Say Yes to the Dress: What I Wish I Knew

Photo by Ricky Stern

As I mentioned earlier this week, my episode of Say Yes to the Dress airs on TLC tonight at 9 p.m. ET. I filmed the episode more than 16 months ago, so it feels surreal to know it’s finally hitting airwaves.

Now that my cable debut is nearing, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to remember if I said or did anything embarrassing. In the process, I unearthed a few takeaways that would have been helpful to know before filming.

Photo by Ricky Stern
Photo by Ricky Stern

Here are 5 things I wish I had known:

1. Filming takes FOREVER. When you shop at Kleinfeld, the place is a madhouse, so you already have a limited amount of time to try on dresses. When you add in multiple interviews for you and your “entourage,” you’re looking at a 5-hour commitment for just a few dresses. (I tried fewer than 10 gowns.) Bring snacks and come caffeinated.

2. Whiten your teeth. When you’re surrounded by TV personalities, you suddenly become keenly aware that they are very, very tan — with teeth the size of Chiclets. By comparison, I felt quite pasty and under-flossed. (I hope they fixed my coffee-stained smile in post — but somehow, I doubt it.)

3. Bring magazine photos. I foolishly thought I could reference Pinterest to show the salespeople my dress inspiration. No dice — the wifi was horrific. (I resorted to gesticulating wildly instead.)

4. Your shoes will be judged. I knew I’d be wearing low shoes for the wedding, so I didn’t bother bringing heels to the filming. (I opted for black leather sandals instead.) “You aren’t wearing those shoes, are you?” Randy asked. I was not amused.

5. Fudge your budget. When it comes to clothes, I’m a master negotiator, but I was so wide-eyed by the taping experience, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I wound up paying full-freight for my dress, and I wish I had played hardball. Here’s my advice: When they ask for your budget, give them a number way lower than your actual budget. If you want to spend $5K, tell them $3K. That will give you a little more negotiating power. I gave a budget of $5,000 and subsequently had zero wiggle room when I found my dress for $3.8K. If I had low-balled, I might have been able to knock a few hundred off the price.

I’ll be live-tweeting my episode tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Follow along here.

Photo by Ricky Stern
Photo by Ricky Stern