Wedding Dresses & Style

Jillian H. Interview

posted: 01/17/11
Read more Read less
Jillian in her new wedding gown.See more pictures from Season 1.
More Features* TV Schedule, * Wedding Forum, * More tips from brides

When and where is your wedding?

Our military wedding will be on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007, at The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, in downtown Washington, D.C. The setting will be one of romance and magic, as it will be the first day of winter. The wedding is to be held in the late afternoon and will be a Roman Catholic ceremony with a full mass.

Our guests will then proceed across the river to Arlington, Va., for a reception at Top of the Town, a venue with breathtaking views of the national monuments. In addition, Top of the Town overlooks the Marine Corps Memorial, the site of our engagement. It is sure to be the most beautiful of days to us.

How did you meet your fiance?

My fiance and I met in a somewhat unusual way. Paul saw my picture and thought I was cute. But originally, he thought nothing would ever happen between us. After all, he had only seen a picture. Two months later, he took a chance and sent me a brief email on a Saturday night. I happened to go home early from a girls' night out, and found the email interesting. It was very brief, but there was something about it. So I took a chance, and replied right then and there.

He was a Marine, and I am a Marine Corps brat and thus hold the greatest respect for members of the military. I figured at the very least he was someone I could say thank you for your service to, if nothing else. He responded right back. So the entire night we exchanged emails, and then finally talked on the phone the next day. We met that Monday afternoon, and the rest was history from that day on.

My fiance later admitted that he went home from our date that night and told one of his buddies that he knew I was going to be trouble real quick. He told his friend he either needed to never see me again or he would probably end up marrying me. I'm very glad he chose to see me again!

How did he propose?

I love to be asked how my fiance proposed, because our love story doesn't follow the typical timetable. We met in January, he proposed in April, and we are marrying in December! To some, this may seem crazy and impulsive, but to us it is a lifelong commitment of love that we don't believe can be measured by days or months or even years. I must preface the story by saying that I knew the proposal was coming, and I even knew what day (both of these for wonderful reasons that are just too lengthy to explain). I loved knowing, though!

My fiance and I had an appointment to view a reception hall that day to get an early start. It was the only date available for weeks (and was scheduled before he decided that was the day he would ask for my hand). We had no choice but to keep the appointment, so my fiance, being the wonderful man that he is, incorporated it into his plans. So we kept our appointment, and anxiously viewed the room that would become our reception hall. The venue overlooks my favorite spot in the area, and so I just knew we would walk over and it would be there that he would propose. I was right. After our long appointment, we did indeed walk over to Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps Memorial, and its adjoining park.

To my fiance's dismay, just as we arrived buses and buses of tourists came pouring in and surrounded us everywhere. Paul is very private and didn't want to share our moment with tourists, so he walked me around and around the park, hoping the crowd would clear. It didn't. We continued to walk for over two hours, and my poor fiance was getting so upset and frustrated at the situation. Finally, the crowd parted and he immediately got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was a wonderful moment between the two of us! We then went to dinner and later shared a toast with my mom, who happened to be in town for business. The day and evening were perfect.

What were you looking for in a gown?

My requirements for a gown were very general. I wanted a dress that not only made me feel stunning, but that would render my fiance, who is a United States Marine, unable to catch his breath. It needed to have an incredible air of class and grace in order to match the magnificence of the dress blues that my fiance and my father will be wearing. The men in their uniforms gave me quite a high standard to compete with! My final wish was that the gowns I viewed be both appropriate and beautiful for my winter wedding.

Read more Read less
Jillian H.

Did you know anything about gowns before you had to shop for one?

I did know quite a bit about gowns before I began my shopping experience. In addition, before I began my search I brushed up on all the terminology to ensure that I would be able to have an intelligent conversation with my consultant. However, when you are there and trying on the gowns, almost everything flies out of your head momentarily. It is important to know the terms and types of gowns before shopping, particularly if you know what style generally works best on your body. But if you don't, your consultant will happily help you.

Why did you pick the gown you picked?

It is very different from what I always pictured myself in, and so I want to keep it a surprise, particularly for my fiance, until the day of our wedding. So I will just say, if you are not a member of my family, watch the show and as soon as you see the gown you will know why in a heartbeat! I will say this, though: the dress is breathtaking, and literally not only renders me speechless but makes me feel like I am the most beautiful woman in the world! I am so very blessed to have the honor of wearing my gown, and I want to thank everyone who was a part in both the design and in aiding me in my decision that day.

Did you stay within your budget?

Ultimately, I did stay within my budget. Budgeting for your gown is difficult. In fact, when my mother and I went to Kleinfeld, we hadn't even fully discussed a set budget. We both had a general price range in mind though. In the end, we did stay within our budget, but I will admit the gown was more than I had anticipated. My mother, on the other hand, knows me all too well. When we walked out of the store, I was so very thankful to my mother (and father) for the wonderful gift, and right then she let me in on a secret. She said that she had always known my dress would be the exact price we paid. It was a classic example of mother knows best!

What was the hardest part about shopping for a dress?

The hardest part about shopping for a dress was getting in and out of some of them! Most brides struggle over who to invite, etc., but that choice was easy for me! The first time I tried on gowns, I was amazed at how intricate a process it was to get them on and off. The simpler dresses turned out be the most difficult! Piece of advice: pay careful attention to how your consultant helps you in and out of the dress, and make sure the level of difficulty is a factor in your decision. The last thing you want the morning and night of your wedding is not to be able to get in - or out - of your dream dress!

Did you have any meltdowns?

That is an interesting question. I didn't have any meltdowns per se, but I was very emotional the first time I went to try on dresses. My mother, father and fiance all wanted to come, so I invited them all. I didn't realize just how emotional it would be for me, let alone how hard it would be to balance the emotions of all four of us, so I did have a few moments of tears that day. Throughout the planning process, I have shed a few more tears but all in all I have been lucky not to have had anything more than a few tears.

What tips would you give to brides-to-be?

For those brides-to-be out there, I have the following three tips just for you! First, remember that the only thing that matters is who you are walking to as you make your march down the aisle. The only thing you need to make your day perfect is him standing there waiting for you!

Second, remember that you don't need to completely sacrifice your dreams and wishes for you and your fiance's big day in order to please the masses. You can always find a way to balance your wishes and still be a gracious and hospitable bride. Lastly, when it comes to your gown, purchase the one that feels right. It may or not be the one you always dreamed of; if it is, great, but if not don't be afraid to make a new dream! An open mind is key to making the experience wonderful.

More on
Recommended for You