- The 19th season of “Say Yes to the Dress” is currently airing on TLC.
- Randy Fenoli helped Shaela Warkentin, a bride who is blind, find a gown on the latest episode.
- Warkentin found her dress by feeling the fabrics and having the wedding dresses described to her.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Say Yes to the Dress” season 19 premiered on July 17, bringing in a new assortment of brides searching the racks of Kleinfeld Bridal for the perfect wedding gowns.
Saturday’s episode featured a first for the show, and for Randy Fenoli, fashion director and designer at Kleinfeld: a bride who is completely blind.
Shaela Warkentin became blind just before her 16th birthday after she was in a car accident caused by a driver who was “under the influence,” as she said in the episode.
“All I can remember is being in the hospital and feeling as if I had a blindfold over me,” Warkentin said. “I can’t take the blindfold off.”
Ten years later, she said it still feels surreal that she is blind at times.
Warkentin is getting married in October of 2021, and she went to Kleinfeld with her mom and matron of honor to find her dream dress to marry her fiancé, Tyler.
Warkentin, who was looking for a sparkly dress with a low-cut, sweetheart neckline, said she was going to rely on her loved ones and her sense of touch to find the right gown.
Warkentin became blind after a car accident.
“I’m going a lot about it by the feel,” she said of her approach to finding a dress. “Not only tactilely feeling with my fingers and how the body feels and every detail about the dress, but also, most importantly, how it feels on me.”
“Usually when I shop for clothes, whoever I’m with, I really have to trust,” she added. “I kind of rely on them to know what my style is based on what I wear, but at the same time, texture is very important to me.”
“When I’m feeling a dress, if it’s just plain, it’s kind of boring to me,” she said.
The Kleinfeld staff brought in Fenoli to help Warkentin find her gown because he’s an expert, though the experience was new for him, too.
“In almost 30 years of doing bridal, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a bride who is completely blind,” Fenoli said on the episode.
Fenoli told Insider it’s most important that a bride feel good in a dress, which was his focus as he helped Warkentin.
Randy Fenoli helped Warkentin find her dress.
“My goal is always to help the bride choose a dress that they feel the most beautiful in, because when they feel beautiful, they wear that dress like there is no other dress on the planet,” he said.
“They know they look good, and everybody feels it,” Fenoli said. “It’s about the confidence that you have while wearing the dress.”
Before she tried one each dress, Warkentin felt every part of it with her fingers, and her in-person consultant, Lisa, described it, so she had an idea of what the dress looked like.
Warkentin ended up selecting a strapless Stella York dress with a lace top and a tulle, trumpet skirt. She liked that it featured different fabrics.
The bride chose a Stella York gown.
“It’s everything,” she said of the dress. “I’ve had such a hard time describing what type of dress I want, but when I have this dress on me, I feel that exact feeling that I can’t describe.”
“I feel like a bride,” she said while wearing the gown.
“I’m just really glad she chose the dress that made her feel the most beautiful,” Fenoli said of Warkentin’s choice.
New episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” air Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch up on last week’s episode on Discovery+.