“When Randy calls, you say yes,” says Carin Rosenberg Levine, co-owner of Hitched bridal salon in Georgetown, on working with Randy Fenoli, star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and Randy to the Rescue. For the uninitiated, Randy to the Rescue is a reality television show that follows the over-the-top bridal gown guru and his hair and makeup team as they travel across ten cities in America, bringing couture wedding dresses to brides. The show is in its second season of filming, and this time it was DC’s turn to get rescued by Randy.
As part of the show, Fenoli partnered with Hitched to set up a bridal pop-up shop at the Capitol Hilton last Sunday. Featuring 200 of Fenoli’s favorite dresses, as well as 50 of Hitched’s hand-selected picks, the event hosted 40 area brides on the hunt for their dream gowns. Hitched consultants helped brides-to-be narrow their options, while Fenoli popped in and out of the fitting rooms to advise each bride on the dress, accessories, hair, and makeup—part of what he calls his “head to hem” approach.
Four local brides will benefit from Fenoli’s expertise in extended one-on-one appointments, which will be included in episodes of the show this summer. As for Hitched, it’s still business as usual for customers—with or without the camera crew. “We will pick up where the show ends and continue the relationship with the brides throughout the planning process, until the dress is ready to be delivered,” says Julia Lichtman Kepniss, the other half of the duo behind Hitched.
We caught up with Fenoli during one of his one-on-one bridal appointments. As warm and funny off-camera as he is on, he was happy to share his techniques for making brides feel their best.
What do you think about our local brides?
A lot of DC brides, because they work in very powerful positions, think analytically. And suddenly on their wedding day they have to get emotional and think about a pretty, fluffy white dress. It’s hard for them to wrap their head around.
What kind of advice would you give them?
Because a wedding dress is an emotional purchase, I would advise Washington brides to stop trying to purchase a wedding dress using a checklist. It may not be the dress you thought you wanted. It should be the dress that will make you feel beautiful—because when you feel beautiful in a dress, you will really own the room and become the most beautiful bride anyone has ever seen. It’s not about the dress. It’s about the confidence and how you wear it.
Tell me about your three Es:
Educate, elevate, and empower. We are educating the brides, elevating their self-confidence, and empowering them to walk down the aisle—but really through life—feeling good about themselves. So many women today have body image issues, and I want to take that away.
How about the myth of the bridezilla? Does she exist?
I don’t believe in bridezillas. I believe I have women who just want to look beautiful on their wedding day. That’s all. And they say, “I know I’m picky.” But they should be picky. It’s their wedding day. It’s the most photographed they will ever be in their entire life. They should look good from head to hem.
How was working with Hitched in DC?
When I leave the city, I want to make sure the bride is taken care of, because she needs alterations and accessories, and the dress has to come in. So we’ve partnered up with Hitched. They are absolutely magnificent to work with, and they’ve got such beautiful dresses. It’s one of the nicest bridal salon staffs I have ever worked with. They really care about the bride and about customer service, which is hard to find today. I’ve seen it here with every bride. They don’t sell wedding dresses; they dress brides, and they help them find dresses that are perfect for them.
What’s the biggest surprise or the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far this season?
I had a bride in Denver, Colorado, who wanted to go nude on her wedding day, so to even get her in a wedding dress was a feat. We finally had to put her in hair and makeup and let her see herself—you have to watch the show to see what happens.
The new season of Randy to the Rescue airs on TLC, starting in May.