02/07/2012 12:31 pm ET Updated Apr 08, 2012

Searching For A Dress

As a designer who works directly with many of her customers, I am witness to a whole range of intimate emotions and experiences. Many of them are beautiful, touching moments. But then there's the difficulty of watching the brides who torment themselves in their search for the perfect wedding dress. Watching a bride's pursuit of her dress is not unlike observing the approach that many people use when searching for their future spouse and soul mate.

A woman may fall in love with the first dress she ever tries on. She may travel far and wide to other boutiques and try on many other dresses but she knows that if she is continually comparing all the other dresses to her love for the first dress, she should purchase the first dress. She's the woman who traveled the world and came home to marry her high school sweetheart.

Sometimes a bride chooses a dress even though there are better choices for her figure and the type of wedding she's planning. She knows in her heart that something is pulling her to choose the dress that will do less for her. In a sense a dress that does not equal her exceptionalness. How many of us settle for someone who's a place holder instead of the fulfillment of a dream?

Sometimes the timing may be off and she may purchase the dress years before her wedding, perhaps before she even meets her husband or thinks of marrying. On the flipside, she may become distraught with anxiety knowing that she only has a few months before her wedding and she has still not found 'The One,' the dress, that is. She's like the woman who hasn't found her husband and worries about the maternal urgings of her biological clock.

There is also the unrequited love of being deeply love with a dress that does not love the bride back. She loves certain features of it, perhaps the clever embroidery, the magnificent beadwork, or the sumptuous Calais lace; but the stiff netting inside draws blood from her hipline and the metal bone pierces her heart like dull tailoring shears, and the bodice is cut so that it suffocates her. Thus, the dress that she loves deceives and wounds her. In fact the dress takes on an even more malicious bearing because the woman still loves it immensely even though it is four times over her already stretched budget, and she is now trying to sell her car because love can make one crazy.

I believe that there is a perfect dress for every bride. In a way, the wedding dress symbolizes or personifies the bride's relationship with her groom. Often brides mingle and endure the winding facades of appointments to find the right dress, the one that she loves now and she has faith that she will love in the future. She takes a risk that it will be perfect at the wedding and years later when looking at her wedding photos with grandchildren. The dress may change in her mind the way fashion and the world changes, but there should be a fidelity and an everlasting love.

Ultimately there is one dress, and one husband, and it is in that definitive decision that it becomes very important and fretful at the same time.

Justina McCaffrey will be making a personal appearance at her trunk show on February 24th-26th at Mon Amie Bridal Salon, Costa Mesa, CA.