The daughter of a dress manufacturer, Debbie Asprea is a longtime bridal consultant at Kleinfeld Bridal, the premier bridal salon featured on the original New York edition of TLC’s reality series “Say Yes to the Dress,” airing Fridays.
On a busy December day, Asprea takes a few minutes to talk about her life in lace and satin.
“You have to be a very good listener,” she tells Zap2it of the traits a good consultant needs, “because sometimes the bride doesn’t always say what she feels or means, so you have to listen a little bit behind that.
“You also have to have a lot of patience. The bride has to know that you’re there for her, and you’re going to try to make her happy. As long as we have open communication, and she feels like I’m actually her friend … because I am the middle person between her and the dress.”
Many brides arrive at a salon to find most of the dresses are sleeveless. While that’s not a problem for everyone, it can cause moments of insecurity.
“I personally love sleeves,” Asprea says. “It’s very classic. Maybe it’s because I’m married over 30 years; I wore sleeves when I got married. That royal wedding probably brought all that back a little bit more.
“Those sheer sleeves are beautiful. They’re a little sexy, but they’re very elegant. But a lot of brides, for whatever reason, want to look very sexy on their wedding day.”
She’s referring to the dress Kate Middleton wore when she married Britain’s Prince William — an ivory satin gown with a long train and a sheer lace yoke and sleeves. On the other hand, there was her sister, Pippa, who wore a form-fitting, cowl-necked ivory sheath.
“I got married many years ago,” Asprea says, “and my dress was Pippa style. But I think Kate has more of an influence on brides today. They want a very classic wedding dress, and very few brides can actually wear the style that Pippa wore. That is an unforgiving dress.”
But, Asprea has yet to pick out a wedding dress for one of her own daughters.
She quips, “I think they’re going to wait for me to retire.”