Occasionally, being the social butterfly that I am, I have the chance to sneak out of the office, run to Fig & Olive and grab lunch with bridal gown goddess, Gabriella Risatti of Gabriella Bridal Salon. Prior to opening her bridal boutique in 2008, Gabriella spent a decade working in the buying offices of world renowned fashion labels including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Her experience and knowledge of the fashion industry coupled with her desire to create a unique and personalized shopping experience for brides led to the opening of Gabriella New York. Since then, Gabriella has quickly been recognized as an expert in the bridal industry, appearing in magazines and websites including Martha Stewart Weddings, New York Magazine Wedding Guide,InStyle Weddings, Daily Candy and Brides New York and television shows including CBS’s “The Early Show”, David Tutera’s “My Fair Wedding”, MTV’s “Downtown Girls” and “Entertainment Tonight”.
The belief at Gabriella New York is that shopping for a wedding gown should be memorable, personal and genuinely enjoyable. The gracious and knowledgeable sales staff will work with each bride in the intimate and relaxed boutique to help select the perfect gown for each individual. The assortment of beautiful couture gowns, veils and headpieces is unique to Gabriella New York and cannot be found anywhere else in Manhattan.
As this is the season of engagements, which also makes it the season of gown shopping, I thought I’d ask an expert for some inside tips on gown shopping! (all photos by Julie Skarratt)
XG: What are three things that a bride should keep in mind/ prepare for when she goes dress shopping?
G: The most important thing is for a bride to keep an open mind when trying on wedding gowns. Many women see pictures of dresses in magazines and on-line and think they know exactly what they want, but are often very surprised when they like something completely different. Even if you don’t think you will like it, just try it on so you will know! I also always recommend doing your hair and make up so that you feel good when trying on gowns.
XG: Is there such a thing as “too many” options when shopping for a gown?
G: YES!!! I recommend making appointments at 3 bridal salons to begin with. Going to more stores than that, especially in one day, can be overwhelming and everything begins to look alike. My guess is that you will fall in love with a gown in one of the stores. If you love it, buy it! Don’t make yourself crazy by continuing to shop and shop!
XG: Sometimes I find that brides are afraid to be as fashionable on their wedding day as they are perhaps in real life. What are your thoughts on riding the fine line between trendy and timeless?
G: If a bride is afraid to be too trendy on her wedding day, but still wants to be fashionable, I recommend staying classic with the gown and stepping out with the accessories. This way, you can take photos both with and without the accessories just in case you decide you don’t like them later in life! At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the bride feels absolutely beautiful on her wedding day.
G: Bringing too many people with them. I recommend either going by yourself or bringing just one or two people when you begin wedding dress shopping. Once you narrow down your choices, then you can bring in more friends and let them know that they are going to see only gowns that you already know you love so they don’t start giving you negative feedback on your dream dress!
XG: I’m a believer that with every digital “convenience” we gain, we lose a bit of “meaningful” experience. Texting has replaced the casual funny call to make plans with friends, evites have made stationery seem like an environmental hazard. I feel like every day I get an email about an online fashion outlet selling wedding gowns online. I don’t mean to send a loaded question, but how do you feel about this emerging trend and what do you think is getting lost in the shuffle?
G: I think its incredibly difficult to buy a wedding dress on-line because you don’t get the opportunity to see how it will look on you. Every woman’s body is different and although a dress may look beautiful on a model, it may not hit the real woman in the same places. Also, the experience of wedding gown shopping is such a special time and it would be such a shame to miss out on that. You really do get spoiled when you are a bride, so take advantage!