Say Yes to Your Dress With Randy Fenoli
As fashion director at Kleinfeld, Manhattan’s Mecca of bridal gowns, and star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, bridal fashion guru Randy Fenoli has literally seen it all, from a bride who tried on 100 dresses to the mother-of-the-bride who got slap-happy with alterations staff. Here, Randy shares his salon secrets to finding your perfect wedding dress!
A woman has just said yes to the proposal. What’s the first thing she should do before saying yes to a dress?
RANDY FENOLI: “Talking with her future groom, she should figure out their ‘brand’–their couple style and the story they want to tell. Get a clear idea of your brand and the gown should speak to that: Are you fun and modern, or traditional and classic?”
Bridal magazines–friend or foe?
RF: “Definitely a bride’s best friend. Consult magazines to get inspiration–they may lead you to looks that you might not have considered otherwise. Use the magazines as tools–rip out the pages of dresses you like, and when you come to an appointment at a salon, bring about five images that represent the style you want. If you will be coming to Kleinfeld, our website helps you build your own online closet by searching various silhouettes, necklines, fabrics, etc.”
On the show, some brides bring entourages that rival rappers and rock stars. Who and how many should accompany the bride dress shopping?
RF: “There’s no magic number. I’ve seen groups of 12 who have been on target, and I’ve encountered parties of two that have been complete disasters. A bride needs to realize that by getting married, she’s becoming a woman and she needs to take charge of the appointment from the get-go. Whoever you bring, make sure they know and respect your budget, and that they understand your brand. They can’t be pulling big, frothy tulle frocks if the bride wants a sleek modern gown.”
Should a bride always bring her mother?
RF: “Bring people who really know you and will offer valuable feedback. This might be your mom or it might not. It might be your fiancé as you’ve been living with him for years and he knows your look better than your estranged parents.”
As a member of a shopping entourage, is honesty always the best policy?
RF: “Be fairly honest. The single most important thing is that a bride feels beautiful. Followed by that, she should look beautiful. So, when I say be fairly honest, it doesn’t matter if a bride looks like a hot mess! If she feels beautiful, then that is her dress. It’s her day and her decision. That said, my job is to educate the bride about which dress will make her feel and look gorgeous.”
How can a bride get the most bang for her bridal buck?
RF: “Be honest about your real budget. Some designers don’t do a lot of advertising or runway shows, so they can offer a great product in silk and fine fabrics for less than other designers. If you’re focused more on the look than the label, you can save big money without sacrificing on style. Also, make sure you go to the right salon. Do your research and only visit those salons that carry dresses in your price point. At Kleinfeld for instance, we stock gowns from $1,000 to $22,000 and beyond.”
Are there any rules when it comes to same-sex weddings in terms of outfit selection?
RF: “I hate rules. Nothing good comes from following the rules! Guidelines? Sure, but anything can work if done correctly. It all comes down to the couple’s brand again. Are you fun, formal, funky, all of the above? The only rule is to stay within that same general theme for both outfits, whether it’s two dresses, two suits or a dress and a suit.”
Image(s): Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal