You can shop for wedding gowns in Brooklyn--and find something different from the mega-wedding stores, in terms of unique designs and very personal service in a low-key, elegant setting.
Most Brooklyn bridal dress designers agree that their brides love the intimacy and informality of the whole experience, from designing or selecting the gown to fittings. Boutiques offer a personal interaction, so the brides don’t feel like their dress is just one more “to do” item on their checklist.
The time frame for delivery of a wedding dress is about 4 to 6 months, though some of the vendors below say a rush job can be arranged in a month.
Schone Bridal in Gowanus is well worth a visit. Founded in 2010, they offer a highly customized process, and make elegant wedding gowns for real people, not just women with a model's figure. In addition to a line of beautiful gowns, they've developed a line of handsome, flowing wedding gowns for pregnant brides "as well as styles well suited for second-time-around brides, older brides, and those with other fit concerns." Prices average around $2200.
Another local bridal dress designer is Californian Leanne Marshall. She's a Project Runway season 5 winner who excels in sexy, inventive styles. Once she was inspired by the humble cabbage, and the spectacular results won her accolades at NY Fashion Week.
DUMBO's handsome bridal boutique specializes in classic styling and carries well-known designer brands. They also have a little white book of recommended vendors for all your other wedding needs.
Michelle moved into bridal wear on demand from her private clients. She describes her approach as an alternative to the classic wedding gown, working with a sophisticated look for an urban bride. Many of her customers, who come from all over New England as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania are, she says, are “barn brides” where they wear very elegant gowns in a rustic setting. The store has a lovely, intimate vibe. “We see just one client at a time,” she says.
This tranquil, beautiful store relocated from Manhattan's Nolita to on Atlantic Avenue in 2011. The bridal salon imports romantic, feminine gowns from small independent, mostly European wedding designers. Co-owners, Jana Vendeland and Ksenia Kaliaguina live in the neighborhood, so if you're a bride who resides in brownstone Brooklyn, you may even be neighbors.
Jana describes her dresses as offering a slimmer silhouette and promises brides something unique. “These are not mass produced,” Jana says. Expert fittings are done in Brooklyn.
Wedding dresses can be made for under $1,000 at Kimera, a long-established Brooklyn boutique that for decades has created comfortable, wearable outfits for the entire bridal party.
Kimera's hallmark is the use of vibrantly colored, jewel-toned silk, though they also design wedding gowns in classic white eyelet and other fabrics. Their most popular fabric is 100% silk with natural texture, available in almost 100 colors. They also sell a less-textured machine-made version that feels like silk taffeta; it comes in approximately 50 shades. You can get up to 6 fabric swatches free of charge via regular mail.
Because they are non-traditional, some of these dresses can be re-purposed for subsequent use.
The shop also sells a range of accessories, such as headpieces, silk flowers, and jewelry.
If you're looking for something very special, check out a handful of talented Brooklyn designers who make custom wedding dresses and sell them through the (Brooklyn-based) online vendors site Etsy. Etsy's selections and designers may change over time, but this is a wonderful way to connect with a creative designer right in the borough. (It's not all made in Brooklyn but many Brooklyn designers do use this site.)
On Etsy, you can also find a whole range of wedding related items, from gifts, to wedding books, to veils, jewelry and much more.
(Tip: Listings on Etsy come and go. To search, uses keywords "wedding gowns" "handmade" and then under "shop location" add "Brooklyn." Also, when you email a designer you discover on Etsy, they may reply to you via the Etsy system, not your own email. So if you're waiting for a reply, log on. Or, better, correspond with your prospective designers by email or call directly.)
African Cloth "Princess" Dress
The Brooklyn branch of a 300-store bridal empire, you can find every possible kind of bridal item in the store at David's Bridal, or at their website online. They've been in business since the 1950s. If you are on a tight budget, check out their selection of affordable gowns under $600 or go for their designer lines, such as White by Vera Wang, gowns by Oleg Cassini, Galina and of course David's own Bridal Collection. David's seems attuned to what's going on in the fashion/entertainment world; after the release of the blockbuster movie Great Gatsby in 2013, they featured a line of "Great Gatsby" wedding dresses.
Thrift and Vintage
You never know what you might find at a vintage store, and it's probably hard to find a wedding dress. But you never know because there's a lot of ebb and flow of items on sale at Brooklyn's many vintage and thrift stores. Here, the Atlantic Avenue Salvation Army store in Brooklyn displays a wedding dress on the occasion of the first Atlantic Avenue Wedding Extravaganza.
And for Old Timers, Kleinfelds of Yesteryear
From 1941 through the early years of the 21st century, legendary Kleinfeld, a bridal beacon, was headquartered in Bay Ridge. The store attracted hordes of young brides, because Kleinfeld offered a large selection and, in keeping with the sensibilities of old Brooklyn, at much-lower-than-Manhattan prices. However, they've decamped to Manhattan digs, leaving Brooklyn behind. Still, there's no way to talk about bridal salons in Brooklyn without giving a historical nod to the original destination bridal store, once located on Third Avenue in Brooklyn.