Hi, my name is Tiffany Hoffman and I’m 33 from Seattle, WA.  I knew right from the beginning of my engagement that finding my dress would be the hardest part of planning my wedding.  I got engaged in August and my fiancé planned a surprise engagement that involved my entire office.  That same weekend my mom and Grandma came to visit and we went dress shopping.  I knew that I wanted something that felt a little boho, a little vintage, and would work on the beach.  I had tried on a Jim Hjelm that I liked but couldn’t commit to so I continued to look.  A month later I went shopping again and after 4 stores and about 30 dresses I came out empty handed again. I had a vision and I knew I would find it somewhere.  I started pouring through blogs and websites and stumbled upon Christos.  Went I went to the website I saw that it was a line carried by Amsale.  The dress I was dying over was only carried in the NY boutique so I made an appt for my next trip to NY. A few days before I was leaving for NY, I got a call about “Amsale Girls” being filmed during my appointment and I started screaming as soon as I hung up!  I was so excited!  As soon as I walked in to Amsale I knew that I was going to find my dress.  My best friend and bridesmaid Raelinn was with me and when I found out that Amsale herself was there I was overwhelmed with excitement!  I tried on the dress that I was dying over and it didn’t end up being the right compliment to my figure but there was a ball gown version that my sales person Lauren brought to me and I loved it… but she threw me for a loop with another gorgeous dress.  I was down to two dresses and needed to make a decision.  I went into the dressing room, looked at myself in the mirror and said outloud “this is your wedding dress”.  And that was it!

My dress has set the tone for my beach wedding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It is done in a polka dot tulle which I incorporated into my programs, cake, and invitations.  My fiancé Joe and I are getting married June 24th in an Oceanside ceremony followed by a backyard poolside reception.  We are so excited to have all of our friends and family there to celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives.  I am equally excited that I will feel so special in my gown as we begin that journey.

I moved to NY when I landed a dream job at Vera Wang. It was a fantastic learning experience but fast forward 3 years, and it felt like I was spinning my wheels. An evil manager was making life miserable, a relationship was ending, I felt stuck between bridal and ready to wear, and had become frustrated with life in NY. I felt like I had proven to myself that I could make it in NY –I had been there 3 years– but didn’t know what should happen next… move overseas, maybe? But then I met someone new–at a pub Trivia night at the Matchless Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Kyle and I geeked it up together, first as friends then gradually progressing to more. We sweetly refer to ourselves as a “bar success story” since statistically speaking, our relationship shouldn’t have worked out. Soon after, I did a little soul-searching in Japan and returned to begin a new job at Amsale. It turned out to be a major turning point in my life.  Kyle and I got married in September of 2008. I dare you to guess what my wedding gown looked like… (Hint–it was a Kenneth Pool, but an atypical one.) Things were humming along with life’s usual ups and downs but to our newly-wedded selves, these were the salad days. I couldn’t believe that marriage was so fun. Was I surprised? Definitely! Guess I wasn’t meant to be a career bachelorette after all. And although I didn’t know what the future looked like, at least I knew who I would be spending it with. And the best part? Now that we’d joined forces, all of the dreams that we had abandoned or neglected began to feel possible. We brainstormed weekly, thinking about where we should open up a coffee shop/art gallery, take tango lessons, open a bar, write a novel… until everything we were working towards came to a screeching halt when my husband Kyle lost his job. I have to confess, it’s much easier to write about my co-workers than about myself. I could probably write a long-winded novel about my life, but it probably won’t make it into your book club any time soon, and it certainly wouldn’t tell you anything about how to pick the perfect wedding gown. Thank you, Emily Leu, for swooping in and giving your two cents about what I’m like at work. I’m probably not that cool, but Emily’s known me for a while now so here it is…

Meet Linda — the Emily Version

Linda notices everything but says nothing.  She can size you up in a matter of minutes and is usually spot on in her assessment of people but accepts everyone with a complete lack of judgment.  She knows that good or bad, everyone has their moments and she is truly fascinated by what makes people tick.

