I have been watching "Say Yes to the Dress" since it started on TLC in 2007. This was way before I was engaged, and there were definitely periods where I was very, very single and still watched religiously. I distinctly remember the first episode that featured Randy Fenoli, the new up-and-coming fashion director at Kleinfeld's in New York. I remember seeing the disdain in the bridal consultant's faces when Randy was brought in to give his opinion. And I remember thinking every single time, "But he's right!" He seemed to naturally have a knack for knowing what a bride would love, and he seriously knew his dresses.
I decided, in my imaginary fantastical wedding world (the same world where I get married in a castle, to Ryan Gosling, with flowers blooming on every surface, with a Coca-Cola fountain... ok now I'm getting carried away) that I would find my dress at Kleinfeld's. Now, I have been engaged for almost six months and almost fell over when I saw on Isabelle's Bridal's Facebook page that Randy Fenoli would be coming to their salon in Vancouver. This is his first time in Western Canada, let alone Vancouver, let alone MY local and very favorite salon, Isabelle's! That sure beats buying a ticket to NYC (clearly not in our limited budget).
I recruited my mom, aunt, and maid of honour, made them all leave work early (4:00 appointment on a Monday afternoon, not the easiest thing to work with), and just generally tried to contain my excitement. It was a total madhouse when we got to Isabelle's. The floor was packed from wall to wall with people, consultants were running around with heaps of dresses and brides were checking out other brides and making mental notes of the dresses that looked really hot on (or maybe that was just me). We were given five heart-shaped tags to place on the dresses in the salon that we wanted to try. (I keep saying "we" as it really was a team effort).
I had my eye on a Paloma Blanca dress I had seen at the salon before, but Randy also brought some beautiful collections with him. (Jim Hjelm was a stand-out for me). My consultant Kasia was really sweet, and she made sure I was in my favourite dress (the Paloma Blanca) before bringing me out to the main salon to meet Randy. He stopped in his tracks and declared it the perfect dress, and then dragged me over to the mirror and launched into a full account of why it was so perfect for me (apparently I'm long-chested so the sleeve detailing helps balance that, and the silk is more flattering to my figure than a heavier lace dress would be -- thanks Randy). My mom asked him about vintage jewellery, and he said that something with sentimental value or that could be passed down is always the most memorable. (I love heirlooms, so I was happy about that tip). He asked if the earrings in question were from my mom's own marriage and we cracked up -- she replied "which one?" (four marriages later) and after momentary shock he laughed along with us.
He managed to make me feel like the only bride in a salon full of gorgeous ladies in white dresses, and I was all over that! (I'm just going to pretend he wasn't doing the same for every other beautiful bride there). He showed me how he would have the dress bustled (a french bustle, apparently -- I didn't really know there were options). He even did the cheesy, "Cassandra, is there a question I should be asking you? Are you saying YES to the DRESS??" Insert an awkward "Yes!", lots of clapping and a random blast of music from the DJ. Actually, that might have been the best part of the experience. Every time a bride found "the dress," cheering and clapping would take over the salon, and fun dance music would blast for a minute or two to celebrate. It really kept the event light and fun, and kept the Bridezilla dress-snatching to a minimum. Which (if we're being honest here) was actually a little disappointing.
All I can say is this man knows his dresses. He is sweet, charming, and he melted the hearts of everyone in my group (my mom is still swooning). He made a point of getting to know us, and he put the whole room at ease. If you're getting married, find him. Or maybe you'll get lucky and he'll find you!
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