Hello, Maevens! You’ll never believe who we were lucky enough to sit down with today! One of America’s favorite (former) bachelorettes, Desiree Hartsock. The mother of two is living in Seattle with her husband, Chris Siegfried, while designing the bridal line of our dreams. If that’s not enough, this motivated momma is also the author of My Fairytale Wedding: Planning Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank, and a wedding blog that is full of helpful planning advice.
Read our interview with Des below to find out what inspired the line, what it’s been like starting her own business, and her advice for choosing the perfect dress for you! And make sure you check out the latest Maeven Box for even more of her expert shopping advice, like when to go, why you should never buy a dress based on a goal weight, how to accessorize for your dress style and much more!
What inspired you to design your own bridal line and what was that like?
I’ve wanted to design ever since I was in high school, but it wasn’t until I was at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merch) in Los Angeles that I discovered my love for bridal. It’s been a decade-long dream that I am so grateful to be able to see come true in my designs for Desiree Hartsock Bridal.
What are some of your favorite moments throughout the journey, and what have you learned along the way?
The best moments, of course, have been seeing actual brides wear my designs on their wedding day! Nothing can beat that feeling of joy to know that what I’m creating becomes a significant part of a bride’s special day. Some other favorite moments since starting my business have been meeting with like-minded business owners from the stores that carry my line and being inspired by so many other women in business. The lessons learned throughout this first year of business have been vital in the ability to grow, and to be honest, have been quite humbling. I think the biggest lesson for any small business is to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own, and to utilize those strengths in a smart way. Meaning, all aspects of business (whether it be marketing, production or admin) need to be done in the most effective way possible, and if the time or skill doesn’t allow that to happen by myself or a team member, then outsourcing for that particular department or project is vital for brand consistency and credibility.
What was your inspiration for the Heirloom, Wonder and Dreamcatcher collections?
My favorite part of designing, aside from sketching the designs, is getting inspired each season. My debut collection, Dreamcatcher, was inspired by the fact that I was chasing after my dream in starting Desiree Hartsock Bridal, and the free-spirited nature behind a dreamcatcher made the boho vibe I was going for come alive. As for the following collections, Wonder was an ode to creation and the wonders of nature, while Heirloom focused on the beauty of yesteryear, encompassing an old Hollywood glamour with vintage details.
What sets Desiree Hartsock dresses apart from the rest?
My design style favors a more effortless and free-spirited vibe that bridges the gap from streamline to boho. I believe a bride should be the sole focus on her wedding day, and my dresses illuminate the beauty of every figure while offering a comfortable silhouette for an all-day celebration.
With so many dress styles to choose from, where should brides even begin?
I always tell brides to keep an open mind when dress shopping. It’s not every day you shop for a gown, so it’s important to be open to trying on different styles and silhouettes. What might fit great in everyday clothes or what a bride has in mind may not always be what ends up looking the best on her figure. It’s really knowing what part of your shape you want to flatter and which ones you want to show off!
It’s also good to have an idea of the vibe you’re going for on your wedding day, whether that be glam, rustic, modern, simple, etc. This will help a stylist choose gowns in that vein for you when you do go shopping.
Do you have any advice for brides who are having trouble deciding between dresses? How do you know when it’s “the one”?
It happens more often than not that a bride can’t decide between two dresses. It’s always important to try them on back-to-back to see how you feel in each one, but also to play the day-of part by putting on heels, accessories, and a veil. Finishing the look for each will give a better idea of how each final look feels, to imagine yourself walking down the aisle. Imagining the day of, walking down the aisle to your groom, allows you as the bride to step out of indecision and a logical mind to a more emotional approach that will give you a more intuitive idea of which dress you can see yourself in.
Are there any major cost differences brides should keep in mind that material could affect?
Silk gowns, no matter the silk material (silk chiffon, silk satin, silk mikado, etc.), will cost a little more since you are paying for the luxury and quality of the material.
On that note, do you have any cost-saving tips?
If you know the designer you’re interested in, follow along on their website and try to make it to a trunk show at a store near you. Trunk shows are the opportunity to see more dresses from that designer, and oftentimes certain discounts or incentives are offered by the store during that time. (To check out Desiree’s upcoming trunk shows, visit www.desireehartsock.com/events/)
What photographs best?
Honestly, photographs depend highly on the photographer’s skill and style just as much as the dress itself. Silk dresses tend to have more luster, giving the overall gown a nice sheen that photographs well. I also feel like ivory colors are a bit softer on the lens and give a nice color overall in photos - over a stark white gown.
What are the best poses to show off your wedding dress in photos?
I’m no photographer or pose professional, but however you are feeling while taking photos will reflect in the final images you receive. If you feel uncomfortable with a pose, most likely you won’t end up liking those photos of yourself. So however you feel the most natural and the most beautiful, go with it and the photos will be everything you want.
Desiree Hartsock Bridal debuted in 2017 and is currently available in 9 states and Canada. Check out her beautiful bridal collection and blog at www.desireehartsock.com.