In the salon, Linda is our calm, grounding voice of reason.  She has become a sounding board for us girls and whenever anyone has a problem she usually finds herself the chosen shoulder to lean on.  Partially because she has a knack for offering up a morsel of wisdom in just a few words that changes your perspective and literally makes any situation seem clear.  Mostly, however, it’s because Linda will always be on your side, no matter what.  Talking to her makes you feel like you’re wrapped in a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so bad.

Similarly, Linda exudes the same quiet strength in the workplace.  She is the most diligent worker in the salon.  Never one to let her reports or paperwork slip, always the first to tackle a project or initiative.  Linda does her absolute best and gives 200% and holds out hope that one day she will be recognized for it.  If not, she doesn’t sweat it.  She wants to do the best job she can for the good of the salon, not for the praise.  This is in stark contrast to both Lauren and myself.  Both of us have a tendency to do one thing right and run down the hall screaming “Look what I did!!!”

Linda does have her fun stirring the pot though.  Intentionally protective of herself and her emotions, she lets information out in a slow leak once you really get to know her.  For example, when we first started working together, I asked Linda how old she was.  I was really (I mean REALLY) more curious than anything.  Mostly because Linda has the demeanor of someone who has been seasoned by years of experience but looks like a hot Asian trophy wife.  She intentionally kept this from me ONLY because she knew I wanted to know.  It was literally years before she would tell me how old she was.  She really gets her jollies off of keeping people on their toes.  Its part of what makes her so interesting – you’ll never get bored being friends with Linda because she’ll figure out exactly what you want and then skirt around it forever.  Just kidding.  Sort of. Linda will take it from here…

The Mall to Madison Avenue

Now where were we? Right. Unemployment. Losing a job is hard no matter where you are, but in NY, the fall can come much harder and faster.

That 6 month safety net that you’re supposed to have gets spent much faster in a place like NY where the rents are easily over two thousand dollars. With very little preparation, we found ourselves a single income home. I knew that I had to step it up, and at no other time was I more grateful to have the job that I had, and more frightened by it. I was a luxury salesperson working on commission in post recession NYC.

I never considered myself a salesperson until maybe 2 years ago, when I finally embraced what I did for a living. Never mind that I’ve been doing it for 14 years. I grew up with the same suspicion about people who try to “help” when you’re shopping, as no doubt many customers regarded me all those years throughout my meandering retail career. But 2 things really changed the way I felt. One–and it’s a big one–was getting married myself and going through the process of hunting down a gown.

By the end of it all, it quietly dawned on me what the true significance of the gown is and should be… Sure it varies from bride to bride, but at the end of the day it should be something that you feel psychologically comfortable and beautiful in– something in which you feel ravishing but that doesn’t feel like a costume. It should feel like mutual recognition when you find that dress (you know, if dresses had feelings). It’s that dress by which your beloved recognizes the woman walking towards him down the aisle. The one that makes mom and dad misty eyed because their little girl is leaving them. Or,,, it’s the gown that you just inexplicably love. You, and no one else, has to live with the dress decision, so make it count!

When the millions of photos from your wedding come back to you (yes, millions!) if you loved your gown, you will like what you see. If you didn’t love your wedding gown or were uncomfortable in it, your pictures will be a painful or annoying reminder of this for months, even years to come. Who needs that?

When I thought about what I sell and how I sell it, I realized that I felt really good about it. I wasn’t just selling an article of clothing, but a powerful symbol of matrimony and dream fulfillment. Not too shabby.

I presume a lot when I get to know a bride, but I make the most of every interaction. I try to listen, with all the attention of a rapt lover, to everything the bride is saying and to what she’s not saying. I listen for secret wishes, contradictions, frustrations, insecurities–whatever the bride gives me. I then try to find that dress that feels just right. And if we don’t have that dress here, I will point you in the right direction. Thinking back on it, I kind of wish there had been a me to sell me a wedding gown when I was searching… (Ha!)  Sounds strange, perhaps, but since I didn’t have my mom and sisters with me, a clone sounds oddly comforting. I’m sure I would have been gentle…

