit cards are required to be on file for all appointments).
21 Wear Pink
Apparently, neither the bride nor anyone in her entourage is allowed to wear pink because this would put them at risk of blending into the background during the confessionals straight to the camera. Now, any true fans of the show will insist that they have seen participants on the show wearing pink in more recent seasons, and this is most likely because it appears that more confessionals are being shot in other areas of the salon that don’t have a vivid fuchsia wall behind them. Nevertheless, there still seem to be pink aspects in the shots, and so we’ll assume that this rule is still in place, even if it is more of a guideline after all.
20 Request A Specific Consultant
Ever notice how the main consultant featured on each episode tends to contrast either physically or in personality with the bride? This is apparently done on purpose. According to The List, the show selects which consultant will appear on the episode depending on how they will compare with the bride. For example, taller brides receive shorter consultants, brides with no accent get consultants with accents, brunettes pair with blondes, etc. It is also worth noting that there is no option to request a specific consultant on either the Kleinfeld appointment booking page or the Say Yes to the Dress show application.
19 Request When The Episode Will Air
Sorry, brides-to-be, but there is no guarantee that your appearance on Say Yes to the Dress will be delayed until after your wedding. While the application for the show does ask for the bride’s wedding date, this appears to be more for shopping factors rather than having anything to do with when the episode will air. The show even faced legal trouble when a bride found out her episode would air before her wedding date. Not wanting her fiancé or her wedding guests to see the gown before the big day, she attempted to sue TLC in 2016 when they refused to change the air date. She lost the case.
18 Have Total Say Over Their Entourage
Even though we’ve definitely seen larger ensembles on the show, the application states that a bride may bring no more than three guests with her. That said, previous brides who have appeared on the show have said that the show’s producers hand-picked who joined them at the salon after requesting a list of the people they were interested in bringing. It seems that brides are only able to choose a couple of people they definitely want present, while the network gets to select anyone else who may join (especially if there’s potential for good ol’ reality TV drama).
17 Ask For Total Privacy in the Dressing Room
Most people don’t like changing in front of people they don’t know, but imagine doing so in front of not just one stranger but multiple strangers in addition to bulky camera equipment. According to multiple sources, a female production crew member is in the dressing room with the bride at all times, and the consultant is usually there to ensure the dress goes on and off properly. One bride even managed to sneak a photo of the camera equipment, as seen above. We suppose that the brides who appear on this show aren’t allowed to be claustrophobic or shy either!
16 Ask For Other Dress Shoppers To Not Be Around
Kleinfeld is a busy bridal salon, and it doesn’t just shut down for the day while one bride tries on dresses for a TV show. Look closely at most episodes, and it will be obvious that there are plenty of other customers around. In fact, many people go to Kleinfeld hoping to be on the show even though they were not selected in advance, and there have been complaints that the store has become an overcrowded madhouse over the years as a result.
15 Choose Which Dresses They Try On
It’s all about what the bride wants, right? When it comes to reality TV brides, this isn’t entirely the case. While there are some samples displayed out on the Kleinfeld salon floor, these are largely for show and to fill the background. Brides must instead describe what they’re looking for to their consultant, who then goes and selects dresses for them. We have seen some times when members of the bride’s entourage went around the salon floor and selected a dress off of a rack or mannequin for her to try on, but it’s incredibly rare for any bride to personally get to pick out what she tries on. Instead, it’s all about trust.
14 Choose Which Dresses Appear On The Show
It’s one thing not being able to choose exactly which dresses to try on, but brides also aren’t able to pick out which of these make the final cut of the show. The truth is that brides usually try on a lot more than the dresses that are featured on the episode. The post-production crew then edits out the dresses that don’t get a strong reaction (good or bad, meaning a bad reaction dress is far more likely to appear than a more neutral one), and the brides do not get to have a say in how the episode turns out.
13 Go Into The Storeroom
While we’ve seen the storeroom many times on the show, it’s an open fact that this is a place that’s meant for consultants only. The sheer size of it and the amount of dresses makes it easy to see why – customers would just get in the way and seriously risk messing up the organization. Brides expecting to go looking through the giant room of dresses themselves are out of luck (remember how we just said they don’t get to pick out the dresses anyway?) That said, this isn’t a hard rule as we’ve definitely seen some brides here on the show find their way in there as their visibly uncomfortable consultants looked on.
12 Bring In Outside Food Or Beverages
Hey, it’s a room packed full of white wedding dresses, so we definitely understand this rule! The salon’s website states that only water is allowed to be taken inside the main showroom area (and it just so happens that Kleinfeld provides their own signature bottled water), and this just doesn’t seem like the type of show where a big craft services table is readily available just around the corner. Seeing as filming a single bride’s appearance can take around five hours or even longer, we’re willing to bet that the bride and her entourage are more than ready to go eat once they’re done.
