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Series / Say Yes to the Dress

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An American reality television show on TLC about Kleinfeld Bridal, a salon in the Big Applesauce, and more specifically, the women shopping there for their wedding dresses, and the employees trying to balance the brides' egos, budgets and families. A Guilty Pleasure if ever there was one.

There are several spin offs to the series itself.

Tropes featured include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: One episode of Atlanta had a bride who had been dating her groom long-distance... and hadn't actually seen him in twelve years when they got engaged. She neglected to tell her bridal party this until the appointment, which got the expected reaction. Her sister was also a bit hurt she wasn't told. As revenge, her friend and sister put her in a ridiculous dress on purpose, and broke down giggling as soon as she walked out in it, confessing to the prank. Fortunately, the bride thought it was hilarious once she realized the joke.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Many of the dresses tried on by the older brides are more appropriate for 20-year-olds.
  • Almighty Mom: Many, many, MANY of the moms are this, especially if they show up in the Atlanta show (which dedicated a whole episode to dealing with these mothers)
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Monte, a Camp Gay Southern Gentleman who always tries to find peace with the brides and their entourages, even when some members are being difficult and he is witty and fun. But the easiest way to cross him is to be mean to the bride or the bridesmaids, like when a obnoxious, redneck, chunky, former Teen Mom makes a comment on her daughter's bridesmaid's "shoulder chonk" or body fat or otherwise try to bully a bride into picking something (handled with witty comments).
    Monte: Lord, my Southern hospitality is about to fly out the window.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Plus-sized brides are given just as much attention and care, and the consultants make it clear they think women of any size are beautiful... especially when they find the perfect dress. The show does show how shopping is harder for larger women, since they're much less likely to find something perfect in their size on the rack, but given enough time and help from the consultants, they can almost always get what they're looking for.
  • Bridezilla: Not as common as one might think, given the show's focus, but it does happen. There are also a few Maidzillas. There's also a distressing number of brides who are treated like a Bridezilla by their party for... having an opinion about her own wedding dress.
  • Camp: The male style consultants tend to be very... expressive and flamboyant. Randy is the "codifier" (plus, he is gay), but Monte from Atlanta is very flamboyant.
  • Call-Back: The "C" plot in most episodes revolve around a bride getting alterations done on her dress from an previous episode.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "[name], are you saying yes to this dress?" (Interestingly, this was not used in many of the earlier episodes of the original series.)
    • "Jack you up" from Atlanta, referring to finishing out the bridal look, including the veil, for the audience to see.
  • Censor Decoy: One bride who wanted to dress 'sexy' persuaded Randy to bring her out in an extremely provocative dress first so that the dresses she actually wanted would seem tamer by comparison.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Many consultants only last a few seasons. Unless they're Audrey and Antonella.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: One gets this vibe from the $20,000+ dresses.
  • Crossover: Plenty of other TLC show stars have been featured on the show. Such as Michelle Duggar, Kate Gosselin, and Buddy's wife.
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • Several of the younger brides show up with their dads and are this to a T. i.e, the Atlanta spin-off featured a Navy captain who raised the budget to 10,000 dollars from one moment to another to make his little girl happy.
    • Often, if a dad seems impossible to please, it's not really about the dress; it's because he and his daughter are close, and he's just freaking out because his baby is an adult now. Usually, once he realizes this, or sees how happy his daughter is with one specific dress, he'll come around and show his support.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Money doesn't buy happiness or stability, kids.
  • Extreme Doormat: Some have shown up:
    • A woman purchasing a gown for her vow renewal ceremony ended up buying a dress she hated instead of the one she loved because she couldn't stand to disappoint her 8-year-old sons.
    • One young (late teens/early 20s) bride, who was sad because her grandmother kept complaining about her dress choices.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress:
    • Why the brides are at a fancy boutique.
    • One bride in Atlanta was having a medieval-themed wedding, and wanted to get as close to a literal example to this trope as possible, even bringing along her wedding planner to help her find something that would fit her theme. The result was a gorgeous white and gold gown with a corset and long, draping sleeves, that even matched the tiara she intended to wear at the ceremony.
  • Freudian Excuse: Usually this is the case when someone in the entourage is being a Jerkass and overly critical of the bride's dress. There's almost always something that has nothing to do with the dress, and the consultants have to play therapists for the day.
    • This is also the case when a bride is being really indecisive and can't choose a dress.
  • Friendly Rivalry:
    • Between Randy and Audrey.
    • Randy also has one with Shay as well. As the former's wasn't used to having another boy on the floor. Leading to them butting heads and getting into arguments.
  • Gem-Encrusted: Some of the dresses will leave the viewer wondering how the brides can stand under the weight of the adornments.
  • Get Out!:
    • Once in a while, the grooms show up at the stores too. They're allowed to hang around until the very last dress try, where they're told to step out.