The second thing that made me embrace selling was watching people who were proud of their work as salespeople. I feel like there’s too little regard for good salesmanship in this world…which is a shame, because when you meet a good one, someone who actually enjoys what they’re doing and does it well, you really get it. And in bridal, salesmanship is also service at its finest. We don’t leave a bride to sift through and figure things out on her own, only reappearing when it’s time to cash out. We literally hold her hand, help her balance, zip her into the dress like a Lady-in-waiting, and give her comprehensive styling tips while fielding questions from MOB’s (Mother of the Bride),  MOG’s (Mother of the Groom, natch) and self-appointed bridal coordinators (you know the one–the bridesmaid that wasn’t designated Maid of Honor, but is determined to earn distinction through her extensive knowledge of weddings wrought from the innumerable times she’s been a bridesmaid?). We are temporarily part of the wedding party, and completely vested in the cause of finding you the gown. Emily is one of those salespeople who make all of this look easy. With the confidence of an uber-competent wedding planner, she touches on far-reaching aspects of the wedding while unearthing the look of your wedding dreams. Emily is matter-of-fact in what she puts out there to the bride, but the bride quickly realizes how right she is about everything, and wants to comply. If Emily says it’s a good look, it must be.

I’ve been working with Emily a long time, and perhaps by osmosis or that powerful tide that aligns our periods, (sorry, guys) we are eerily similar in the way we deal with some of the more challenging situations. And though our postmodern approach to selling bridal gowns while thwarting drama give a nice sense of consistency to the salon, we now know that our swanky Yankee establishment needed to get shaken up by a staight talkin’ Southern belle. And shake things up, she did….

Meet Lauren

Lauren isn’t sure of the precise moment she was crowned a Princess. Was it all those years ago, when, for her 16th birthday she insisted on getting her new car (a Mustang!) a day early, thus ruining the surprise that her parent’s had planned? (Surprise! You’re getting your car a day early, even though it’s Daddy’s birthday!)

Or was it not until she moved up North and had to deal with nervy New Yorkers and turbo-charge her moxie? Never mind the wardrobe tantrums during the filming of Amsale Girls… Either way, the crown fits! But lest you think that being a princess is all fluff, let me tell you why Lauren deserves the title. Because she’s not afraid to ask for what she deserves, and she’s not afraid to strive for what she wants. She is refreshingly honest, and doesn’t hide behind niceties, just to keep some small talk going. Yes she’s young and sweet, but she cannot be pushed around. When you ask Lauren a question, you will always get an honest answer. So don’t ask–does this make me look fat? Unless you want the truth!

Lauren loves beauty, luxury and decor. She has the vim and vigor you’d expect from a young, gorgeous Texan, but the music and style sensibilities of an old soul. She is so very specific in what she likes and will chase down the perfect _______ no matter what it takes. Her Christmas list will include color, make, and model of the item of choice and she really doesn’t have time for substitutes.

Lauren was spotted by Amsale reps when she was working at Mia Couture in TX. When she decided to make the move to NY, Lauren was quick to let Amsale & company know how eager she was to work at the Flagship salon. Lauren landed the job with her classic Lauren persistence and was up and running in no time. But crackerjack bridal consultant that she is, Lauren still experienced a rude awakening when she began dealing with the New York bride.

In NYC, a bride is aware of all of her choices and isn’t satisfied until she has sifted through most of them. Naturally, her bridal gown shopping becomes a much more drawn out affair. In the South, most brides embark upon their gown shopping day with a clear objective: to find a dress that day. With their mothers and key players in tow, by end of day the gown is decided upon, and wedding planning then moves to other areas that need attention, such as bridesmaids or invitations. Not so the New York bride. There’s a preliminary viewing to “see what’s out there”, a secondary viewing to compare it to other dresses that have been tried since then, and if you’re lucky, a 3rd appointment where Mom is finally brought in, and the gown is displayed for her approval and a decision is (hopefully) made. If you’re unlucky, or depending on the circumstance, there might be one or 2 more appointments to show the dress to other friends/relatives or to see a dress that wasn’t there at the first appointment. And since I’m just speaking for our salon… who knows how often the cycle gets repeated elsewhere? In other words–it’s not a shopping day, it’s a process. Interesting factoid with no scientific basis for you: Over 50% of the time, the first dress a bride tries on ends up being her favorite.

