Seam your dream

Vandegrift alumna holds job at Kleinfeld Bridal


Submitted by Kelsey Zaroff

Photo taken from “Say Yes to the Dress” season 19, episode 4.

By Kate Denning, Vandegrift High School

As a child, Vandegrift alumna Kelsey Zaroff spent many hours crouched in front of the TV screen, watching white dresses swirl around, black-clothed consultants trying to get every detail perfect, and brides smiling in their dream dresses in front of her eyes, hoping and wishing to one day be part of it all.

As an adult, Zaroff has a full-time job at one of New York City’s most prominent bridal stores: Kleinfeld Bridal. Starting as an intern, Zaroff is now a bridal consultant and appears on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, helping many brides from across the world find their dream wedding dress.

“I grew up watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and I remember one day being like, ‘I wanna be on that show!’ and watching Diane when I was in middle school,” Zaroff said. “And I was on an episode with her and she’s become one of my closest friends at work.”

Zaroff’s high school days were spent on the cheer team and taking art and graphic design classes. She remembers her time at Vandegrift as being fun, but she knew that there would be so many more “adventures” after her graduation in 2014.

“I would say that high school wasn’t awful, but I feel like I was always too scared or shy to go out of my comfort zone or go out of my box,” Zaroff said. “I look back and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I thought I had fun, but it wasn’t until I was in college and past college that I was like okay that is where I made my true friends and learned so much.”

In between those college adventures, Zaroff was studying business marketing and art history. She had always loved art, but didn’t want something that was fully creative, so she thought that marketing would be the perfect match for her. It wasn’t.

“I’d always wanted to live in New York. I just thought it’d be a fun city and it has so many more creative opportunities, so I actually came up to New York and I interviewed at an ad agency,” Zaroff said. “And I thought I would be like Mad Men making graphic designs and photo covers and all this stuff and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.”

So with the help of her friend who was an intern at Kleinfeld and her professor who knew one of the directors at the store, Zaroff was able to schedule an interview at the bridal store and landed the internship shortly after. Now, Zaroff works with five brides a day, matching them with their perfect dresses.

“It’s so funny because you hear a lot in college that what your job might be in the future might not be anything to do with your major,” Zaroff said. “I knew nothing about dresses and what happens, and so you learn it all as you go. As an intern, I learned everything.”

Within those five different brides that come in for appointments daily, Zaroff gets a mix of all types of personalities. Some, she said, have been dreaming their whole lives of their wedding days, and some have never even envisioned it. 

“Every person is so different personality-wise and so for me, I feel like what I love the most about my job is being able to be a little different with each bride,” Zaroff said. “Some girls just want me to tell them my expertise dress shopping and what I think will look good on them, and some girls really want someone to be their friend. I usually leave every night emotionally exhausted because I get so invested into each appointment.”

According to Zaroff, her job at Kleinfeld, while combining her talent for working with people and her childhood dream, has also given her a rewarding life purpose.

“It’s so rewarding to see [the bride] when the dress actually fits and comes in new and is in their size and is all bright,” Zaroff said. “And so there are so many different moments from meeting the bride to seeing photos after the wedding, but it’s a super rewarding career.”

From watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ as a middle schooler to now being on the show as a consultant, Zaroff has proven that one of the most important things in life is discovering and following your dreams.

“I would say that if there’s something you want in your future, you just have to go after it and not let anyone intimidate you,” Zaroff said. “There are so many more fun things to look forward to, I promise.”

This story was originally published on Vandegrift Voice on October 30, 2020.