    • Notably inverted in one episode, where a bride's entire entourage other than her fiance were so bad that they all got kicked out and the groom was allowed to stay, though he didn't get to see the veil so there would still be some surprise.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Takes place if the bride shows up with her sister/s, or if two sisters are getting married at the same time and decide to buy their gowns in the same store.
  • Happily Ever After: The show usually ends with pictures from the featured brides' weddings.
  • Hereditary Wedding Dress: Comes up fairly often, especially in cases where a bride's mother has passed away and thus won't be at the wedding.
    • Some brides will decide to wear a new dress but, to honor their mothers (or sometimes future mothers-in-law), will wear some other piece of their wedding ensemble—the veil, shoes, jewelry, or something. This then adds an extra complication to the dress shopping, as they now have to find a dress to fit the accessories, rather than the other way around.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Notably averted on this show, which treats lesbian brides no differently from straight brides and candidly discusses the possible challenges of styling two brides in two dresses for the same wedding. It probably helps that TLC is a cable channel — and that fashion director Randy (and his Atlanta counterpart, bridal image consultant Monte) is flamboyantly gay.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: In the early episodes of Atlanta, Lori comments a few times on needing to drink a cosmopolitan due to stress from the job/customers.
  • Insistent Terminology: They're consultants, not saleswomen.
  • It's All About Me: Many of the brides. Even worse, some of the bride's families. Often to the point where some of the relatives seem to forget that it's not their wedding day.
    • One distressing example was when when a young woman brought in her mother and stepmother (both of whom were very important to her). The mother took every time the woman liked anything the stepmother said as a snub while the stepmother backed off quickly and tried to be nice no matter what the dress was (aka which mother picked it).
    • A more benign example came from the "Say Yes to the Prom" episode; since an entire class of high school students was able to choose clothes, two of them end up getting the same dress. The focus girl wanted to feel special and unique for having her dress, so they hash it out off screen and have the focus girl get it.
    • Some consultants find Randy to be this way. While most ask for his help, others see him as overbearing and trying to take over their appointments. This often leads to a Friendly Rivalry between him and said consultants.
  • Jerkass Realization: Occasionally, members of the entourage realize they've really hurt the bride's feelings (either on their own or after a What the Hell, Hero? from the consultants) and backpedal. Especially if they were kidding around and didn't realize the bride was taking it very personally until it was too late.
  • Last of Their Kind: Audrey and Antonella seem to be the only consultants that stayed since the show's original run. Randy is a close third before he left Kleinfeld's to create his own line of bridal gowns.
  • Long Runner: Let's see....with 19 seasons, an Atlanta spinoff, and Bridesmaids edition (plus plenty of one hour specials), it's one of TLC's most popular shows.
  • Mama Bear: Lori would sometimes act in this role whenever the bride (or a bridesmaid) is being bullied and often is used as a voice of reason whenever there is a disagreement, bringing out the truth into the light to resolve a conflict. One episode where a bride is trying to force her busty bridesmaid into a unsupportive one-shoulder gown has the bridal consultant get Lori especially to intervene and convince the bride that she may need to relax her demand for that style of bridesmaid dress.
  • Momma's Boy: Older brides sometimes show up with their sons, who tend to fit in here. They tend to be either spoiled brats (especially if they're young boys) or milder examples, like an American football player who showed up in the Atlanta series to support his mother as she's getting ready for her vow renewal ceremony.
  • My Beloved Smother: Some of the bride's mothers, and at times also stepmothers and grandmothers.
  • No Accounting for Taste: A few of the grooms-to-be are so controlling and overbearing, you have to wonder why the bride hasn't run screaming.
  • Not Like Other Girls: Many brides come in wanting to look unique. Which could range from wanting anything but a white dress or even wearing a jumpsuit for their big day.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Some of the mother-in-law to be's would try to manipulate their way into having the bride choose something that they (or sometimes the son) would like, even to obnoxious extremes where they'd throw a tantrum.
    • Averted in one episode where Lori helps her daughter in law to be pick out specially tailored dresses for the ceremony, the reception, and the going-away dress and it's shown that she is very close to her and proud she is marrying her son.
  • Once an Episode:
    • Usually some variant of "[name], are you saying yes to this dress?". Also, in the Atlanta spinoff, it closes with judgement seems sound; other times... not.
    • In the early seasons the consultants would have a meeting with the director of sales. It would usually be to let the audience know what to expect in the upcoming episode.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: So many examples, often involving a Almighty Mom and/or My Beloved Smother.
    • One episode had a mother making critical comments about her busty daughter's style being "hoochie" and Lori overhears her talking to her sisters wondering where the bride got her style from and one of the aunts snarks "From you" and it turned out that the mother (with a shape not to dissimilar from her daughter) wore halter tops and Daisy Dukes herself; Lori would bring this up when the mother made a criticism about her daughter wanting to show cleavage.
    • Some parents would make negative comments about their daughter's (or the bridesmaids') weight despite not being any slimmer than the target of their criticism themselves.
