accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

‘Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta’ debuts tonight on TLC at 9:30 p.m.

Bridals By Lori owner Lori Allen talks with employee Tiffany Eubanks and her fiance Jonathan Peek at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy's downtown. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Bridals By Lori owner Lori Allen talks with employee Tiffany Eubanks and her fiance Jonathan Peek at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy's downtown. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The new TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” held a rollicking party Thursday night at 200 Peachtree, the new catering space in the old Macy’s downtown.

The gathering, whose cost is split among TLC, Brides Atlanta, and Bridals By Lori, celebrated the show’s debut tonight at 9:30 p.m. It drew more than 900 people, a range of friends and family, customers and vendors. There was a separate room so folks could watch the show, which aired every 30 minutes.

The first episode’s emotional highlight came when one of the brides said she knew her recently deceased grandfather would have loved the dress she picked.

Photographer Christy Rhea of Digital Memories by Christy from Newnan wiped away tears from her face moments after one screening ended. “I cried when she mentioned her grandmother,” she said. “But I cry over anything.”

A group of women overheard her say that and one said, “We’ve all been crying too!”

Bridals by Lori fashion designer Monte Durham is flanked by family friends Ashley and Bayard Crawley

Bridals by Lori fashion designer Monte Durham is flanked by family friends Ashley and Bayard Crawley

I caught Anthony Williams, the recent “Project Runway’ contestant right before he left. Ironically, the new season of “Project Runway” was on at the time. Here he is with cake designer and “Runway” fan Anna Harkness, of Sweet Sensations.

Anthony-Wililams-Anna-Harkness

And models Bonnie Adams (wearing Waters & Waters) and Kasey Geoghagan (Lazaro) don wedding dresses for the occasion albeit neither are married.

Bonnie-Adams-Kasey-Geoghagan

The show taped more than 90 couples, of which only about 24 will make it on air, Allen said in an interview last week. About a dozen weddings will be shown, too. “They traveled everywhere,” Allen said. “The Bahamas. Charleston. Savannah.”

Allen opened Bridals by Lori in a 1,000-square foot space in 1980. She moved to a 3,500 square foot space, then 7,500 square feet. A decade ago, she moved to her current spot, with 25,000 square feet off Hammond Drive and Roswell Road. Her staff talks to 10,000 brides a year (though not all of them ultimately purchase dresses from Bridals by Lori.)

“I really have a passion for what I do,” Allen said. “I don’t think a lot of people after 30 years can say they love what they do. I really do. I really enjoy waiting on brides trying to help them find the dress of their dreams.”

She has a knack for grappling with the stresses of the brides. “Call me Dr. Allen,” she joked. “There’s crying in here every day. Sometimes it’s stress. Sometimes it’s happy tears when they find the right dress. There are boxes of tissue everywhere. We have a big budget for that.”

The show captures that moment when a bride finds that dress.

Her store is high end but has more than 1,000 dresses to choose from. People frequently spend $5,000 to $15,000 for the dress and accessories. Most come in with a budget. About half break that budget, she said.

Her show is different than the original “Say Yes to the Dress” since it has a Southern feel. This means, she said, tradition is much more important. Family members carry a lot of sway, especially moms and grandmothers. You’ll see that in tonight’s episode in spades.

“A lot of brides have been dreaming about this since they were five,” Allen said. “They bought wedding books when they were 15. That’s a girl in the South.” They come in educated about what they want. “99 percent of the time I’ll have what they want or close to it,” she noted. “Else, we can do a custom job.”

North South Productions spent three weeks re-fitting her store to accommodate the cameras. One major difference: hundreds of extra lights. They also commandeered a room for interviews. But otherwise, Allen said the impact on her and her staff was minimal. This is not a show which requires frequent “retakes” like “The Hills” or “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” It’s much more cinema verite.

If a customer does not want to be filmed, the camera folks can easily avoid them in such a big store. But most people were fine with it, she said.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

19 comments Add your comment

William Melvin Hicks

July 30th, 2010
1:42 pm

900 people to celebrate a show about dresses? Is it any wonder the rest of the world hates the US?

Can you at least acknowledge just a little bit this is messed up?

Fireworks on the Third of July

July 30th, 2010
3:07 pm

Say no to the show.

