Bride Jen from 'Say Yes to the Dress': Wedding Planning vs. Being an Army Medic

Jennifer Hatcher, featured on 'Say Yes to the Dress', tells BettyConfidential what it's like to plan a wedding when your husband-to-be's about to get shipped off t

Bride Jennifer from ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ on Wedding Planning vs. Being an Army Medic

Jennifer Hatcher, featured on the new season of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’, tells BettyConfidential what it’s like to plan a wedding when your husband-to-be is about to get shipped off to Afghanistan.

-April Daniels Hussar

 Say Yes to the Dress

Have you seen any of the past seasons of Say Yes to the Dress? Oh my friends, if not, you are in for a treat … I found it strangely addictive and once spent the better part of an entire day compulsively watching episodes back-to-back on Netflix. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The new season is upon us (airing Friday January 6th at 9:30 PM ET/PT), and I got to have a quick e-chat with one of the brides today. Jennifer Hackett, the beauty in the photo above, is an Army medic who is “in a rush to walk down the aisle because her fiancé is about to be redeployed to Afghanistan.” Talk about pressure!

How does the stress of planning a wedding compare with the stress of your work as an army medic? Seems like it would be a piece of cake!
They are two very different types of stress… as a medic during a traumatic event, you learn to focus on the task and turn off your emotions. The stress of planning a wedding is very personal: family disputes with guest lists, financial woes, the clash between my fantasy wedding and the reality of what is available and affordable. It is pretty hard to ignore your emotions concerning the single most important day of your single life, especially in a drawn-out process of several months!

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How did your husband-to-be’s pending deployment to Afghanistan affect the wedding planning process? Was he able to be involved at all?
[It] did condense our planning process quite a bit. I knew I didn’t want to wait until after Bryan came back to make it official. It definitely felt like he proposed and then we were immediately behind the power curve according to every wedding planning checklist I had! During the entire planning process was very involved. He had a lot of fun helping me decide between different vendors and trouble-shooting whenever I happened upon a mini-crisis. He would have helped me pick out the dress if I had allowed him to!

So, how important was finding the right dress to you?
Every girl should get to experience looking for her dress at a place like Kleinfeld. I felt like a princess and it was very surreal. Finding the perfect dress at a good price was definitely a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but when it comes down to it I knew then and I know now that it’s just a dress. I would have married Bryan in a flour sack if I had to.

Who’s been the most helpful person to you in the process of finding your dress?
I was very prepared when it came to the wedding details. For over a year before he proposed I had been putting magazine pictures together into a notebook, so I already knew pretty much what I wanted. My wonderful father surprised me by paying for my dress and both veils. If he hadn’t done that, I may have had to sacrifice the veil or rethink my dress choice in order to keep within my budget. Not having to make concessions on the dress that I wanted really made the process so much smoother and enjoyable. My consultant Diane was amazing and both Randy and my Maid of Honor Melissa Hykes were right there to raise eyebrows and laugh me out of the less attractive options.

How did you stay sane with all the wedding planning?
One word: Bryan. He was always there to talk me down from a theoretical ledge when I was starting to go a little bridezilla. He took as much of the planning burden as I would let him, and he was very involved in visiting the sites, meeting the vendors tasting the menu. It was great to have someone to vent to and brainstorm with who was as invested in the process as I was.

What’s the most fun part of wedding planning?
I really enjoyed finding the dress, but deep down I’m a shoe woman. My heart wears stiletto heels and the most fun I had during the wedding planning was making my own wedding shoes! They looked amazing with my beautiful dress!

Was it fun to share this process with an audience? Would you do it again?
You know, I hardly noticed the cameras and crew during filming. They were very unobtrusive and I appreciated that I didn’t feel like I was on stage the whole time. I really loved being a part of the show and everyone was so nice. My family and friends and all of their family and friends are so excited to watch the show. I would without a doubt do it again!

What advice would you give to brides planning their own weddings and searching for their own dresses?
Don’t sweat the petty stuff. You have to be prepared for the reality vs. fantasy clash and realize that no one else will notice the napkins aren’t the right color or the ribbons on the favors don’t match the ribbons on the invitations. When I got too stressed during planning I’d remind myself, “Bryan will be there and I will be there … and we’re gonna make this look GOOD!”

Aww! That’s about the best wedding planning advice I’ve ever heard.

April Daniels Hussar is BettyConfidential’s Executive Editor, and a one-time Bridezilla.


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