I said “yes to the dress”…and then took it back.

As of last weekend, I can officially say I’ve had the full Kleinfeld bridal experience. I had the first appointment of the day on Sunday and yes, the appointment was everything I had dreamed of and more. I was greeted by my consultant, Mackenzie, introduced her to everyone I had brought with me (Mom, Nonna, future MIL, bridesmaids!) and was ushered into a massive private suite of a changing room to put my things down. My party was seated in front of one of the “twirling stations” – a long couch facing a 3-way mirror with a pedestal in front on which I would twirl many times throughout the appointment.

Stephanie Fusco Say Yes to the DressWith one of my bridesmaids, Bridget, at Kleinfeld Canada!

The Kleinfeld Experience

Mackenzie brought me into bridal paradise – a room filled with hundreds of dresses – and I shared my budget and desires with her as we picked out the first few dresses. There was nary a Pnina on my must-try list, but I did get to pick out the Rivini and Danielle Caprese dresses I’d spotted at the Kleinfeld opening along with a few others that caught my eye. In case you’re wondering, yes the blush Danielle Caprese dress looks phenomenal on. If I could wear a pink dress it would be that one!

5 or so dresses into my appointment, my mom did one of the things on the Say Yes to the Dress drinking game – she asked me for a “wow dress”. Challenge accepted. Mom loves Oscar de la Renta, so I set off back into the room of dresses to pick one out. I found one I could tolerate in the shape that I know I’ll end up with and Mackenzie hauled it back to the dressing room for me. Then that thing happened where I put it on and it was magical. Oops.

Kleinfeld Canada wedding dress experience

After a long time in the dress and countless photos snapped by my bridemaids, they asked the question. I answered emphatically with YES and the cheers, tears and champagne flowed. They took a photo for posterity of me with the whole party, champagne glasses in hand. Then I headed back to the dressing room to get measured and that’s where the real fun began.

A Seed of Doubt

I found out quickly that I was both too short for a standard-length dress (+ $800 to shorten it!) and between sizes. Which would be all well and good except that my chief concern was ensuring my bust fit properly into the dress. Even better? I was between a standard and “plus” size and the plus sizes carry a 25% surcharge. To put it plainly, I was shocked. I couldn’t stomach the thought that an extra few inches was resulting in a massive surcharge, even if it was still within our budget. I also started to have serious concerns about whether the dress would fit the way the sample did if it was 4 sizes larger. I left without paying for the dress but with a promise to return for a special appointment before the store opened the next weekend.

Stephanie Fusco Kleinfeld Canada Experience

Over the next week, as I continually looked at my photos of the dress, the doubts began to pile up. Would I really like that design in a year? What would I do if the larger size didn’t give me the bust coverage I wanted? Why was I paying so much to buy a dress in a plus size only to have it taken in to just a bit larger then the sample? The more I talked it over with my mom and girlfriends, the more I knew that I couldn’t get the dress.

I had my final moment of clarity when I showed a photo of the dress to a male coworker I’ve been friends with for a couple of years. “You’re asking for my opinion because your lady friends aren’t being honest, aren’t you?”, he asked before pointing out a few things about the dress that had been nagging at me. It was true – my girlfriends had been nothing but supportive of every dress I had tried on but no one wanted to be the one to burst my bubble. Also, all of the dresses were incredibly beautiful. I showed him my previous first-choice and got the reaction I’d been hoping for. As it turns out, the dress I’ve been eyeing all along is probably the one that will inform my final dress choice.

Kleinfeld Canada consultants twirling stationShowing off at the twirling station under Mackenzie’s watchful eye

So, what now?

The team at Kleinfeld was unbelievable – my consultant made me feel so comfortable the entire time and helped me into so many dresses that I loved. The manager of the store arranged for me to have an appointment before the store opened so I could try the dress back on the following weekend with the head seamstress there to lay out my options. But at the end of the day, the seed of doubt had been planted.

The magic of Kleinfeld is undeniable – while there isn’t any pressure, the environment primes you to say YES at the end of your appointment. All around us at the salon, other parties would start to cheer and clink glasses and you could see each bride gleefully twirling in her yes dress. There’s a pretty good chance you will find your dress there – the selection is massive and I honestly could have said yes to the majority of the ones I tried on. In fact, I’d suggest the Kleinfeld experience to anyone in a heartbeat (and recommend Mackenzie as your consultant!).  At the end of the day, I know I need more time before I can say yes. But who knows… it may still be to the Kleinfeld dress. The door’s still open!

