We've said it before and we will probably say it again: we really love Desiree Hartsock. A former Bachelorette, this up-and-coming wedding dress designer (check out this sneak peek of her new collection with Maggie Sottero) and engaged gal is sweet, personable and obviously talented. We're actually not sure if we love her or her elegant designs more — but when we figure it out we'll let you know! We had another chance to learn a little bit more about what makes this woman tick, as well as what it feels like to design her very own wedding and reception dresses. But enough about us. Let's hear from Desiree.

Former Bachelorette Desireee Hartsock engagement photos

What was the first piece of clothing that you designed?

The first time I ever asked my mom to show me how to sew I was about 10 or 11. That was the first time I ever sewed from a pattern. The first time I ever designed was in high school and I used to design and make dresses in high school for my friends’ prom and stuff like that. I’ve always wanted to design.

Is there any one thing that you always carry with you?

Maybe chapstick. I don’t carry much in my purse, so maybe that. And a pen. My mind is always working, so if I want to write something down or I have an idea, I keep that there so I can put my thoughts down.

Is there an place that inspires you to create?

I’m really inspired by nature and the quiet of nature. Living in L.A. and Orange County it was really nice to just go straight to the beach. It helps clear my mind. The hustle and bustle of the day can really get in the way and for inspiration it’s really nice to just be alone and kind of be one with my sketchbook.

How did you get into the bridal fashion industry?

In high school, when I first decided that I wanted to go into fashion design I was actually more interested in doing red carpet. More like sheath-style, nice silk gowns. And then after going to FIDM I realized how much I loved bridal. It’s still along the same lines of design as red carpet, but I enjoyed the intricate details of it so much. I love the beading and the lace – it’s almost like a piece of art. It intrigued me and ever since then I’ve really gone full throttle straight to bridal. It’s a lot of fun.

What is the one thing every bride needs to have with her on her wedding day?

Her wedding ring and her husband. Besides that, a smile on her face. The couple that’s getting married really sets the tone for the entire wedding. If they’re having a good time, then everyone else is having a good time.

You’re working on a collaboration with Maggie Sottero – what do you want a woman to feel when she’s wearing one of your gowns down the aisle?

I want this bride to be comfortable, but also feel very elegant and beautiful. Every bride on her wedding day wants to feel the most beautiful she’s ever felt in her entire life. These dresses are really reflective of that, and have the elegant and the glam mixed in with a romantic feel. I want this bride to feel good in these gowns.

As a designer and a bride-to-be, what type of style did you want to capture for your own dress?

It was actually really hard to figure out the ceremony dress – because I’m going to have a ceremony and reception dress. I think the reception dress came a little easier because it’s more along the lines of my design style, and because I wanted to be comfortable out on the floor and dancing with Chris. But I wanted the ceremony gown to be a little bit more grand and a little bit more romantic, so that’s the direction I was leaning toward. I wanted it to be a modern take on a traditional idea.

What advice do you have for other brides when they’re choosing their own dress.

Just from experience, it really comes down to what you feel the absolute best in. It may not be what you had in mind, so I would say be open minded. When you first go into a bridal salon, a lot of times you have this grand idea in your head and sometimes it’s not going to be that because you find something that just suits you a little better. So it’s really important to just be open-minded about the possibilities.

What do you like to do when you’re not designing?

When I’m not designing I still love being creative. I stay busy writing, doing the blog. When I’m not working or doing anything, Chris and I just love to be outside.

Are there specific trends you like to include in your designs or that you see upcoming?

The trends right now are kind of what my design style has always been. I’m just trying to take a different spin on the vintage and color trends that we’ve been seeing.

Engagement photo by Giving Tree Photography