Photo: Courtesy of Reem Acra
The lion's share of bridal ateliers sit along Madison Avenue, though a few are sprinkled up and down Fifth Avenue. For those not in the know, navigating the salons can be tricky (and somewhat awkward, to boot). Here's the lowdown of each designer's vibe and price point, so you can confidently make appointments at ateliers that suit your style.
Amsale gowns are always three things: clean, elegant, understated — and the flagship store reflects that aesthetic perfectly. The open windowed space atop Madison Avenue invites minimal fuss, but definite femininity with fresh, modern gowns and a tight assortment of well-priced little white dresses. The flagship is also home to the Christos and Kenneth Pool collections, also designed by Amsale, but for very different brides. The Christos bride adores romance and lace, while the Kenneth Pool bride craves glamour and a bit of bling not present in the namesake line. Read real brides' reviews here!
Essentially all of New York City has seen Carolina Herrera's corner atelier on Madison Avenue. The storefront sits at the 66th Street traverse, showcasing the designer's signature fit and flare gowns to countless cabs cutting across Central Park. High fashion brides with the budget to step inside will find more of the designer's structured and slinky silhouettes in the third floor bridal salon, where classic, impeccably crafted wedding dresses begin at $5,000. Read real brides' reviews here!
This remodeled townhouse opened in 2012 to reflect a major Monique Lhuillier lifestyle, from her red-carpet ready looks on the ground floor, to a pearlized palette of all-things-wedding (read: shoes, sashes, and of course, gowns) on the second. ML aficionados will find the corseted gowns, soft beading and ethereal tulle skirts that made her famous, as well as a few pieces from Bliss, her moderately priced bridal line. Cutting it close on time? The Ready to Wed collection is a perfect option for procrastinating brides (you know who you are!) who are shopping closer to their wedding date.
This Barcelona-based brand's U.S. flagship has a stately presence on Fifth Avenue, and a range of inventory to fill it. From body-skimming lace sheaths to feather-adorned bustier ballgowns, cascading trains to floral appliqués, Pronovias has a head-turning gown to suit every bridal style. Begin your appointment by previewing the latest collections on personalized screens before your attendant takes you to your dressing room. Read real brides' reviews here!
A red-carpet favorite of celebs and socialites alike, Reem Acra creates bridal gowns that balance both glamour and sophistication. Acra herself seems to be an ever-present fixture in her atelier, priding her team on technical acumen and an attention to detail that can be most appreciated on the very intricate appliqués that adorn her gowns and veils. Read real brides' reviews here!
Romona Keveza, designer to the likes of Angelina Jolie and Sofia Vergara, is equally known for her sexy-chic gowns and cocktail dresses, as she is her fit-focused bridal collections. Her LEGENDS diffusion bridal line pays homage to lace and reflects the spirit of icons Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. The new Romona Keveza flagship exudes this glamorati vibe with Hollywood Regency-inspired details, as does her bridal runway styling — think refined, luxe gowns best paired with a bold, bright lip. Read real brides' reviews here!
Enter the Vera Wang boutique on Madison Avenue, and you may be surprised to see so much black in a bridal space. The floors, walls and furniture are enveloped in the shade, giving every customer a sense of plush privacy. Even the gown samples take on the moody tone — Vera's latest Luxe collection is often shown in deep tones (think blacks, reds, greys) to help highlight their intricate design details. These avant-garde designs are mixed with Vera Wang classics that puddle to the floor in many shades of ivory and white, showcasing the loft and construction techniques that have made Vera one of the most famous names in bridal. Read real brides' reviews here!