During his recent visit to the island, as special guest of Kingston Bridal Week, guru of all things bridal Randy Fenoli, of TLC's Randy Knows Best, Randy to the Rescue and Say Yes to the Dress: Savvy Secrets, Priceless Advice, and Inspiring Stories to Help you Find 'The One', sat down with VOWS to chat everything related to the modern offsprings of the white satin and lace gown that Queen Victoria immortalised for Western culture in 1840.
VOWS: What should a bride take into consideration when contemplating her wedding dress?
Randy Fenoli: The first thing she needs to do is to really think about how she wants to look on her wedding day; and it should really reflect the story of the couple. This story comes from everything that they've done.
This includes where they like to shop, where they like to vacation, what foods they like to eat, what's their taste in clothing and music.
Everything they do will be a reflection of what the wedding is, including the dress.
VOWS: What factors should be taken into account when choosing the actual dress?
RF: Well, the most important factor is that you select a dress that makes you feel the most beautiful; and you definitely want to feel the most beautiful on your wedding day, when you're walking toward the man you love more than anyone else in the world. Also, you should always be respectful of the budget. Don't try on a dress that's outside your price point, because if you do, you'll probably fall in love with it, then leave crying, and you'll never be able to get that dress out of your head. I tell brides all the time, "Do not try on a dress that's more than you want to spend.
Don't go there!"
VOWS: With seasons and climates in mind, what are the most suitable fabrics for a wedding dress?
RF: It's really interesting, I've been to the Cayman Islands and have seen three weddings there. On the beach. In the middle of June. One bride wore a Pnina Tornai lace dress with crystals all over it; another wore a Carolina Herrera covered in satin petals; and the third, an Oscar de la Renta in silk satin organza — and she knelt in the sand! So, I think brides are no longer thinking of destination wedding gowns as little chiffon slip dresses that you wear on the beach, but are instead focussed on the dress of their dreams, and then making it work for the location.
That said, never choose a dress that's going to be too hot and too heavy, if you're going to be out in the sun — it will prove very ncomfortable.
Here's a little tip: If you have to pack the dress, lace really packs beautifully. Plus, it's light and it's cool. If you're doing a destination wedding and you like lace, then that's the way to go.
VOWS: How significant a role does dress silhouette play as regards body type?
RF: Well, absolutely, the silhouette of the dress must be right, in order to make your body look its best. What every bride is trying to achieve is that hourglass silhouette. If you're fuller on top, then add a little fullness to the bottom, if you happen to be fuller in the middle, try a corset or some asymmetrical ruching or maybe cinch the waist in or add fullness at both the top and the bottom, as that's going to give you those curves. The two most important things to keep in mind are silhouette and proportion. The rules don't apply to every single woman in the same way, even if the shapes are similar. You have to think about your height and weight. Are you four feet 11 inches or are you five feet and 11 inches? Do you weigh 100lbs or 350 lbs?
VOWS: How does a bride know when she's found "the one"?
RF: Her entire body language changes the minute she puts on THE dress; she may even tear up — she just knows. It's kind of like finding the right guy — you just know when it's the one. You step into it, it feels right, everything comes together. You think to yourself, " I've been waiting for this moment and I didn't know what it would feel like..." — and then, just like that, Wham! It happens.
VOWS: Should a bride ever ignore her own personal style for the sake of the dress?
RF: If a bride finds a dress that she's in love with, and it makes her feel beautiful, then she should get it. Sometimes it may not be exactly how she dresses on a day-to-day basis because this is not a day-to-day affair.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so you might want to step out of your comfort zone and wear something that you maybe never thought of. Perhaps you're a little more conservative, but on your wedding day you want to go with something a little
VOWS: What tips would you give a bride who just cannot seem to make up her mind and commit to a dress?
RF: Well, if she's already chosen a dress, then she needs to stop looking. If she's being indecisive, then she probably hasn't really narrowed down her look, her budget, the theme of the wedding and everything else. Sometimes I'll get a bride that's really gorgeous, she's sample size, looks good in every single dress, and then, here, the problem becomes just that — she looks good in every single dress! For that type of bride it becomes harder for her to narrow it all down, so she follows my guidelines outlined in my book — It's All About the Dress: Savvy Secrets, Priceless Advice, and Inspiring Stories to Help you Find 'The One' — to finding your story, to finding your look, then matching it up with the location and exploring the message you want to send to your guests. When all that has been figured out, only then does it get easier to find a dress. However, sometimes I'll run across a bride who is torn between two dresses and when pushed as to which she prefers, the response is, "It's 50/50. I like them both." I don't believe in that, so I say, "If it's 50/50, then buy the less expensive dress", and suddenly they have an opinion about which one they like more. It invariably becomes 51/49, the tie is finally broken. I see it all the time.
VOWS: What tips would you give a bride who plans to wear a vintage or inherited gown or veil — say, in the case of a family heirloom — up the aisle?
RF: Weddings are all about tradition and family, and honouring that. So if there is a family heirloom, veil or something like that, that you want to incorporate, it does not have to match your look or your theme. I don't care if the veil is green and tarnished. For me, you're not wearing it because it coordinates with your outfit. You're wearing it because it's sentimental, it means something to you, and it's saluting or celebrating someone from your family.
VOWS: What is your opinion of the practice of trend-forecasting in bridal fashion?
RF: Well, last season it was all about The Great Gatsby. Unfortunately, by the time the designers got the dresses into the stores and the brides came to shop for them, and their weddings were a year away, we'd forgotten about the movie! Designers really need to realise that being trendy isn't always the best thing; timelessness is more important. They should stick to a style that is true to who they are as a designer — their aesthetic — then they'll get a strong following from brides, which is much better than just releasing trends, season by season. Otherwise, brides will have a serious difficulty identifying with
VOWS: Is the concept of "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" passé?
RF: It's relevant if you want it to be. Once again, weddings are about tradition. Just like wearing the white dress — it's tradition. It's about family, it's about coming together, and anything that you can bring into that which is customary, or has a heritage, is great. If you are in possession of any item that falls under the 'somethings', then it's absolutely going to make your wedding, absolutely more special, particularly if the 'something borrowed' or the 'something old' component comes in the form of a memento, from a family member, who means something to you. This helps to add that personal element to the 'big day', which is what a wedding should be — personal. It's about the bride and her story.