Survive Wedding Season had the pleasure of interviewing wedding fashion experts – designer, Kelly Nishimoto, and stylist, Sam Saboura, hosts of TLC’s new show Something Borrowed, Something New a show where brides choose between the mother’s wedding dress (refreshed by Nishimoto) or a brand new wedding dress (chosen by Saboura). These wedding experts discussed what it was like to find/create the “perfect” wedding dress (in such a small window of time), how much they enjoy being a part of this new show (and wonderful addition to TLC’s BrideDay lineup), wedding dress trends and best practices for how brides can work with their moms when selecting their special dress.
We at SWS love how much Kelly and Sam love working with brides. Based on their answers one really understands how much they genuinely enjoy contributing to such an important life experience and focus on finding styles and trends that are affordable for most all brides. Talk about attainable inspiration with great guidance and wisdom to boot! Check out our conversation below:
What was the most challenging part of making the “right” dress?
Kelly: The hardest part was finding the right balance between 3 things:
1- What is mother’s dress capable of being?
2 – Can I keep the bride focused on realistic expectations for making a new dress out of an old one?
3-Does the bride understand that she can’t squeeze every element she loves from her inspiration dresses into one dress?
Did you encounter any brides and mob’s (mother of the bride) that were completely unwilling to see eye to eye?
Kelly: Yes! But only one. The bridesmaid was so verbal about hating all of the dresses that Sam and I were really getting annoyed because this bridesmaid would not let the bride have her moment. They clearly had different tastes in dresses but the bridesmaid saw fit to say every negative thing she thought of.
Kelly and Sam, what was the most fun part of working on a show like this?
Kelly: For me it was having the opportunity to work with old dresses and to challenge myself to see what I could make of them! I think most people watching the show may have a hard time envisioning an entirely new dress and I feel like some viewers may be offended that I did completely change a dress. But for me it depends on the dress! If a dress is worthy to stay close to what it already is then, that’s what I do. If I think it’s awful or it does not come close to fitting the bride change is a necessary evil. I also must say that we had the best crew ever! I have never had so much support during a project. I also met a few soul mates that will be friends for life…including Sam. He and I really hit is off; I can’t imagine working with anyone else on this!
Sam: Who doesn’t love a wedding, and for that matter a wedding dress? I’ve seen every episode of “Say Yes To The Dress” ten times and it never gets old. The most fun for me was probably seeing what Kelly did to the borrowed dresses. I see it in real time with everyone else in the studio, and the viewers at home, so it is always a big surprise and totally nerve wracking. Kelly and I have great chemistry and we laugh a lot, especially when we are tired and we start screwing things up, so that’s always a blast too.
I think I learned that buying a wedding dress is powerful stuff. All the clichés are true and choosing history and tradition over something new is no joke. Most of all I love being a part of a brides big day. Nothing compares.
For a bride that is going through a situation like the ones on the show, what do you recommend brides say to help their moms understand their viewpoint?
Kelly: I recommend that she have her mom think back to her big day and remember how she also wanted things her way. And although she is honored to have the opportunity to possibly wear her mom’s dress, the bride should express that she wants it to also represent her vision and to making it her own would be that much more special.
What did you learn from the experience and the participants?
Kelly: I learned that at the end of the day the family is happy if the bride is happy and although mom is extremely hesitant about cutting up her dress, she ends up feeling pretty good about it in the end! I also learned that for the most part the bride never chooses the dress we think she is going to choose and that make it really fun for me and Sam!
Kelly and Sam, are there any common trends that these modern brides had in common?
Sam: Lots of the brides wanted lace and of course we hear the word “bling” a lot. Many of the brides were surprised how much they liked a little sparkle and shine by the time we were done. All the moms, “just wanted their daughter to be happy.” They also wanted them to wear their dress pretty much without exception.
