“I am beautiful!” The words echoed throughout Cashman Convention Center as the crowd of Las Vegas brides shouted these empowering words.
“Do you mean it?” Randy Fenoli, Fashion Director of Kleinfeld Bridal, said.
With a microphone in his hands, he stood atop the stage at Bridal Spectacular’s bridal show and challenged every bride in the room at the conclusion to his special presentation on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
“I want to hear it once more like you mean it,” he said, “and think about and believe it.”
As the crowd released a chorus much more powerful, I couldn’t help but sing along. I’d met Randy Fenoli, and he had shown me that choosing a wedding gown is about more than the dress. When you select a bridal gown for your special day, it’s about looking your best, beaming with confidence, owning your story, and knowing you are the most beautiful woman in the world and the man at the end of the aisle believes that too.
Earlier that morning, I’d spoken face-to-face with Randy for a fifteen-minute interview for Bridal Spectacular’s Las Vegas Wedding Blog. Randy had shared about his beginnings in fashion and design, his goal as a spokesperson for brides, and his style tips for brides and grooms. Most importantly, he shared his story, and he encouraged brides to do the same for their wedding days.
Today read the conclusion to our three-part series, “My Fifteen Minutes with Randy Fenoli: An Interview with the ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ Star at Bridal Spectacular.”
Allyson: “You have so much expertise in different areas from the bridal industry. So how did you find your way specifically into wedding gowns? You said that you had gone to, you know, New York’s Fashion Institute, but why wedding dresses?”
Randy: “Well, I actually wanted to do only evening wear. That was my only passion. I had never been to a wedding, except as a ring bearer twice. So I didn’t have much concept of the wedding dress. I grew to realize that really evening wear is not really worn much anymore. Maybe at the Academy Awards, and most of those gowns are given to the celebrities. So that’s really not where the importance should be. I think this [a wedding dress] is the most important gown that a real woman will ever wear in her life. It’s the closest thing to couture that we, as Americans, will ever get. … I think there’s only one designer in America that’s actually a couture designer, that’s actually registered. … But a wedding dress, I think because it is custom-made, is the closest thing that a woman will get to couture. So that’s what inspires me. And the fact that: It’s the most important dress, and it’s one of those moments in her life when she’s going from a girl to becoming a woman. It’s not just the dress; it’s the whole emotional experience. Once again, she wants to look and feel her best on her wedding day. That’s kind of the start of her new life. She … does whatever she has to do to make sure that on that day, she’s looking as beautiful as she can.”
Randy: “So it’s nice to be a part of that.”
Allyson: “Thank you. You were speaking a little bit about your inspiration. I was wondering: Do you meet any brides, either on occasion or very often, who inspire you just as themselves as well, or who you’ve been encouraged by, or learned lessons from their stories?”
Randy: “Oh my gosh. Yes! Every single day.”
Allyson: “Oh, that’s so good!”
Randy: “Every single day. There was a wedding that someone told me about that there was a bride who had breast cancer. This goes back to telling your story, owning your story, and knowing who you are, and how to make it [your wedding] unique and intimate and personal. She had a very difficult bout with cancer, and I think with her chemotherapy, she had lost her hair and had to wear a wig. She came through it and was fine. But she was still wearing wigs. On her wedding day, to honor her, all the groomsmen had shaved their heads and all the bridesmaids wore wigs.”
Randy: “Yeah, and she didn’t know this until she started walking down the aisle. For me, that is something that shows me that what I’m saying is true. How much more special can you be to honor this woman with doing something that, you know, drastic. And it, it’s just heartwarming. It really is.”
Allyson: “Thank you for sharing that. That is such an encouraging story.”
Randy: “Thank you.”
Allyson: “Well, we’ll do one last question if that’s all right.”
Allyson: “What advice would you give to Las Vegas brides? I’m sure you’ll probably mention it in your presentation later today. But in Vegas, we’re kind of a glitzy town while at the same time being in the middle of a rather natural state as a whole. So to Las Vegas brides specifically, what advice would you give them for their wedding gown search?”
Randy: “Well, I think it would be the same advice that I would give any bride, and that is: You really need to go with your gut and trust your instinct. You’re going to hear a lot of voices around you. You need to realize that you’re becoming a woman. This is the time when you’re going to have to step up to the plate and make some decisions and talk with the people who you bring to your appointment and say, ‘Look. This is my budget. We’re shopping for my dress. This is my taste level. These are the things that I like. So if you’re coming with me, you need to help me.’ And I think she really needs to trust her own instinct, not turn around and ask everybody, ‘Well, what do you think? And what do you think, and what do you think?’ Because everyone is going to have a different opinion. She needs to, at this point in her life, really step up to the plate, go with her gut, and choose the dress that she feels the most beautiful in.”
Allyson: “Well, thank you very much. … Is there anything else that you would like to add, either about your personal or professional experiences?”
Randy [laughs and smiles]: “You’ll probably hear it all out there.” [He motions toward the stage, referencing his upcoming presentation.]
Allyson [smiles and shakes Randy’s hand]: “Thank you so much, Randy. We so appreciate you coming here to Las Vegas today to speak to our brides.”
“I want to hear it once more like you mean it,” Randy said at the conclusion to his presentation, “and think about it and believe it.”
“I am beautiful!” Las Vegas brides stood together and shouted, owning the words and allowing them to fill our spirits with renewed belief.
“Yes, you are,” Randy said. “And if you believe in God and you believe He’s perfect, then how could He create something imperfect? We’re exactly what we’re supposed to be. And I think each and every one of you is beautiful, and I hope that you feel beautiful on your wedding day. Las Vegas, thank you so very much!”
For more bridal tips from Randy Fenoli, tune in to “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC. To learn more about Bridal Spectacular, visit our official website.
Finally, to receive your free digital download of your professional photograph with Randy Fenoli from August 20th, please find the link to these images in Alex Mo Photography’s blog post: “Bridal Spectacular + Randy Fenoli Meet-and-Greet.”
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Written by Allyson Siwajian © 2011
Photograph Credit: first image by LorenzFoto © 2011, additional images by Alex Mo Photography © 2011 (Used by permission.)
Special thanks to the following professionals who made this event possible: Randy Fenoli of Kleinfeld Bridal, Dennis Johnson, Scheme Events, Alex Mo Photography, AV Vegas, and Bridal Spectacular.