Stephanie Fusco Dina Alonzi experienceShopping with Nonna at Dina Alonzi

In the next few weeks, I’m going to be actively pursuing the custom option, something I’ve been averse to this entire time because of the uncertainty. However, I know that there will be a certain degree of uncertainty if I were to buy off-the-rack since the dress is inevitably ordered in the size closest to what you are instead of being a custom fit to your body. I feel like custom will allow me to breathe easier – I won’t have to worry about taking in a dress three sizes or have to be nervous about where the top of the bustline will hit because the whole thing will be designed especially for me.

The silver lining to all of this? More dress appointments! Honestly the most fun you’ll have planning a wedding.

How long did it take you to find the dress? Did you have a similar experience or find yours right away?


  • Christie_Lazo

    Great article Steph! The Kleinfeld experience really is priceless! I highly recommend it as well!
    In March, I went to my Kleinfeld appointment in NYC and found my dress right away! It was the first one I tried on. The veil was what added that true magical touch and completed the whole look. While I was there, I tried on a total of 3 dresses but knew that the first one was The One. It had the elegance that I was looking for. It’s always so nerve-racking though, cause what if you find a better dress somewhere else?? After all, I had a Kleinfeld appointment coming up in Toronto the week of opening, but how could I say “no” to magic?! So I said YES! I haven’t regretted it for a second! After all, I always knew I’d be a Kleinfeld bride 🙂

  • ettuandyou

    Yes, agree with Christie-this is a great post.  I think you still had the ‘experience’ you were looking for……wouldn’t you say?  I also want to high five you for looking into custom design-I think you will be pleased with this as your dress IS truly unique.  I’ll be reading….

  • ettuandyou All of my bridal shopping experiences have been phenomenal! I would definitely rate the experience at Kleinfeld as one of the best. I think whether you end up saying yes there or not you still have a great appointment. 

    I originally wanted to do custom then got really nervous about the unknowns. But the process has taught me that there are always going to be unknowns unless you fit right into the sample. For seeing-is-believing girls like me that will always be tough. I’ll keep you all posted on my custom experience!

  • SeptembreA

    I like that you’re going the custom route. I think I’ll pursue that option when/if I get married.

  • cristinapezz

    Great post!! 

    I had initially booked my appointment at Kleinfeld’s just to experience what I had been watching on Say Yes to the Dress every Friday night! I really did not expect to find a dress there but nonetheless, I kept an open mind. I actually ended up finding my dress at Kleinfeld’s last weekend! My appointment started off seriously stressful and disappointing has I had chosen a few dresses on the Hudson’s Bay website prior to my appointment which had been pulled for me and were ready for me to try on. However, as soon as I saw them I was very disappointed as the ones I had chosen online looked nothing like they looked like in person! Needless to say I was starting to panic when I made the consultant take all 5 dresses back and search for some more. I had a dress in mind from my searches on Pinterest and other wedding sites and when I had asked my consultant, Rosalind,  if they had it in stock she she was unsure but said another bride a few rooms down from mine was trying on a similar style. I was nervous to try the dress on since it is very fitted and I have a few areas I am very self conscious about lol!  I tried a few other styles on as I waited for the other bride to finish with the dress I wanted to try on and after trying on 5 different styles, I realized the dress I was waiting for could quite possibly be my dress. Half an hour later, I got to try on the dress I ultimately chose and knew it was made for me! My consultant knew it was the dress I was going to choose as soon as she saw me ugly crying staring at myself in it! She told me she didn’t want me to show my family and best friend until she jacked me up! She fitted me with a stunning belt and the most gorgeous Pnina Tornai veil and I felt incredible! When I stepped out of the room with a smile from ear to ear, my parents, grandmother, sister and best friend knew it was the one! 

    I look at the pictures of myself in it everyday and haven’t regretted it for one second. 

    You will find your dress! I’m sure of it! Good luck girl!!

  • summerxskin

    Custom is the way to go, Steph! For Pakistani weddings it’s a bit different because you really have to find the right shade of red that is meant for you. However even for us there is always an option to go with a typical designer item and be done with it. The more dresses I looked at the more I realized what I really wanted in one. One day I spent 4 hours creating a mood board on InDesign with everything I wanted in the dress (including the right shade of red etc) and got it custom made. I’m super happy with my decision.

    You’ll find the right dress – just takes time and patience. 🙂

  • roxierichter

    How tall are you? The idea of being too short for a standard-length dress is freaking me out now.

  • I’m 5’3 plus 3.5 inch heels. Generally the cost wouldn’t be so high but this particular dress was very detailed at the bottom and I wasn’t willing to lose any of it, hence the custom length. Don’t worry!