Michael

July 30th, 2010
3:28 pm

I’m distracted by Durham’s forehead. Is that one piece of plastic surgery or enough botox to poison a cafeteria?

Kar

July 30th, 2010
4:11 pm

I don’t get dresses like the one to the right in the last pic. As my father would say, “it looks like it’s molting,”

TAR Fan

July 30th, 2010
5:18 pm

IT was a kicking party! Don’t forget Brides.com who coordinated over 25 local vendors to BLOW IT OUT! Seriously, look at the CAKE that is in the photo of the girl from Sweet Sensations.It is a replica of the dress located right behind them and it took them over 30 hours to build it! WOW! From caterers to music to linens to floral, last nights event was an awesome opportunity to show off how amazing our wedding vendor professionals are here in Atlanta. And 200 Peachtree? Now THAT is one gorgeous venue!!!!

jami owen

July 30th, 2010
9:18 pm

So what are you doing on this site????? Get off for those of us who love it.

Pat Rose

July 30th, 2010
10:04 pm

Where did Melissa get married in Savannah on the preview episode tonight?

buisnesss guy

August 1st, 2010
2:02 am

where are the pics of that hot blonde who was in this fluffy little number bouncing arround?? Who was she and was she Lori’s daughter??? She was smokin in that dress and they should show more of her on the show!!!!

The Thing

August 1st, 2010
8:59 pm

So, jami, what do you look like?? If you’re hot, maybe you can come over & help me “get off”! I may even let you slap me around a little….but ONLY if you’re hot!

ET

August 2nd, 2010
3:54 pm

loved the show and love the Monte!!! He is the best and I heard this weeks show at 8CDT and 9edt is even better!

PH

August 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Monte! YOU ROCK. Enjoyed the show, can’t wait for the next. PS. your hair looks fabulous……MUWAH!!!!

observor

August 3rd, 2010
2:51 pm

OMG!!!!!

SAY YES TO THE DRESS IS FINALLY ON!!!! YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW EVER DONE AND THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN PERIOD!!!!! WE CAN’T POSSIBLY EVER GET ENOUGH WEDDING SHOWS!!!! I WISH EVERY SHOW WAS ABOUT WEDDINGS AND DRESSES!!!!

YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria

August 4th, 2010
12:02 pm

Say NO to the dress!! The Atlanta version was a terrible idea. It’s like watching a bad movie squeal that should have never been made. Dear TLC, please stick to the original magic and one and only Kleinfeld. Monte looks fake and I cannot stand the southern twang. Randy and the NY cast are the best.

Odessa

August 4th, 2010
4:52 pm

Maria – Atlanta is amazing, therefore it was a great idea. Although, it is a matter of opinion. I happen to think northern accents and attitudes are extremely annoying.

Alamama

August 4th, 2010
11:13 pm

Maria – You seem a little bigoted. Don’t watch it if you don’t like it. Some folks aren’t used to the extra dramatic flair a lot of southerners have. I used to believe all northerners were rude and obnoxious (like you’re acting). Then I actually went to New York City three years ago and found everyone amazingly kind and friendly, totally opposite what I had expected. I’ve made a point of telling all my southern friends and family about the wonderful experience we had there. I can’t wait to go back. Randy at Kleinfeld would be a great southern gentleman. He’s just so nice! Audrey, Keasha, and Sarah are also very helpful and attentive. My point is, just take your hatefulness elsewhere.

rhetotica

August 6th, 2010
10:22 pm

Good show; very similar to the original show. By the way, we “Northerners” have traditions too much like yours.

annie

August 6th, 2010
10:30 pm

Marie, l agree. The show has so many Southern stereotypes l’m offended by it!

Winnie

September 2nd, 2010
11:34 am

How wonderful to have Monte Durham doing what he does best and having
fun. Atlanta and Lori are lucky to have Monte!!! Enjoying the show as much as NY.

manon tremblay from quebec

September 8th, 2010
8:51 am

Personnely I do not like that show.I find them rude and sometimes impolite.They’re just trying to sell you a dress,there’s no warmth.I will wait for the real “Say yes to the dress” show to come back so I can enjoy it.NY is the best with Keasha, Randy and Sara.