Ever since we got engaged, I've been trying to soak up the entire wedding and bridal experience. That's part of the reason we decided to have a long engagement - to slow down and enjoy every aspect of the planning process and truly enjoy being engaged before a lifetime of marriage.
I've had my heart set on a NYC wedding dress shopping weekend for a long time and I can't believe it's already come and gone. While there are some truly incredible local boutiques, I knew I wanted the weekend experience with my girls in NYC and the ability to try on a wide variety of dresses to really get a feel for what I liked. I went into the weekend with no intentions to buy (which helped ease the pressure) but to simply enjoy the experience and a weekend with my closest girls.
*Note: all images in this post are iPhone photos. When traveling I'm terrible about bringing my camera along - I know, I know I'm a photographer. But this photographer was off duty this trip.*
Who to bring?
A lot of boutiques limit the number of guests you can bring with you, and for good reason. The experience in itself is overwhelming. You want to make sure you have support and opinions of a few, but not too many. That's why I opted to invite my mom, grandmother, and two maid of honors. I hope to include my other bridesmaids and family members in future appointments and fittings.
Planning the Weekend
Planning the entire weekend took a lot of research. I've visited the city before and spent half of the vacation researching restaurants and places to go nearby. I knew that I didn't want to do that this trip. I wanted to take advantage of our short time in the city. So I embraced my type A personality and made us an itinerary. You can make fun of me all you want but this was SO helpful and took so much stress off during the actual trip.
Lastly, I wanted my girls to be able to try stuff on too while we were already in town. I'm obsessed with BHLDN's bridesmaid dresses so I wanted to visit there - I was told their NYC Upper East Side location had the most selection. I was sadly disappointed. They had little color and style options. It really was a waste of time. However, our consultant was lovely and the experience was out of her control. She definetly did the best she could. If you are in the city and looking to try on bridesmaid dresses I would suggest looking elsewhere.
In happier news, we ran into Amy Schumer outside of the Anthropologie - BHLDN so I guess the trip was a total waste :)
Food, drinks, and more food. Here is our full itinerary for the weekend. I worked really hard on planning an itinerary of food, shopping, etc. all around the bridal shops and hotel so that we could really enjoy the full four days there.
Arrive at JFK
(we got an uber for convenience but I believe there is public transportation from the airport into the city as well)
Can I first start by saying, why doesn't Portland, Maine have a blow dry bar?! Ah, one of my favorite things when visiting a city. Sip on champagne, enjoy a head massage, and come out with fresh blown out hair. Yes, it's worth it.
When I stumbled upon this gem, I knew I had to visit! The inside is just so gorgeous. And the food & drinks were delicious. It is tiny inside, so make sure to make a reservation. We just grabbed a cocktail and some snacks to share.
Light Breakfast at the hotel
I had an early appointment and didn't want to eat too much before, so we opted for an easy breakfast. There was also a Juice Shop walking distance that I had on the itinerary just in case.
I don't know about you, but when I'm traveling I don't always eat the best and can feel kind of blah from being out of my normal routine. I loved adding a workout into our schedule to cleanse ourselves and kickstart the rest of the weekend. Plus I love trying new studios! This candlelit yoga to loud hip hop music was such a fun experience. Just a note for next time is to avoid drinking before and hydrate plenty. I spent a lot of time in child's pose.
This came highly recommended from one of my client's, Bethany & Her Boys, when I was visiting NYC the winter of 2016. It was a favorite during that trip so we decided to go back. This is definetly a splurge and a fancy restaurant. But their BREAD. YUM.
The perfect end to our weekend getaway - a sailboat cruise around the harbor with endless mimosas and yummy brunch. The entire weekend was 90 degrees in NYC but this last day it was a little chilly. But the boat had blankets (score!)
Side Note: If you get sea sick or have motion sickness, this might not be for you. The boat is small and the water can be rocky.
If you're thinking about NYC for wedding dress shopping or just a girls weekend - DO IT. It's such a cheap and quick flight from Portland. Although I didn't 'Say Yes' to the dress, it was an incredible experience filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
I hope this is helpful to anyone looking to make the most of a few short days in the city with their girlfriends. I highly recommend planning in advance so you can truly enjoy the city.
I can't wait until next time.
Other favorites we didn't get to:
Columbus Circle Station - go for the Chicken & Waffles