Blair and Jason Manus are starring in an episode of TLC’s 14th season of Say Yes to the Dress and are featured in a new show joining the network, Say Yes to the Address, which — judging by the name alone — is like a TLC-infused House Hunters.
After she slipped it on and it fit just right, Blair Manus finally said “yes.”
Yes to the dress, that is.
Of course, she also recently tied the knot, but her heart said “yes” a long time ago to her now-husband, Jason.
The two are starring in an episode of TLC’s 14th season of Say Yes to the Dress, airing on March 25, and are featured in a new show joining the network, Say Yes to the Address, which — judging by the name alone — is like a TLC-infused House Hunters.
“I’m a huge fan of Say Yes to the Dress and just TLC in general,” Blair said. “I’m always watching TLC in my spare time.”
Say Yes to the Dress films women while they embark on one of the most daunting and important tasks: wedding dress shopping. But at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan, they’re not looking for any ordinary dress.
These designer gowns — tulle Alita Grahams, lacey, bareback Lazaros, diamond-encrusted Pnina Tornais — are sprawled across the store and generously accompanied by charismatic employees.
Blair applied for her dress decision-making to be recorded, and TLC chose to film her first and second fittings, another crucial step in the sometimes-overwhelming process.
For her first fitting, Blair’s mother, Nancy, grandmother, Mona, and matron of honor, Marla, tagged along, and her fashion-savvy friend Erica joined for the second round of stitchings.
The fitting was the first time her grandmother saw the dress, and Blair said she was pleasantly surprised.
“Both of them” — her mother and grandmother — “were really nervous. The way I dress is pretty sexy, and I have one of those typical Jewish mothers and typical Jewish grandmothers who’s always like, ‘Can you cover up? Why do your boobs always have to be out?’” Blair joked.
“But the reactions that I got from everybody that I brought to my fitting was literally, ‘This dress was made for you.’ ”
And it really was. Blair chose a Pnina Tornai gown that Israeli designer Tornai herself actually customized for her after meeting at Kleinfeld.
The silky white fabric forms a tight bodice with subtle lace detailing and straps and a sexy see-through button-up back, accompanied by a modestly bedazzled veil.
“My favorite part of the experience was just the attention that you get when you shop at Kleinfeld,” Blair said. “Everybody treats you like it’s the best day of your life. Everybody was very caring as far as how my dress fit, and if it wasn’t perfect, they were actually more of a perfectionist than I was.”
Blair, who grew up in Lafayette Hill, and Jason, a Bucks County native, were married on Nov. 21, 2015 at the Sofitel in Center City.
The two go way back, but Jason doesn’t exactly remember it that way.
In the small Jewish community within Philadelphia, Blair, who at the time was Blair Aaron, said, “everybody knows everybody.”
She went to a bar one night — Opa in Center City — and, by the luck of Jewish geography, ran into two friends from summer camp, along with Jason.
“I noticed her as soon as she came into the bar,” Jason admitted, “but I would have never said anything, I was too nervous to talk to her.”
“She actually approached me,” he recounted of their meet-cute. “I had no idea who she was. I’d never seen her a day before in my life. But I kind of just went with it.”
But Blair knew him. She remembered seeing him around town and down the shore for the past decade.
“I said, ‘I’ve seen you around for about 10 years, I guess it’s time we finally had a conversation,’ ” Blair recalled. “Jason claims he’s never seen me a day in his life, but he acted like an Academy Award-winning actor and was like, ‘Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, have a seat.’ And we ended up talking for an hour, and immediately, we both knew that was it for us.”
(Surprisingly — maybe Blair forgot this part — Jason said she turned him down the first time.)
That was almost four years ago.
Maybe she turned him down the first time because she couldn’t believe her prayers had been answered — literally.
Three weeks prior, she was driving around town for work and randomly stopped in a cash-for-gold store because she heard the owner was an Israeli Jew. Out of curiosity, they struck up a casual conversation.
From one Jew to another, the saleswoman asked Blair what she had planned for the upcoming High Holidays.
“I said, ‘Just going to my mom’s house for dinner. Typical High Holiday thing,’ ” Blair replied. “She was like, ‘Wait a minute, you’re not going to synagogue?’ And at that time, I really stopped going to synagogue after my Bat Mitzvah.”
She wasn’t planning on going, but the woman told her, “If you don’t go to synagogue and hear the shofar being blown, it’s literally like not showing up to your own court date.”
Out of Jewish guilt and a fear of bad karma, Blair asked her mother if she could tag along, but of course, the tickets were sold out.
So she asked Aunt Estelle, the Jewish matriarch of the family, who recommended she go with cousin Patsy to an open synagogue in Rittenhouse Square, Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City.
“Maybe I’ll find my soul mate if I go,” Blair remembers thinking. “And the whole time I was in there, I was literally praying, ‘I’m ready for my soul mate. Please send me my soul mate. Please. Enough is enough. I’m 30 years old.’ And sure enough, three weeks after that, I met Jason.”
Rabbi Julie Greenberg of Leyv Ha-Ir married them, and Blair has attended High Holiday services there every year since.
And after the love story comes the reality: Where are we going to live?
Which is where TLC’s new soon-to-be fan favorite comes in. The couple worked with realtor Reid Rosenthal through Say Yes to the Address, who helped them narrow their choices down to a house in the ’burbs and a place in Point Breeze before they made their ultimate decision to move into the Belgravia on Chestnut Street.
“That whole scenario was just about if we were ready to move into the suburbs and start a family,” Blair said, “or do we want to enjoy being married now and live in the city still, and that’s ultimately what we chose.”
Although Jason wasn’t as big of a part of the dress shopping — the most he contributed was the 30-second application video clip, with help from the maid of honor, Gianna — he at least had a say in their new condo.
“They followed us through our search to buy our condo,” he said. “The whole show was equally with the two of us looking at three different places and picking one.”
TLC filmed for three full days. After both experiences, Jason said he misses having the cameras around. Fortunately, some of the camera crew will join them at their viewing party of the episodes on March 25 at the Center City nightclub Coda.
On their Say Yes to the Dress episode, viewers will also get a glimpse of their wedding day.
Blair also admired — nay, obsessed about — the love shared between the big screen’s favorite vampires oozing with affection, Bella and Edward from the Twilight series.
In that regard, the theme of their wedding focused on the immense love she and Jason had for each other, and she even walked down the aisle to the fourth movie’s hit soundtrack song, “A Thousand Years” by local musician Christina Perri.
The rest of the wedding followed that “sexy and sophisticated” atmosphere, with pink lighting, white and pale pink roses, and dozens of candles and crystals — nothing too gaudy, but it still sparkled.
“I literally couldn’t stop crying from the moment I saw Jason until the end of the night because I was just so overwhelmed with emotion,” Blair remembered.
Their chupah was made of Plexiglas, with pink uplighting and orchids draping down, again paralleling the Twilight idea.
They really took the movie theme to heart and wanted to surprise their guests with a choreographed number, and nothing says romance like re-enacting Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s Dirty Dancing finale.
They took lessons, of course, but Jason backed out at the last minute.
But after a few wedding cocktails, he gained the confidence to shake it like Swayze — and they nailed it.
Of all the celebrations this past year, Blair said they are just fortunate that they will be able to relive it whenever they want.
“To have our wedding and our love and our story documented on TLC,” she continued, “and being able to watch that over and over again — having my mom and grandmom be a part of it, to be able to watch her look at me in my dress for the first time, and having her be so much a part of that with me — knowing that I’ll have that forever is pretty amazing and special.”
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