It goes without saying that a bride is the center of attention on her wedding day, from the "Wedding March" dress reveal to the sparkler finale. And one local bride, Helecia Williams, will take that to new level as the star of the show—literally—when more than 200 million household viewers tune in to her featured appearance this weekend on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress: America.
Williams is a prominent content creator with more than 136,000 YouTube followers to show for it, and she updates her channel, IKnowLee, weekly with makeup and natural hair tutorials. When she decided to share her proposal story to her fiancé Nick on YouTube, she got thousands of views—and an email from TLC asking her to apply for its popular bridal show.
The new 10-part series debuted Jan. 4, and follows the journey of 10 featured brides throughout the country. The finale will culminate in a two-hour group wedding with 52 blushing brides from across the U.S. saying “I do” in unison. Say Yes to the Dress host and bridal designer Randy Fenoli will officiate the big day in New York City’s Central Park.
Williams received the surprise of a lifetime when Fenoli and a camera crew showed up in Houston to announce that she was one of 52 brides accepted on the special. “I never thought something like this would ever happen to me,” she tells Houstonia.
We sat down with the bride to get the scoop on her upcoming episode, which debuts Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. CST on TLC.
How did your proposal go down?
Oh, the proposal was a complete surprise. [Nick] told me one of our friends had just got hired for Moet, the champagne company, and was having an event to celebrate his new job. He told me it would be small and private; we’d pop champagne and have a good time. I’m like, “OK, this is right up my alley!” He created a flyer and made a whole Eventbrite page. It was a beautiful event at my favorite macaron place he took me to years before. He surprises me and is basically on his hands and knees asking me to marry him. And when I turned around, I had family there, nieces and nephews there, and his parents there.
As a professional YouTuber, did you know you had this in the bag when it came time to make your submission video?
We put a lot into our submission video. I had this mindset that these things don’t happen to people like me, but I’m still going to try it because the worst thing is that they can tell me 'no.'
Were you already a fan of Say Yes to the Dress?
I had seen the show, and I had an old boss on the show years ago. For whatever reason, I just never thought that would ever be a part of my life. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. And on top of that, this is a totally different concept from the normal show, and that makes it 10 times better.
What was a highlight of your experience on the show?
The primary highlight was the surprise. After submitting the video, it went silent for a month. In my head I was thinking, I didn’t get it and they haven’t had the opportunity to tell us we didn’t make it. One day, my best friend and my fiancé and I are all sitting down at a coffee shop when a huge camera crew, Randy, and a ton of people surrounded me. I was completely shocked.
Kleinfeld’s is a dream for brides-to-be, and you were flown to NYC to pick out your gown. How was the showroom experience?
Kleinfeld’s is a luxury experience—it’s more than just shopping for a dress. The people who work there are extremely attentive, and I feel like they cater to their customers. I personally had a really good experience. They actually brought me three dress options and the first one I tried on, I loved. The dresses they picked out for me were perfect, and they really listened to what it was that I wanted.
Being that this is Say Yes to the Dress: America, 52 couples tied the knot for this special. Did you get to interact with your fellow brides?
All of the featured brides had dressing rooms lined up next to each other when we went back [for the fitting]. We all got to engage with one another and see each other’s dresses.
We’re obviously dying to know about the wedding day. What was going through your head as you got ready?
The wedding day was absolutely insane; it was amazingly crazy. We walked to the Boat House in Central Park, which wasn’t far from where our ceremony would be. At about 7 in the morning, all 52 of us would do hair and makeup in the Boat House. They brought in all of the dresses and we changed in our dressing rooms. As every bride changed, every bride kind of got their own reveal. It was amazing to see so much love in one room. Everybody was extremely supportive. If anyone needed anything, another bride was always there to the rescue.
That ceremony must have been a sight to see.
It was almost like a parade of wedding dresses walking through Central Park!
What was a special moment from the wedding day that you’ll always remember?
The designer of my dress was an importer designer from Spain, and the designer flew out to New York for my wedding day. He’s walking down the line of brides, and I could hear him saying, “I’m looking for my dress.” He said, “I flew here just to see you.” I was almost in tears.