    • One episode had a Bride's mother trying to get her daughter to wear the mother's 1980s gown as "tradition" and because the bride was the only one of the daughters with the same figure and size as the mother; the Bride does find the dress beautiful on her but she wants something more to her taste and modern and many viewers in the comments stated that the mother herself was allowed to wear her bridal gown on her wedding day and not her mother's.
  • Pretty in Mink: In one episode, a bride wanted a winter wedding, and her bridesmaids to wear white faux fur muffs, so the dresses, that she was looking for her bridesmaids to wear, were to at least look good with the muffs.
  • Put on a Bus: Most of the saleswomen are featured for several episodes and never heard from again. There are a few long-runners though, notably Dianne, Sarah, Keasha, and Audrey.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: There have been plenty of brides who have more conservative tastes, or are shy about showing off their bust. The consultants will adhere to their wishes, although if it's obvious this trope is occurring due to a lack of self-confidence, they'll try to encourage her with a pep-talk.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Naturally as consultants find other jobs, or start families of their own. Tons of consultants have been on the show.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the Atlanta show, a Sassy Black Woman bride got so fucking fed-up with her Almighty Mom and her other companions that she stopped trying on gowns, gave them a What the Hell, Hero? speech and walked out, saying that she'd come back alone later. Even more, Monte supported the bride's decision without a moment of hesitation.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: If a bride has big boobs, she's very likely to gun for a revealing wedding dress to pull this trope. More often than not, her companions won't agree.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Once in the Atlanta show, a bride showed up with her younger brother. While well-intentioned, he shot down all of the woman's choices and tried to force her to buy a gown of his choice.
  • Slut-Shaming: Very common among the relatives of brides who want to look sexy, or even look sideways at a dress that shows some skin. Almost inevitably, their mother, father, grandparent, or auntie will give them crap and tell them their choice of dress makes them look like a tramp. Averted by the consultants, who are happy to let a bride show as much or as little as she likes. Friends of the bride also tend to encourage her to show what she's got.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Gender inverted with Randy and Monte, who are the only males to work in the salon. That was until season 14 of the original when Shay showed up ruffling Randy's feathers.
  • Southern Gentleman: Monte, with a side of Camp Gay, is elegant and classy and goes out of his way to please the brides.
  • Spin-Off: Several:
    • There's a whole second show (or was it just a special set of 20 or episodes?) about bigger brides—usually size 12 and up. Those episodes had even more about "the right fit" and showing how to mitigate/play up parts of your body.
    • They have another spin-off called Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Further, Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids, where the brides need to be reminded that it's their wedding and they can pick any bridesmaids dresses they want, or that you can get nice dresses in weird colors, or that it's the bride's day not yours, etc. Or that automatically making your sister the maid of honor doesn't mean she'll be nice to you.
    • Randy has two spin offs for himself. One is called Randy Knows Best and another is Randy to the Rescue, with Randy taking his talent on the road to help women find dresses.
    • There are spin offs in other countries too: Canada, Argentina, Chile, Brazil...
  • Stripperific: Most of the gowns by designer Pnina Tornai are low-cut, transparent, and covered in rhinestones.
  • Unconventional Wedding Dress: The series will occasionally feature brides who want unconventional wedding dresses, which will invariably put them at odds with their more traditional family members or entourage. Usually they'll get the style they want or compromise with the dissenters to find something in the middle.
    • In one episode, bride-to-be Christalyne fought against her Indian family's wishes, as she wanted an ivory or champagne gown when in India white is reserved for widows.
    • Former Prince bassist Nik West, who wanted something futuristic, ended up with a beaded white catsuit with a detachable skirt.
    • One bride in Atlanta wanted a black wedding dress. Lori and the other consultants were fully on board, but Mom took time to come around. The bride's brother admitted his tastes erred more traditional, but said that it was his sister's special day and he was in her corner, and helped talk their mom around.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In Atlanta, Lori and Monte usually interact via jokingly insulting one another.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Often the young brides would be very well-mannered, enthusiastic, cheerful, and mature young women while their mothers (or even mother in law to be) would be prone to throwing tantrums, misbehave like teenagers, show a cringy case of the tied apron strings, or harbor a "evil alter-ego" to make hurtful comments to sway their daughters to a dress they want. One mother would make pig noises and make loud comments about her daughter's bridesmaid's "shoulder chonk" or her daugther's desires for a specific sort of wedding rather than a casual one with bright colors, jeans, and shorts.
    Lori: This Momma may think she's being cute, but these antics could drive a wedge between her and her daughter. And there ain't nothing cute about that honey.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The consultants often give these to the bride's entourage when they're being overly critical of her dress choices.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: One bride was named ''Queen Precious Jewel Earth''. No joke. Though it was often just shortened to either "Queen" or "Precious".
  • Woobie of the Week: Hardly an episode goes by without a bride either having an Dysfunctional Family, a medical issue, a deceased parent, or some tragic backstory that makes the consultants job of finding her dress more meaningful.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The consultants will often give pep-talks to brides with confidence issues, assuring them that they're beautiful, or helping them find the courage to stand up to their entourages and find the dress they really want.