[How many places should a bride look? Do you think you were a good decision maker? Did you buy the first gown you tried?]

The honeymoon period for Lauren at Amsale came to a crashing end after a good run. Debbye knows that Lauren is not used to the way things are done at Amsale, and was able to overlook things in the first few months because of good sales and general charm. She also understood that Lauren was still getting used to NY and her new work environment. But… now she’s got her eye on her, and it’s not looking so good. Beyond selling gowns and maintaining correspondence with brides, there are many other things that need to get done at the salon. While it’s usually me that merchandises the store–partially because I love doing it, and partially because no one else wants to do it– it needs to be maintained by all of us. Veils, sashes, jewelry and all other accessories must get put back in the accessories closet or everyone will be hunting for them during their next appointment. I want to say that nothing drives me crazier than being in the throes of a good appointment, and not being able to locate that piece de resistance–the perfect veil. The back room is usually a bit of a disaster, but in some ways it can’t be helped. But Lauren isn’t going to touch that back room any time soon. Nor will she take it upon herself to maintain the salon in her downtime, though she can sometimes be cajoled into it. What comes naturally to Emily and I because the salon is our second home, are not things that Lauren generally thinks about. And unfortunately, it’s stuff like this that can hurt an otherwise decent review…

Still, at the end of the day, we are salespeople. What defines us is our ability to sell. The ability to sell the gown and the dream. Amsale knows that Lauren is an amazing salesperson, and isn’t worried about the other stuff. Wise in her ways, she knows that the other aspects of the job can be taught, but that salesmanship is something of a natural gift. It’s always nice when Amsale stops by, but especially nice for Lauren who was feeling a bit unappreciated…

According to wikipedia, the word Bridezilla is referred to as a neologistic portmanteau of bride and Godzilla and defined as a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride.

When you’ve worked in bridal as long as we have, you realize that a bride who pruriently refers to other brides as “bridezillas” should immediately raise a red flag. Why? Because oftentimes it’s that bride who becomes the Bridezilla. It’s human nature, I suppose, to take comfort in the fact that somewhere out there, there is always someone behaving worse than you are, even at your worst. This is not necessarily judgment–we’re all friends here–and just for the record, we understand “bridezilla” moments, we really do. Sometimes you just need them to push back some of the other forces fighting for your wedding day dominance or to relieve some of the pressure. But we all know that there is a big difference in standing up for what you want from your big day, and expecting a yearlong ego trip where you expect to get your way with everything just because you are a bride to be. In this line of work, we deal with both, and it’s tough when all of that angst gets unleashed upon us consultants, or the first face you see–like the concierge. We would like to think that whatever doesn’t make us crack, makes us stronger, but sometimes it takes a while to develop a thicker skin.

A relatively new phenomenon of this world has been the Groomzilla, and I’m sure you can guess what that is.

What you may not have seen so far, however, is the even newer Dadzilla. It’s the perfectionist dad who takes a bit of fashion information and really runs with it, for good or for bad. Most likely it is a symptom of our times, where terms like metrosexual and shows like Project Runway allow men to more fully participate in fashion, either from their couches or in a more hands-on way, like during their daughter’s bridal appointment.

Jennifer’s dad was a very smart, very involved father who really wanted to master the A to Z’s of bridal gowns. He didn’t hurt Jennifer’s bridal shopping experience, but it was interesting how much of the appointment was no longer about checking in with Jennifer and her feelings in the gowns, but about explaining and justifying certain design elements to her dad. In the end, I was very relieved that Mom, Dadzilla, and Jennifer were all in love with the Annalisa gown, because it was perfect for her.

Meet Kori

Kori came to Amsale after some years in the financial services world. Kori’s father was a business owner back in her hometown and somewhere in the back of her mind, Kori always planned on running her own business. After planning her own wedding in 2009, she realized how much she enjoyed all things bridal, especially the gowns. With a little networking, Kori found a way to meet Emily for coffee to talk about how to break into the world of bridal, the first step towards her vision of owning a bridal salon.

Soon after that, the concierge position opened up at the Amsale salon and Kori quickly saw an opportunity to get closer to her dream.