I do love lace and I think it’s very romantic and a wonderful trend. I love structure and a strong silhouette that brings the bride’s body into the best light. Fit and flare dresses are very popular with most brides, and I think many brides long to be sexy on their wedding day. I think it’s important to have a timeless quality to the dress so you can look back and enjoy the pictures without cringing, so I say follow the trends but don’t fall too hard for them. You should look like the ultimate version of yourself and not like anyone else!
Kelly: For the most part each bride knew exactly what she wanted but she didn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings. That became a huge part of their decision making process.
Likewise were there any common trends that the mothers had in common? Just curious if there are some generational leanings.
Kelly: They all thought they knew best but in the end what made them the happiest was that their daughters were happy!
Sam, when looking for a new dress, did you stay within budget and if you didn’t were brides comfortably open to spending more? How often did you stay within budget? If the new dress went over budget were brides more open to choosing the revamped heirloom so as not to break the bank?
The brides on the show have everyday bridal budgets, and none of them are huge, so lots of viewers will relate which is really great. If the bride picks my new dress, they actually buy it and pay for it with no help from us. I was under very strict guidelines to not go over budget unless the bride pushed it a bit, which I think only happened once. Many times I was under budget, which always surprised Kelly and definitely surprised me from time to time.
There are a lot of beautiful dresses out there that don’t cost a fortune. I have really expensive taste and I think brides today are trained to think they have to spend thousands of dollars. This is not the case. Part of being a good stylist is having good taste, and it’s my job to know what details and features to look for on a less expensive dress that will make it look like a million.
Yes, I think money is always a factor when a bride is planning a wedding, especially with younger brides who don’t have a ton to spend. Kelly’s borrowed dresses were often far under budget which made the decisions harder for sure!
Kelly, are there any trends that you highly recommend and any you say stay clear of. Perhaps there is something to take away from both the moms and the brides?
You said it! TRENDS! If a dress is too trendy…you should stay away from it! And personally…I do not like really poofy dresses. They make me giggle.
I recommend that brides stop looking so closely at what celebrities are wearing and try on dresses that make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s all about personal style. Trust me, when I get married, I will be wearing something quirky…a fedora on my head and fuchsia shoes on my feet!
Kelly and Sam, what was the most challenging part of working with brides and moms in this fashion?
Kelly: For me it was time constraint. I can deal with human nature – people’s emotions were all over the place and it was actually nice to see these families go through this experience and transformation. But the little time there was to re-design and reconstruct a dress often gave me anxiety! I wanted the dress to be the best it could be, not only for the bride but for my own conscience and reputation…so I took everything really personally and I did my best to ensure that every dress reached its maximum potential.
Sam: This show is totally real. Meaning, when you see the bride in her choice at the end of each episode, that’s really the dress she is going to wear on her wedding day. These brides and moms put their trust in us with the most important dress of their lives and that goes for both bride and mom. We have to deliver something spectacular in a short amount of time, so there is some real pressure on both of us. One of my big challenges is getting the mom on board with the idea of their daughter potentially wearing my new dress and that can tough.
Sam, what was the most challenging part of finding the “right” dress? Did you encounter any brides and mob’s that were completely unwilling to see eye to eye?
Our show is very unique, because the brides don’t see themselves in the new dress until they walk out and see it in the mirror, on camera and in front of their family and friends. This means I’m really picking their wedding dress for them blind, without any input, just some verbal and visual direction. Talk about pressure!
There was some dissension from the entourage, which is totally normal. Many brides have friends and family that think they know 100% what their bride should be wearing. Too many chefs make it a bit harder to get through to the brides, but the right dress always wins out in the end…almost always.
Sam, for a bride that is going through a situation like the ones on the show, what do you recommend brides say to help their moms understand their viewpoint?
Many of the brides had no problem speaking their minds to their moms about the borrowed dresses. Some were so set on wearing a new dress, but that definitely changed by the time the journey was over. The decision was never easy.
I think you have to quell expectations and make sure your mom knows she has to be open to both options. At the end of the day this is your wedding and you should chose the dress that speaks the most to your heart.
Be sure to check out Something Borrowed, Something New on TLC’s BrideDay at 10/9c.