Is ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ Real or Fake?

We’ve all found ourselves curled up on the couch from time to time channel surfing then stopping to watch Say Yes to the Dress and before we know it we’re several episodes in.

Sure, watching brides shop for their wedding dresses with opinionated friends and family at Kleinfeld Bridal or Bridals by Lori is certainly entertaining but how real is the reality TV show? Some of the ladies who’ve been there aren’t holding back about what these shops are really like and what goes on behind the scenes.

Here’s why their experiences were very different from what’s shown on TV and what goes on during filming.

Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress
Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress | TLC

Kleinfeld is small and crowded

For starters, the way Kleinfeld’s New York City location appears on TV is not true to what the store is actually like.

To viewers at home, Kleinfeld seems to be spacious with plenty of room for all the brides and who they brought with them while shopping for the perfect gown. However, because of how popular the shop has become it crams people in and many feel stressed and rushed while “maneuver[ing] around the cameras” and having to keep quiet when filming is underway.

“Despite looking like a palace on TV, Kleinfeld isn’t large enough for the amount of customers it attracts,” Amanda Lauren told Ravishly. “If you have never tried on a wedding dress, let me tell you: Those things are ridiculously big and heavy. There aren’t enough mirrors and platforms, so I had to wait in line while the clock was ticking. Would my appointment end before I got a peek at myself?”

Another bride, Parisa Arash, spoke to the New York Post about her appointment. “There were probably 20 other brides trying on dresses at the same time, so you never had a dedicated mirror or platform that was for you,” she recalled. “You had to stand around the middle of the floor waiting for someone to move … It’s literally a machine that’s pushing people through.”

The dresses are dirty

Wedding dresses at Kleinfeld
Wedding dresses at Kleinfeld | Andrew Toth/Getty Images for GILT

What’s worse than being rushed through an appointment in a crowded wedding shop while trying to decide which dress is the right one for you? Trying on gowns that are in terrible condition.

The sample dresses the brides-to-be try on look to be in perfectly good condition on TV but many of them have complained that’s simply not the case.

“On the show, it looks like this amazing wonderland of gorgeous dresses,” Arash said. “But the samples are beaten to hell. You don’t even really get a good idea of what [they] look like.”

Catherine Lee added, “There were actual armpit sweat stains and on the hem, it looked like it had been out in the street.”

Producers help stir up drama

And of course, with just about every reality TV show out there drama is good for ratings so the SYTTD producers and directors love to stir it up.

Courtney Wright, who appeared on Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids, explained that not all of the women in the bridal party took part in the filming and that the producers had a specific way off picking who would participate.

“Before the show, [the bride] had to write out descriptions of who she was bringing, what their personalities were like, if they got along with everyone else, what upsets them, what they would disagree with and things like that,” she told 417 Bride. “Then, they chose the bridesmaids they wanted to interview from that.”

Wright also said that if one of the ladies gave an unpopular opinion, the director would ask them to state it again and tell them how their reaction should come off so it could potentially cause a disagreement. When asked to sum up her experience and if the show was real she replied, “No. Well, it’s staged. It’s real, but it’s staged.”

Read more: Why Fans Think These HGTV Shows Are Fake

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