Reality Check: 'Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta'

10:25 AM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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Lori Allen and Monte Durham are the stars of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta."

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- The fifth season of "Say Yes To the Dress: Atlanta" is set to debut in early March on TLC.

"How has this show changed your lives and your business?" 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie asked the stars of the reality show.

"Oh, my gosh, it's been a godsend for us," Lori Allen said.

Allen and Monte Durham have been best friends for years. It's their chemistry that's made the show a hit.

"The way we act and interact with customers is no different than if you would come in here on a Saturday," Allen said.

"We cut up. We have a good time. We want the bride to have fun," Durham added. "Really, this is a very joyous occasion, and we're so honored to be sharing in it."

The brides on the show have to apply online, then go through casting. But they're real brides who don't get compensated, and they're not obligated to buy a dress.

"Median price range on a bridal gown here is $4,000," Allen said. "We do get in brides that want to spend less, but we start at $2,000 and go up."

"What's up?" Leslie asked.

"Up," Allen replied.

"I think we currently have a dress on the floor for $18,000," Durham added.

Bridals by Lori in Sandy Springs is the setting for the show. Allen is the owner. She carries more than 1,000 couture gowns.

There are 21 dressing rooms in the bridal department upstairs. Number a10 is the one you see on the show.

"And look how cute this is," Durham said as he pointed to a photo in the dressing room during a behind-the-scenes tour. "This is Lori on her wedding day."

Allen was married in 1979 in a dress she still loves. She's been in the business for 32 years.

"Are you surprised by anything you hear from a bride or a mom?" Leslie asked.

"Every day," Allen said.

"Oh, my gosh," Durham added. "Some of the things we hear that y'all may not hear."

The show has made Bridals by Lori a tourist destination, with fans coming from across the country.

"There's a line usually on Saturday," Durham said. "It's amazing to us."

Durham is based in Virginia, but he flies in for filming every week to serve as the show's fashion director.

"The Bridesmaids show films Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then the bridal show films Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays," Allen said.

TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids" is also filmed at Bridals by Lori.

"Bridesmaids have become very opinionated," Durham said. "In our day, it was an honor to be asked to be in a wedding."

"You wore this, and you paid up and shut up," Allen added, pointing do a bridesmaid gown on the shop's first floor.

Saturdays are for regular appointments only, and there is a waiting list.

During most other days, two brides come in to tape the show and others come in to shop.

"It is hard for these girls to make a decision, but somehow 99 percent of the time they do it," Allen said.

"We have a good batting average," Durham added. "We know what we're doing."

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