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If you think about, no one knows the inside scoop on all things NYC wedding better than a Manhattan bridal salon owner. (And for good reason: If you're comfortable enough to shimmy topless into countless bridal gowns with them, we imagine they've also heard a ton of your wedding small talk, too). We sat down with Gabriella Risatti of Soho-based Gabriella New York for this very reason. Gabriella's fashionable, but calm space houses several of-the-moment designers, in a space that exudes relaxation. And now, the NYC bridal maven is sharing her own expert advice on your dress shopping experience. So take notes. These not-to-be-missed tips will keep you totally zen when shopping for your dream gown.
There's no reason to feel intimidated when wedding dress shopping
"When I lived in California, two of my best friends got engaged and I went dress shopping with them. I was disappointed with the overall experience, particularly that many of the salons didn't have the gowns out on the floor to see. I wanted to create a bridal salon that was intimate, friendly, and not intimidating. I had a vision of what I thought a bridal salon should be and decided that day that I was going to create it. 10 years later, Gabriella New York opened."
When you are shopping for your wedding dress, the most important thing you can do is keep an open mind. If your bridal consultant recommends a gown for you, try it on — even if you think you won't like it. We see women fall in love with gowns they never thought they would all the time!
See More: Now That You've Got Your Dream Dress, Plan the Rest of Your Wedding Day Look with These NYC Bridal Jewelry Vendors
Don't be shy about your Pinterest boards!
"Social media has changed the (bridal) landscape in a great way. Many of our brides come in with Pinterest boards, for example, which really helps us get a clear idea of what they want to look like on their wedding day. Brides are just getting more and more creative as well. They come up with the coolest ideas!" Remember to bring as much inspiration as you like to your appointment; a photo really speaks a thousand words.
You CAN get an intimate dress shopping experience in New York City
"When we started out, we only had 5 designers. Now we carry 10 and we have moved into a larger space with more fittings rooms. Overall, our vibe has remained the same and we work very hard to stay true to our original mission of creating a warm environment with amazing gowns. Even though I've now worked with hundreds and hundreds of brides, I still cry when they cry and get just as excited for them when they tell me about their wedding!" So look for a salon that has a warm vibe; it will make your experience so much more relaxed.
Shop Outside Your Neighborhood
If you have the chance to shop around, do it. "If anything, we have attracted brides from a wider area of the city and the country. In the beginning, we didn't see too many women from uptown, but now we are seeing brides from all over the city. I love meeting them, they all seem to have such interesting careers and lives. I am constantly impressed with these women! My seamstresses always tell me that I have the nicest brides and I couldn't agree more!"