Weddings Mag Chats with Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress
Recently, Jessica of Weddings Magazine had the fantastic opportunity to interview Randy Fenoli of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress as part of his upcoming appearance at the Southern Womens Show in Raleigh. This awesome event is being held April 24th – 26th at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and will feature shopping, entertainment and fun activities. While we were obviously interested in picking his brain about the world of bridalwear, we were thrilled to learn more about his mission and what he will be speaking about at the upcoming show. Fenoli is committed to his mantra of “Educate, Elevate and Empower,” which makes him the perfect headliner for the Southern Women’s Show.
We spoke with Randy about what this mission truly stands for as it relates both planning your wedding and being your best self.
Weddings Magazine: I wanted to delve into your mission to Educate, Elevate and Empower. What does this mean to you?
Randy Fenoli: Education is the foundation of society. The more we know, the better we are equipped to face life and its obstacles. This includes a better understanding of ourselves, for other peoples, cultures and religions.
WM: And what should a bride do to educate herself before she even sets foot in a bridal shop?
RF: The very first step is to decide where she is getting married and what the setting and theme will be. What is the style of her wedding? Casual or traditional? Rustic or chic? This is going to help guide her towards her dress – not necessarily dictate it – but help guide it.
Next, you have got to set a budget. I cannot stress this enough! Decide what is most important to you – is it the location? The number of guests? The after party? The Dress? You need to prioritize what is the most important thing to you, and then allocate for the other categories. That is how you have the wedding of your dreams and not the wedding that you think is expected from you.
Shopping for a wedding dress is like dating. You might think you want to marry tall dark and handsome, but you end up with blonde hair and blue eyes. That is what shopping for a dress is like – sometimes you end up with something you never thought you would like! It’s uncharted territory, its scary, and you’ve never done it before.
I guaruntee you, when you step into your dress, you will know. Just like you knew when you met the guy you were going to marry. You can’t explain that emotion to somebody who has never experienced it before!
WM: What do you mean when you say ‘elevate’ in relation to your speaking topic?
RF: It means to take someone and help change their thinking about themselves. Maybe they have body issues, maybe they have been through an abusive situation or cancer. I want to elevate their self confidence and ultimately empower them.
WM: I especially wanted to touch on the strain of empowerment, because I feel like that has a lot of facets when it comes to the wedding planning process. I know that you see this all the time on your show, when a bride’s opinion becomes overpowered by those of her entourage, whether it’s a friend or family member. I would love to know how brides can find and then keep their voice when it comes to planning their wedding, especially choosing their dress.
RF: Hopefully by hearing my story, it will help them to make the first step to empowering themselves, and not just on their wedding day. And it really starts with tough love. I believe that if a woman thinks she is ready to get married and start a family and raise children, then she is ready to handle a bridal appointment. And it really comes down to one thing: Communication.
Before you enter the bridal salon, you need to communcate with the people you are going to bring about what you want, what you want to look like and how much you want to spend. Talking through these things will avoid problems with your friends and family who try to put you in a dress that you don’t want to wear, or help avoid surprises about budget.
WM: What to guests have to look forward to when they visit you at the Southern Women’s Show next weekend?
RF: People don’t often realize that at least 70% of my presentation has nothing to do with bridal. It’s about my childhood and what I have been through, portrayed in a funny and hilarious way. It opens up a larger conversation and allows women to approach me and talk to me about what they have been dealing with. And hopefully it will empower them to open up the conversation and grow.
I talk about fashion as well, and how to dress for your body type, as well as how to spend your money. Where is the value for you? Where are you going to get the best return on your investment?
In the end, my presentation brings it all back to empowerment and believing that you are beautiful. If you believe in God, can you believe that He would create something that is imperfect?
WM: Without sounding too cliché, we have to ask: What are your favorite wedding gown trends for the upcoming season?
RF: There are so many trends and I have no favorites! I think trends are just that – they come and go. They define a period in history. The number one “trend” that is happening today is something that I call “everything.” What I mean by that is that you can find any kind of dress that really expresses who you are. Boho, traditional and timeless, blinged out – its all there.
Other real bridal trends that we are seeing include the slit up the front of the dress and shorter trains to aviod carrying around a bustle. Sexy backs are a really big trend, because strapless is going out of style which creates more options for unique backs. The back is a great way to be sexy without being vulger.
Colored wedding dresses is a trend, but I personally don’t like that. I’m ok with a pastel or soft, layered color, like blush or off white. But if you are doing a red wedding dress or a black wedding dress – we call that evening wear! I’m a traditionalist, and I believe the two things that make you a bride are a white gown and a veil (besides having someone to marry of course!)
See Randy and his special presentation at the Southern Women’s Show on April 26th at 2pm!
Click here to enter the VIP meet and greet with Randy and Erica from Bob and the Showgram on G105!
See Randy on the Fashion and Entertainment Stage, Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 PM!
A special thank you to Bolt PR for coordinating this interview.