Her own love story was a long and less direct path. She met her husband, Brian, almost 10 years ago at a bar where they both worked–she as a bartender and he as a bouncer. They both found a connection quickly, but it took multiple cities, a few breakups, and a stint in the Peace Corps to find their way. And now, the boy and girl who grew up less than 100 miles from each other in Upstate New York are together, living in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Kori comes from Buffalo, New York. Oddly enough, I do too! We both wear our upstate New York colors with great pride, and bring a certain down to earth touch to our jobs. Working on Madison Avenue, we both understand and participate in the glamorous world before us but enjoy being real with the people we deal with. We also hold doors open for people.

Kori is always a sympathetic ear and a team player. She found a way to get her foot in the door at Amsale and rocks at her job as concierge. True, she is overqualified for that position, but Emily and I still rejoice in our luck in finding her as we’ve lived through the days when the salon was in lesser hands, and it wasn’t pretty. We also know that she has larger aspirations and that her current position is only a stepping stone to where she really wants to be. With that in mind, Kori has been shadowing us in our appointments to see how much she has learned and to see her aptitude for the position of bridal consultant.

Kori’s first attempt at bridal consulting was more of a true shadowing than anything. Watching Emily with Tara, she got a good sense of the basic rhythm of an appointment and got to see firsthand the magical moment when a bride decides to pull the trigger and get the gown–Tara was one of those rare brides that has “the moment” with a particular dress–in this case the gorgeous “Cagney” gown. As evinced by the simultaneous tearing up by both Kori and the bride when “the dress” was found, I think we can say that Kori got schooled in the emotional components of that moment as well.

“Prepare to Have your Mind Blown”

Kori’s second shadowing experience happened with Lauren, who promised her a mind-blowing experience. Even though Kori didn’t have to run the appointment, she already felt pretty nervous about the dynamics of this particular one. As neither the bridal consultant for this appointment, nor part of the bride’s entourage, Kori was appointed to be the runner for the accessories and gowns that Lauren used in the appointment, but was also targeted by the bride’s mom to give her opinion on each dress, a sticky situation for any consultant who has yet to master the delicate process of excavating the true desires of a bride for her wedding day. To give an honest or diplomatic answer? Difficult to say, especially when it’s hard to tell whether the bride and her mother are in sync or at odds with each other. Kori also didn’t want to say the wrong thing in case she destroyed Lauren’s credibility with the bride. All’s well that end’s well, however, as Asha found her dress that day. By the time Kori shadowed my appointment with Kristen, she had enough confidence in her general knowledge of the products to chime in with gown and accessory suggestions. Although Kristen did not find her dress with us, Kori got closer to deciphering bridespeak and how to translate it into a vision for the wedding day…

There was a “final exam” to this chapter of Kori’s education and it came from Debbye. Walking through the salon, Debbye asked some tough and tricky questions about fabric, shape, drape, and a myriad other dress details. Kori’s final thoughts on bridal consulting? “Not an easy job at all.”

Debbye Does Dating

Debbye has been single for a little while now. We think she needed to take a break after her last beau, but now she’s ready to cougar it up– uh, I mean date. Being the vivacious single mom who is not necessarily looking for marriage makes for intriguing Match.com profile possibilities. Debbye really is a bundle of unexpected fun. A lovely Englishwoman of Caribbean descent, her catch phrase is “honestleeey,” delivered in a mostly proper British accent. She has the demeanor and sense of humor of a teenager and is yet the mother of a very mature 12 year old. We say cougar, but the fact is, younger men would suit her better than stodgy old gents.

Regardless of age, though, Debbye does not seem to meet men easily. It took the Amsale girls about 15 minutes at a bar with her to understand why. The outrageous and almost overly friendly Debbye Walker has an alter ego that only comes out when attractive men are lurking about. Her name is Shylo, with an emphasis on the shy. Terribly shy and socially awkward, Shylo is basically a 16 year old Debbye Walker still in her prim all-girl-school uniform and few opportunities to socialize with boys. For reasons unknown to us, Shylo emerges when there are eligible single men about and manifests herself in the shy glances and awkward body language toward the man of interest. The shy glances continue indefinitely but unfortunately don’t progress to crossing the room and starting conversations. It’s the sweetest thing, but it’s not helping her land a man, so the Amsale Girls are trying to help.