11 Say ‘No’ To A Background Check
Way before the cameras start rolling, all potential brides on the show are subject to a background check (part of the application), and refusal could very mean that they won’t get to be on the show. This is another fairly understandable rule though, as there will be a lot of expensive items around. Interestingly, however, only the application for the spinoff show Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta asks directly about a bride’s criminal past (although currently applications for this show are inactive).
10 Hide Their Dress Size
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s a rule nonetheless. Brides need to be totally honest about their dress size in order for appropriate sizes to be found for them. The application itself even asks ahead of time if brides are plus-size. It should be noted, however, that the show is said to love plus-size brides (or any brides that do not necessarily follow the same specifications as others, for that matter) in order to keep their episodes feeling fresh and unique.
9 Not Have Any of Their Wedding Planned
Any bride interested in being on the show can’t just be freshly engaged and shopping casually for a wedding dress that won’t be worn anytime soon. One look at the extensive application makes this clear. There are questions about the wedding plans (date, location, theme, etc.) right on the application, and this is most likely because they want brides who are serious about looking for wedding dresses. Some episodes have even featured footage of the bride wearing her dress at her wedding, so there’s that.
8 Talk Normally To Friends And Family Also On The Show
The bride and her entourage on the show are apparently supposed to only talk to each other about the dresses while looking toward the mirror or directed otherwise. This is of course in addition to having to do reshoots of certain reactions and having to do camera confessionals. This is most likely done in order to get a clear shot of the dress, but any bride interested in being on the show should be aware that she’s not necessarily going to get to communicate with her entourage the way she wants to.
7 Request No Pnina Tornai
If you don’t know Pnina Tornai, do you even watch the show? Not being able to request no Pnina Tornai gowns seems to be a pretty big rule, as this is Kleinfeld’s top-selling designer whose designs are seen being pushed repeatedly on the customers. The designer even has her own in-house boutique, and her dresses are very often the consultants’ first choice for their clients to try on. According to some bride stories, they were shown Pnina Tornai dresses even after stating they weren’t interested or asking not to see them.
6 Ask For Compensation
Ever wonder if the brides get paid for appearing on the show? While many reality shows do provide at least some sort of compensation for those who appear on them, Say Yes to the Dress does not (despite the fact that filming often takes five hours or more). In fact, it appears the only bride who has ever been compensated for her appearance was none other than Omarosa Manigault, the former White House advisor and alum of another little reality show called The Apprentice.
5 Have A Low Budget
Brides don’t need to have all the money in the world, but they do need to be willing to fork over at least a considerable amount in order to appear on Say Yes to the Dress. The dresses featured on the show are often around $10,000 or more, and the “lower end” ones are still more than a few thousand dollars. It’s rare that featured brides have budgets lower than that, but this makes sense – brides with higher budgets have more dresses available to them, and Kleinfeld actually doesn’t even stock a lot of their low-end stuff at the main store (there’s a smaller location across the street for that).
4 Be Completely Drama Free
This is reality TV, after all. Numerous brides who have appeared on the show have said that the producers have attempted to stir up drama whenever possible in order to make things interesting. This included asking people questions about comments others made that could have been misinterpreted or result in a negative reaction. So, even the smallest comment of disapproval about a dress or any other factor of the wedding has the potential to be twisted into something much bigger. One bride even told 417 Magazine that the producers asked for personality descriptions of her entourage ahead of time and then formed their interviews around potential drama.
3 Have Any Drinks
Multiple sources have reported that there is actually zero drinking present at Kleinfeld, and going along with the no outside food and beverage rule, guests are definitely not allowed to bring in their own. But what about all the times we’ve seen members of the bride’s entourage sipping drinks? Well, multiple people who have shopped there have confirmed that there is strictly no bubbly allowed inside the salon, although one bride posted on Facebook that Kleinfeld sent her drinks later on. According to Cheat Sheet, the champagne you see on the show is just a prop.
2 Have An Un-enthusiastic “Yes” Moment
Some people just aren’t that emotional or energetic in their reactions, even if they like something a lot. But that excuse just isn’t going to cut it if you’re a bride appearing on Say Yes to the Dress. The production crew of this show has been reported to do multiple takes of a “yes” moment if the bride is not deemed to have a good enough reaction. This means that the moment we see the bride saying “yes” on the show might not have been her first reaction, much less a genuine one.
1 Buy A Dress Out Of Obligation
This rule is a positive one! Brides who appear on the show are in no way obligated to “say yes” to any of the dresses they try on, and, in fact, the producers don’t want them to if they’re just not feeling with it (remember how they want a strong “yes” moment?). After all, even though these brides are appearing on a produced reality TV show, they still have a wedding that’s happening in real life. The Kleinfeld website even tells brides that it’s okay if they don’t find a dress they like during their appointment, and while it’s rare, we’ve definitely seen plenty of brides on the show go home empty-handed.