My name is Jessica Silvester, and I’m an assistant editor at O, The Oprah Magazine. When I first set out to find my wedding dress, I thought it would be relatively easy. My overall wedding outlook was laid-back and non-bridezilla-like. I love clothes. I love white dresses of every kind —short, long, beachy, fancy, cotton, lace—there’s something so inherently fresh and easy about them. And I’ve never been an indecisive shopper; I can tell the minute I slip something on (often before even looking in a mirror) whether a clothing item has the look and feel I’m going for in that particular moment. If it’s a little off, I move on, and usually succeed at the second or third store.
But I went to about 10 bridal shops in New York—trying on a handful of gowns each time—and the chemistry wasn’t there. I knew I wanted a silhouette that was fluid and ethereal, but also body-conscious; I didn’t want fussy ornamentation (beading, bows), but enough embellishment to offer a subtle glow, and those touches that make a dress even more special upon closer inspection. The gowns by British designer Jenny Packham almost matched my vision, but I also have a big bust, and I ran into trouble with the plunging necklines and low-backs of her designs; I needed something more supportive. As my criteria seemed increasingly unrealistic as a whole, I was ready to surrender some of them.
But the Amsale staff made me feel like it was possible for one wedding gown to incorporate all my dream-details. From the moment I met Emily, it was clear that she was sharp and intuitive, and a great listener. I let out a stream of consciousness as she walked me to various showroom samples, and she picked up on likes and dislikes I didn’t even realize I had. I already felt well taken of when Emily turned me over to Amsale, to work with her personally. It was surreal. I was simultaneously star-struck and reassured that my dress quest would have a happy ending.
Throughout the custom-design process, I gained a first-hand appreciation of Amsale’s expert eye. She translated some of my gown ideas exactly; others (perhaps when I was getting a bit too fixated on trends and “edginess”), she guided me in a slightly different direction, towards a finished product I would still love decades down the road. In the end, I felt so alive in her creation, like the best of myself—and I guess that’s all I ever really wanted.