Strategy 1–letting her know when she’s acting this way. Strategy 2– distracting her into paying attention to us, so she stops acting like a weirdo. Strategy 3– There is none, because at the end of the day, it’s Debbye that needs to make the connection. Sigh. Enter Match.com. Now anyone familiar with online dating knows that, just like a healthy resume, one needs to accentuate the positive and pretty much ignore the negative.

We were all intrigued by this Debbye Walker from Match.com. She hikes? Plays tennis? “Well I will someday!”

protests our Debbye. Rather than a “Mum” I think we all feel more like she’s our “Sis” in personal matters. She’s only all business when it comes to reviews and training, as Kori and Lauren find out. All gentle mocking aside, we really just want her to have a profile that makes the men come running! Even though her first attempt at getting back into dating didn’t exactly pan out, she’s got us to cheer her on. Go Debbye!

You can’t please everybody all of the time. There’s nothing worse than a demoralizing appointment in the midst of a sales slump. It already feels like you may have forgotten how to sell, how to make your brides bloom before you, how to find the right dress; in other words — how to do your job. We all have different personalities here and so do our brides, and it’s amazing when you and the bride you’ve been paired with gel in a way that feels like you could be friends in the world outside of the salon…

What happens sometimes is the opposite of that, where all of your good intentions backfire and you somehow exit the appointment feeling, at best, misunderstood and ineffectual, at worst, frustrated and disliked. We all want to feel like we rock at our jobs, but sometimes things happen during the appointment which are just out of our control.

Take Emily’s appointment with X. It turns out that the bride came to that salon thinking that she could get a custom dress for $5K — a little unrealistic in NYC, unfortunately. The fact is, each dress is specifically made just for you when you order it, so in a way it’s a custom made and not mass-produced gown. And further customization comes when we fit and style the gown for you — we try to bring out each bride’s unique way of wearing the dress. We are not, however, a chop shop and bridal shopping for the most part works better when you are prepared to like what you see. It’s not a mix and match of tops and bottoms, of beading here, and detail there.

Most designers have systems in place to protect the integrity of their designs, and if you are interested in a full custom look, you should always ask the salon about it, as different designers treat this area differently. Of course, the flip side to this notion of is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater: Don’t reject a dress simply because of one detail, such as a bow or a flower, especially before you’ve even tried it on. That goes for the fit in a specific area, the placement of one specific detail, and too much or too little volume — if one of these issues is the only thing in the way of you and that dream dress, then by all means, let’s see what we can do about it! Of course, this is why rapport is so important, and sometimes there’s just no chance to establish it. But back to the appointment…

Because Emily was trying to keep the bride within her target budget and not entertaining proposed changes to the dress which couldn’t be made, the bride felt like she was being blocked from finding her dream dress combo. And once the appointment slid into that direction, it quickly went into a free fall of misunderstanding. Once Emily figured out that what the bride wanted was more than the allotted budget, she hunted high and low to find the best dresses within these constraints. Making matters worse, however, was the bride’s opinionated entourage. Rather than waiting for the bride to give her own impressions first, they quickly picked apart all of the dresses with mostly negative feedback. No matter what the bride liked when she was in the room with Emily it was inevitably hacked apart by the peanut gallery. And shooting down Emily’s selections and insisting that the bride try on a number of over-budget gowns of their choosing ended in a lose-lose situation for all.

Moral of the story? Brides should be wary of bringing people to their appointment that don’t let them have an opinion first.

Emily and I joke that she was “raised” at Amsale. As her first bona fide job out of college,  she has worked in almost every bridal position in the company. And as much as I have come to understand the Amsale brand and muse about her design inspirations, Emily’s vault of knowledge blows us all away… Emily does not just guess at what Amsale may or may not like — she knows it. I suppose that’s what happens when you grow up with the company.

In some ways, Amsale and her husband Neil have been Emily’s New York parents. And as you know with most parent/child relationships, there’s the good — you know they care about you and value your contributions, and there’s the bad — they can have crazy high expectations of you and rely on you beyond your role in the “family.” Naturally, whenever there is a question about whether Amsale will approve of something, we refer to Emily. And luckily, Emily is also a master diplomat with the ability to sell a difficult concept with the biggest of smiles.

