Wedding belles

Wedding belles

Brides are always big business – that’s why a show that dedicates itself to brides is such a hit.

TLC’s highly popular Say Yes To The Dress is returning to the air for Season 14.

Part fashion show/bridal story/family therapy, the show uncovers the hurdles every staff member faces to make each bride completely satisfied.

Ultimately, this series is more than just about the search for the perfect dress; it touches on the personal lives of the bride and the people around her.

And who better to pull the whole show together than Randy Fenoli? Previously a fashion director at New York’s Kleinfeld Bridal Salon from 2007-2012, he consulted with nearly 15,000 brides a year​, which of course makes him quite an expert on the subject.

Today, as the star of Say Yes to the Dress (SYTTD), among many other reality TV series, Fenoli is seen by millions of viewers each week.

We managed to catch up with him recently in a phone interview and asked him to share his experiences on the show along with what to expect for the new season.

It should come as no surprise that Fenoli is great at what he does since he has been dressing brides since 1993. But it wasn’t exactly the fashion avenue he was hoping to be in.

“I always wanted to do evening wear but upon entering a bridal contest, I got offered the job designing for the Diamond Collection and designing bridesmaids dresses for Dessy Creations right out of school. It was then that I suddenly realised that a wedding dress is the most important dress a woman will ever wear, and how much meaning, feeling and tradition is involved in the process.”

As someone who watches the TV series, it is quite clear that Fenoli is the perfect person to handle all the drama.

Be it a bride with self-esteem issues or one who does not have the time nor the right dress for her big day, Fenoli with his warm smile and comforting nature is a soothing balm to frazzled brides. One of the things he emphasises is to “educate, elevate and empower”.

“Educate because teachers guide and inspire. Elevate because I find so many women have body image issues and I want to help them realise that they’re perfect as they are. And empower because I want brides to walk away not just feeling confident about walking down the aisle, but really through life and to just feel good about the choices they make and to just believe in who they are.”

Despite his determination to have the brides feeling like a million bucks, there’s always going to be some drama on a reality TV series.

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Fenoli shared that the most challenging bride to dress is usually the one who is the perfect sample size and looks good in every single dress.

Recounting an experience, he said, “We had this one bride that came in and she was apparently very wealthy. She thought that she could just spend all day in the bridal salon and was still trying on dresses at the end of the day. She had fallen in love with one dress but she just couldn’t quite make up her mind. We even told her that we have to close the store because we’ve got like 20 employees that had to close the store and lock everything up but she still didn’t care.

“And so I thought, the best way to get her to say yes to the dress, because she was really acting like a spoilt child, was to take away her candy. So what I told her was, ‘Why don’t you take the dress off and come back tomorrow and try it back on’ and as soon I said that, she goes, ‘No, no, no, I want it.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, you need to sleep on it tonight.’ Well, instantly she said yes to the dress and that’s one of those memories that I won’t forget because it was just funny. As soon as I tried to take the dress away from her, she was definitely wanting it.”

It goes without saying that depending on the bride’s personality, it is always about striking the right balance. From the point of choosing the right dress to the accessories, shoes, hair and makeup, all of it goes into creating the perfect look for the bride’s big day.

Fenoli reveals that it is always about the bride’s beauty and that every element that is chosen, be it the veil or the jewellery or the hairstyle, has to accentuate the bride’s looks without overpowering her.

When it comes to grooms, Fenoli has this to say on the suits: “It’s supposed to fit your body and look sexy. And you know, I tell grooms if you’re going to be standing next to your fiancĂ©e, you have to look just as hot and sexy as she does because you’re going to be in every picture with her. You better kick it up a notch.”

As to what viewers can expect this season, Fenoli didn’t want to give anything away, saying: “I hope the season does not disappoint you. I think they’re just getting better and better and I’m really proud of the show. In the end, the bride is the painting and everything else is just a frame.”

Say Yes To The Dress Season 14 premieres on March 11 at 10pm on TLC (Astro Ch 707).




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