Val, a teary-eyed bride, stood on a pedestal, addressing a group of women -- among them a lymphoma therapist, a plastic surgeon, and a best friend -- seated on the plush sofa in front of her. "I've been climbing a hill, and I'm finally up at the top," she said to the entourage. "You've supported me through cancer, but I just wanted to share a joy with you." As the women erupted into a chorus of howls, a sales associate asked the requisite question: "Are you saying 'yes' to the dress?"
Yes, Val, a subject on the latest season of Say Yes to the Dress, had found a wedding gown, a process that included an emotional roller coaster of frustration at her self-image in other dresses, reflections on her victory over cancer, and an eventual happy ending. This was par for the course for TLC's underestimated reality show, currently in its 16th season of subliminally empowering its female viewers.