When there is friction at the salon, Emily takes the high road and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. Or she takes the road of gently mocking anything and everything around her.  Have I mentioned that this is another one of her talents? So, while Emily’s solid Midwestern values serve her well in the tough situations that the New York bridal world can throw at you, oftentimes it’s the dry humor that gets her (and us) through.

Now Emily, quite newly married, is already looking for a new challenge. And always the overachiever, she chooses something the opposite of easy like the New York Marathon! Training 6 days a week to increase her endurance and performance Emily really is doing it all — except selling, that is, which really sticks in her craw! Call it the post-honeymoon malaise, but the brides she’s working with are just not biting. Is her head still in the clouds? Has she lost her edge? Is the marathon training making her lose her sales focus? Either way, it’s serious, and she’s having none of it! I’m trying not to tease her too much about it, since Debbye, our Queen Mum, is ragging on her enough for the both of us. There’s a lot of pressure right now, and as our manager, I suppose she has to keep us in check. She usually does this through gentle teasing, but may have gone a bit too far when she referred to Emily as “dead weight.”  Lauren and I found it funny enough to refer to her as “Dead Weight” for about a week, but — hello — since she’s up at 6a.m. running every morning we can’t exactly mock her.

And the thing about a sales slump is that they don’t really happen because you’re not trying. Sometimes you just get the wrong brides for our dresses, or you get the right brides at the wrong time. Many of them will decide that you found them “the dress” but it might be two months later than you were hoping.

I’m not sure what to think about a workplace where five out of six employees are the same astrological sign. So, I’m not sure what you all will think of the fact that Kori, Samantha, Emily, Lauren and I are all Virgos.

Fun fact, yes, but cosmically significant? Maybe. We get along way too well than is natural in such intimate quarters. Is there something about the bridal world that attracts Virgos? And though we are all Virgos, it seems like we each express our sign a bit differently.  Either way, it works!

Take  Emily.  She likes things just so, and is quite fastidious. I thought she was a bit cold at first, and then I learned that she is colder still… just kidding! She wants people to think she is, as she keeps her feelings close to the vest. Samantha is modest and likes organization. She’s very responsible, though she does have a wild and dreamy side. I am a ruminator and a diplomat who keeps calm with the big stuff but loses her cool with the little stuff. Lauren is very measured about her clothing purchases and her decor, but not with her opinions and feelings!

Kori is a classic Virgo in her work life — detail oriented, organized, and utterly dependable–but in her emotional life she wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s a fun mix. And it’s topped by one rambunctious Capricorn — you guessed it — Debbye.

Being the junior Virgo and our most recent addition, we’ve decided to let Lauren have birthday dominance this year. Being so new to the city, Lauren hasn’t really struck her NYC groove yet. Living in Hell’s kitchen, she’s so far been sticking to our work nabe and the Columbus Circle area. Not tonight, though. We are whisking her away to the wild wild west (or shall I say East?) of Williamsburg for some down home fun! And what better way to make our little Texan feel at home than to take her bull riding at Viva Toro! Between the lovely cocktails and the charming western ambiance, I think it was a good choice.

As expected, Lauren really knows how to ride the bull! She looked righteous in the cowboy hat and had her arm up in perfect formation and held on for a pretty respectable amount of time. I wasn’t too shabby either, if I say so myself, although Sam had to cajole me into it. Debbye started squealing before ever getting on, and had a rather comical dismount. All in all, I think we gave our spectators a good time and it made for a memorable birthday for all.

Welcome to the blog page for the new show on WE tv, Amsale Girls.  I’ll be your voice of reason reporting from NYC as we weave through the events of our last bridal season.

My name is Linda Leising, senior bridal consultant from Amsale’s Flagship salon in New York City. I’m on the quieter side, but I see and hear a lot and would love to share my thoughts on what’s happening at the Amsale Salon.

625 Madison Ave

On Madison Ave, in midtown Manhattan, quietly sits the flagship of Amsale’s couture bridal empire. Hand built by her relentless pursuit of perfection, the salon reflects her modernist spirit and chic persona in all of its details.

