The Bride: Jessica Grutkowski, a 27-year-old public relations account supervisor
Her Gown: Justina McCaffrey Haute Couture, Alexia II
Her Story:"I really wanted an ethereal, nontraditional gown with cap sleeves—but no sequins or colored sashes and nothing poufy. I was inspired by Melissa Sweet's gowns because they are so beautiful and delicate. The first salon I visited was RK Bridal in New York City, a discount bridal boutique. After trying on a dozen different styles, I realized that I actually loved the way strapless gowns look on me. I did confirm however that I did not like the look of sequins. I also learned that I preferred bright white over off-white gowns.
Next I checked out Bergdorf Goodman. I brought my mom along and we were given a private dressing room. The saleswoman brought me a series of Melissa Sweet gowns to try on, as well as an Angel Sanchez dress—all of them elegant, but not totally traditional. I ended up falling in love with the majority of the gowns I tried on—my favorites were a simple lacy Melissa Sweet gown and the Angel Sanchez gown, which had an amazing sweetheart neckline with tiered layers of silk all the way down to the floor. The only problem: Both of the dresses were over $5,000. I decided to hold off.
The third salon I visited was Kleinfeld Bridal. This time, I brought my mom and bridesmaids with me. Like Bergdorf's, the staff at Kleinfeld made me feel like I was the only girl in the store (when in reality, there were a ton!) The first dress I tried on was one the saleswoman brought in—a silk-satin strapless gown with pickup skirt by Justina McCaffrey. The moment I put it on I felt amazing—even with no makeup! It fit perfectly in all of the right places, and both my bridesmaids and my mom agreed that this was the one. I continued to try on more dresses, but we all found ourselves comparing them to the Justina McCaffrey gown. I decided to try it on one last time. When I turned around, everyone had tears in their eyes—it was an incredibly special moment. On my wedding day, I never felt so beautiful. The dress was so light and easy to manage, I never wanted to take it off. It was the quintessential princess dress." —Lauren Matthews