Since we personally know at least three brides who grew claws and fangs while planning their nuptials, it was important to tell him we had seen the monster. She is real.
Yet by the end of a chat with Fenoli, we had almost forgiven those brides who tortured us planning their nuptials. Even the one who stuffed a certain bridesmaid into an ill-fitting Smurf blue dress.
Fenoli understands the beastie bride better than most. He began making wedding gowns after he swept a bridal design competition while an underclassman at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.
Here, he tells us about his role as fashion director at Kleinfeld in New York -- "the" bridal emporium where "Say Yes" is filmed -- and as dress-fitting psychologist, explainging, "When a bride is getting really worked up during a fitting, I can talk her off the ledge."
StyleList: How can you say there is no such thing as a Bridezilla? You've worked with plenty on the show.
Randy Fenoli: Because I don't see a Bridezilla. I see a bride who is nervous, scared, anxious and who wants to look beautiful on her wedding day. I believe a lot of that Bridezilla behavior is caused by stress. I really do. You have women who are wearing dresses that are as close to couture as they may ever get.
They are going to be immortalized in this dress and photographed 1,000 times. It is going to influence how they are perceived. It's overwhelming and it can make you a basket case.You may see a Bridezilla. I see a women who wants to look beautiful.
SL: You are very sweet, but I still say some of your brides have been wicked.
RF: I'll give you this; if the behavior continues at the wedding they are a Bridezilla. There's no excuse for treating people badly on your wedding day. On that day you should be happy and nice to everyone. Especially the groom.
SL: Some of your brides come in looking for dresses they really should not wear. How do you get them to "Say No" to the wrong dress and "Say Yes" to the right one?
RF: Very delicately. The dress they want may be a beautiful look in a magazine, but not on them. If I can ease them into one dress that is a better style and fit, we can usually make some progress. Sometimes I just need to elevate their taste level. The real trouble is when their vision is for a pile of glop - not a dress.
SL: Tell us about some of your favorite iconic brides.
RF: I'll tell you about my two best and two worst. My favorite of all time is Grace Kelly. So tasteful and sophisticated. She was marrying a prince and she completely looked the part, yet there was nothing overdone. The other one was Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Her dress (by designer Narcisco Rodriguez) was very simple.
It was the perfect example of how a dress can elevate and accentuate your own beauty. The worst, and I hate to say this because I loved, loved, loved her, was Princess Diana. It was just too much of everything, but it was the 80's and the dress was kind of the worst of that era. The other really bad dress was that famous singer who wore that five pound headpiece.
SL: You must mean Celine Dion?
RF: Yes! To me that was a very insecure statement. A bride who is confident does not need a costume. Your wedding is not a stage show.The other bride I thought could have done better was Gwen Stefani. She had a big poof of pink fabric at the bottom of her (Dior) dress. I think she was trying to be edgy, but it distracted from her beauty.
SL: What's a hot bridal trend right now?
RF: Well, a lot of girls are bringing very expensive designer shoes in for their fittings. This can be great if they can afford them because they may actually wear the shoes after the wedding. Which is not going to happen with the dress.
SL: How about some advice for the budget-conscious bride who doesn't want to go broke on a dress she will wear once?
RF: There are some wonderful, affordable dresses out there. Kleinfeld's does it's own line, we call Kollection, and it is moderately priced. Marisa does beautiful dresses that are very affordable because they spend no money on marketing, which jacks up the price of a lot of gowns out there.
Michelle & Henry Roth do great dresses, a real high end look for between $2,000 and $4,000. Jim Hjelm works in wonderful silks and his details are beautiful for the price point. As for spending a lot on a dress, I don't like to hear "it's only for six hours." It's your wedding. You should love your dress.
SL: You are going to hate me for this. I got my Jim Hjelm wedding dress at a sample sale for $200. And I loved it.
RF: Why would I hate you for that? If you loved your dress and it made you happy than I am thrilled you got such a good deal.
I don't care what someone spends on their dress if it makes them feel like a beautiful bride. But come see me if you and your husband ever renew your vows. I will find you something spectacular.
You can catch him at work on TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" Fridays at 9 pm ET.
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