Wedding Dress Shopping in New York City

What's more fun than planning a wedding? Shopping for a wedding dress at J. Crew in NYC

Credit: Frank Oudeman

NYC’s J. Crew bridal boutique has a beautiful collection of modern bridal wear

Spring is wedding season, and a spring trip to New York City turned into an opportunity to check out the best place to go wedding dress shopping for this engaged writer – the J. Crew bridal boutique on Madison Ave.

On a recent trip to New York City, I popped into the new J. Crew bridal boutique on Madison Avenue.

Perhaps not on every woman’s hit-list for where to shop during a quick trip to the Big Apple, this is likely where I need to pre-empt my story with a bit of explanation.

Wedding Dress Browsing

I’m engaged. No wedding date set, but we’ll get to that when the time is right and the budget allows. Meanwhile, I can’t help but kick a few tires when it comes to planning our pending big day.

See, I was the style editor at Real Weddings magazine for six years – sharing my findings with brides-to-be from flowers to cakes to the best (waterproof, natch) mascaras, and everything in between. And of course, bridal fashion was a huge part of the shoots I produced and styled.

I left that magazine a couple of years ago, having had my fill of all-things-wedding, but it appears you can take the girl outta the wedding magazine, but I guess you can’t take the wedding magazine outta the girl.

I’ve been a fan of J Crew and its beautiful, modern bridal collection for several years, which, until recently, was only available to purchase online, or in very select J. Crew stores in the USA. Knowing a boutique had opened in Manhattan, I had to check it out.

Modelled on Eileen Gray’s 1914 Parisian atelier (she was a furniture designer and architect), the shop is bi-level with the main floor showcasing special occasion dresses, accessories, jewelry, and fragrances like Histoires de Parfums.

Visiting the J. Crew Bridal Salon

Downstairs is the bridal salon, where, by appointment with one of their specialists, you can book some time to browse thru the gallery and try on bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses in one of the four suites while you sip sparkling water or champagne with your girlfriends.

One of the challenges for me when it comes to shopping for a dress is my height. Measuring in at a staggering, not so Amazonian-esque 5’3” tall, that makes me a petite, which in my lifetime of experience translates to ‘hard to find nice stuff that fits.’

Sifting through racks of bridal gowns perfectly suited to my own style, I found that most of the more interesting gowns I loved did not come in petite sizes, which left me with only basic styles to choose from. Story of my life. However, a basic style from J. Crew still speaks to me more than most other labels, so I’m ok with it.

I also loved the coral and hydrangea shades for spring bridesmaid dresses, the quirky Albertus Swanepoel headpieces, and chunky, mixed metal, crystal and pearl jewelry by Fenton-Fallon and Lulu Frost.

Although I didn’t leave with a gown that day, I do know I’ll be back to slap down the plastic when the time comes.

Freelance writer, editor, stylist Catherine Dunwoody puts the ‘style’ in lifestyle stories. Based in Vancouver, Catherine is a regular contributor to TV Week, BC Home, Western Living, Nuvo and numerous other publications and television programs.