Brides who enter our doors continually express delight over the surprise oasis of beauty tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the streets below. We let the light shine into our salon and over our dresses, because we know that our stylings will look gorgeous in any light.

What you may not know, dear reader, is that the salon truly is Amsale through and through. Her own apartment reflects similar design themes:

Clean forms with contrasting neutrals, appreciation of lines, and mutability of structure. While the salon was designed to beautifully display wedding gowns, it was also designed to double as a gathering space. The Amsale girls have hosted many a themed soiree replete with ambient light, good music, cocktails, and many a dress in sight! All in all, Amsale’s gorgeous West Side apartment has the ability to transform from luxurious dwelling into a party space where we look forward to celebrating our company’s next success. We hope to see you at our next event.

As you can imagine, working for a designer like Amsale will permanently etch a strong aesthetic into your brain. Even as she evolves and changes as a designer, her vision remains clear and true. I’ve been a part of her constellation of devotees for four years now — I’ve drank the Kool Aid and I am ready to share it with my brides and anyone else who will listen. I fall in love with dresses all the time. Sometimes because they’re just, well — pretty. But sometimes, let’s say in the middle of an appointment, I can get struck by her sense of proportion and detail in a way that kind of blows my mind. It could be that I finally get a bride that shows the dress off in the way that I think Amsale intended, or it could just be me noticing something I never noticed before. I find in her dresses something akin to the beauty one finds in nature — not too much, not too little. A sense of perfect proportion, daringly imagined.

It’s not easy to reinvent the wheel, season after season, but this is just what Amsale does, and to her own self, she is always true…

My name is Nikita Wallin, I’m 24 years old and work in PR for a luxury lifestyle website. I have been dating my fiance for 6 years so I have been thinking about my wedding for a while. There are just so many dresses so it is difficult to choose one – committing to one dress when there are so many beautiful ones is difficult to do especially so far in advance of my wedding – I was always afraid I wouldn’t love it as much months later.  I tried on probably around 50 dresses – I went to around 10 different appointments. Trying on all the dresses started out being so much fun but after a while I was happy to have found my dress.

I knew it was the one because I didn’t want to take it off.

I always knew I wanted an ivory dress -really white dresses just tend to look a little cheap to me or too traditional. I love the vintage look the ivory adds. I was between a very body conscience fit or a ball gown with a modern feel. I love Amsale and Monique Lhuillier. The budget was not so defined – I knew whatever I fell in loved with I would make it work.

Amsale is known for its beautiful and modern dresses – they mix traditional and new so well. The staff was amazing. Once Emily let my mother lay out a picnic in the middle of the boutique I knew she was going to be more then accommodating! I don’t think I am a bridezilla. Some may think I am, but that is just because I pretty much know what I want.

The appointment was a party, literally. I had my mother, all three of my sisters, and two of my best friends.

My wedding is going to be in Miami at a historic Spanish monastery – it will take place is an outside garden and then the reception is in an outside courtyard. It is everything I have ever dreamed of. I am going to have candles everywhere and with that lighting  everyone will look 20% better!

Bridesmaids dresses have been the most difficult part of planning considering the fact that I have nine bridesmaids and a junior bridesmaid – once you pop the fun don’t stop. I at first wanted them all to have their own individual dresses but that became a huge headache so I divided them all into 2 different dresses and my maid of honor has a different one as well. I have learned from this experience that there are minimal options for bridesmaids dresses – it’s like there are purposely trying to make everyone in the wedding party look horrible.

The staff at Amsale was amazing – there were so comforting and really understood the vision I had for my wedding dress. Emily helped me find my dress while at the same time dealing with my mother’s requests – including trying on a 50 pound bedazzled dress (Emily had to crawl into the store window and disassemble a mannequin).

It was a fun and exciting experience – also a little weird because of the cameras, but after a while I forgot they were there.

Expect the unexpected – this isn’t your usual emotional wedding shopping experience. We tend to just have fun and we definitely did during the appointment. It’s all a little blurry but I do recall a full bar, dancing feet and huge bedazzled dresses being forced on me.