Bridal reality show internship inspires student's career path
December 4, 2023
When a Virginia Tech student said “yes” to a summer internship, he found a new career interest.
Dylan Spedaliere, a sophomore studying fashion merchandising and design, was one of seven students across the country who interned last summer at Kleinfeld Bridal, the home of cable television channel TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.”
The popular reality show, which began airing in 2007, takes place inside Kleinfeld Bridal, a Manhattan-based bridal salon known to have some of the world’s finest gowns.
“I had so much fun and such a good time,” Spedaliere said. “It never really felt like work.”
During the internship, Spedaliere and other interns shadowed the store’s bridal dress consultants throughout the day.
“We would be paired with a consultant and learn everything they do,” Spedaliere said. “Whether they were zipping dresses or filling out paperwork, you’re helping them in one capacity or another.”
Though Spedaliere was one of few men in the internship program, he saw it as a special opportunity.
“Sometimes a bride wouldn’t be comfortable with me being in the room with her while she changed, which is completely fine,” Spedaliere said. “So I would talk to the family in the meantime to build that connection and close the sale in a different way.”
Along with working under “Say Yes to the Dress” stars Randy Fenoli and Dorothy Silver, Spedaliere was on site when a media crew from People magazine came to document “Summer House” reality television star Lindsay Hubbard on her journey to find the perfect dress.
“She came to her appointment with the intention of buying three dresses,” Spedaliere said. “We were tasked with a very hard challenge to find this bride three unique dresses at a high price point while people were recording us and asking us questions.”
This internship opened Spedaliere’s eyes to a new career path. Before the summer, he was considering a future in fashion design, but Kleinfeld gave him a different perspective.
“It locked me into the idea that bridal could be a good future for me,” Spedaliere said. “It was a glimpse of what could happen.”
The growth Dylan had throughout the internship didn’t go unnoticed by the staff at Kleinfeld bridal.
“I saw Dylan completely transform in the months he was here,” said Brandi Hill, who oversees the Kleinfeld internship program. “The brides, consultants, and managers loved him. He was such a gem, and we love to be around him.”
Spedaliere credited not only the fashion merchandising and design program, but Virginia Tech in instilling such a dedicated mindset in him before and during his internship experience.
“Being a Hokie made me stand out because while the students from other schools were great, nobody works as hard as students from Virginia Tech,” Spedaliere said. “The work ethic is what made me stand out.”
Spedaliere plans to return to Kleinfeld this winter to work at the store.
“I would love to have all of the Virginia Tech students after working with Dylan,” Hill said. “We look for people who just have a passion for clothing, textiles, and people.”
Written by Gabby Brown