Love is in the air, and bells are ringing in the ears of brides everywhere. When a lady is planning her wedding, the burning question is usually, “What will I wear?” Many brides are choosing to buck the bridal tradition of sifting through dozens -- or even hundreds -- of starched and bleached designs stored in wedding gown warehouses. Instead, they’re opting to personalize the dress they’ll wear when they say “I do.”

 “The first question I ask a bride is, ‘How do you want to feel that day?’” says designer Jennifer Butler. “Maybe she wants to feel like a princess, or maybe she wants to dance on the tables all night long. Knowing that informs the design. Or sometimes, they’ll bring in pictures of dresses they like. I’m not in the business of copying someone else’s design, but I can talk to the bride, find out what it is she loves about each dress and come up with something unique from there. If the only thing she knows is the location, I can come up with a bunch of riffs off of that. You won’t wear the same gown to a beach wedding as you would to a downtown Manhattan wedding.” For those needing further inspiration, Jennifer has a rack of gowns she’s shown previously displayed in her Fairfield atelier, along with a book cataloguing most of her bridal work.

But move beyond the fairytale and you'll discover that weddings are big business in the U.S. Gowns alone are a two billion dollar a year industry, according to statistics from the CDC and a 2009 study conducted by, which found that the average wedding dress in America clocks in at $1,075.00. So, apart from the sentimental aspect, there’s a real financial incentive to get exactly the dress you want.

“I can work around people’s schedules and their budgets,” says Jennifer, citing a range of prices for gowns she’s recently designed. “I did a very simple, elegant dress for around $1,000.00. And I’m doing one right now with a lot of embroidered organza for around $2,600. It depends on the look you want.” Jennifer also reminds brides that any white dress needs to be triple lined, to avoid being transparent. “No matter what you do, even if you’re a size two, you’re talking about ten yards of fabric.”

Jennifer’s capabilities reach beyond constructing beautiful, custom-made bridal gowns. She also lends her expertise to mother-of-the-bride dresses and bridesmaid dresses. She can even outfit your groom.

“I’m a big fan of the vest for the groom and groomsmen. You know he won’t keep his jacket on all night, unless the party is really horrible,” laughs Jennifer. “Without a vest, he’ll take off his jacket and look just like a waiter.” To avoid this nuptial fashion faux pas, Jennifer can custom design vests for your beau and his wedding day entourage.

So brides, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your perfect dress is out there. It may just not have been made yet. Jennifer Butler can help bring it to life. Call her at to schedule your appointment.

How much effort did you spend on finding the perfect dress for your big day? Share your wedding style secrets here, or email me at mmorelli@mainstreetconnect.