Meet the Designer Behind the Mystery Bride's Dress from the Season Finale of 'Modern Family'

(Source: ABC; Melissa Sweet for David's Bridal Lacquered Lace Ball Gown with Illusion Neckline, $1,200 $700, at David's Bridal)Last week, the season five finale of Modern Family marked a milestone for one of our favorite fictional families: partners Mitch (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) finally tied the knot. While all couples face the same stresses when planning a wedding, theirs was especially emotional and comical, thanks to the sitcom-worthy hiccups they experienced on the way to the altar.

(Source: ABC)Case in point: a fair-weathered bride barging in to reclaim the venue she canceled, before deciding her wedding was back on. We spoke with the woman behind her feminine frock: Melissa Sweet, a Costa Rica-based bridal designer who also has a line of lower-priced wedding dress at David's Bridal, including the one seen on the show ($700).

Bridal Designer Melissa Sweet
On her personal style: “It’s changed, as I’m a mom and [now] live in Costa Rica. I’ve noticed that I rarely wear black—in my days living and working in New York, I wore a lot of black. My style really reflects my lifestyle now, which is more relaxed and is a softer life at a more graceful tempo, so I’m more fluid and feminine than edgy.”

On her start in bridal design: “I think I was destined actually. I came to do it. I started sewing when I was five, and I started designing and making my own clothes when I was seven. And white has always been my favorite thing to work with; I never get tired of it. I’ve always loved special occasion dressing, and after I graduated design school, I had the opportunity to work with some brides and it just clicked. I loved that process, to design gowns for brides and work with them as they go through that time. That was it; I just knew this is what I’m going to do.”

On inspiration: “I always say, ‘Close your mind, and miss a thought.’ Because it comes from everywhere. Personally, I love to go for a walk in the jungle, where I live, and the flora and fauna is just an endless source of texture and inspiration and glory and beauty.”

(Source: Melissa Sweet for David's Bridal Corded Lace Trumpet Gown with Ruffle Detail, $1,200)
Bridal dressing is no longer costuming; it has become truly occasional dressing with the expression of personal style.
- Melissa Sweet
On her own wedding gown: “My design aesthetic has always been vintage-inspired. I pull details and make them very modern, feminine and whimsical. For my own dress, I actually stumbled upon this little store in Costa Rica, near the town where I live, and a crate had arrived of leftover things from Salvation Armies and thrift stores in the states. They had this bin of all these hand-knitted doilies—one had two birds on it and looked like it had probably laid on some sweet lady’s mantle—and handkerchiefs and tatting. I sewed on seashells, ceramic beads and antler buttons from my father. And then the skirt was just pieces that I loved that I had collected over the years from my time traveling the world and buying fabrics. I had point d’esprit from Italy, lace from France, silks from the orients—just all of my favorite things. It really was a reflection of my life; I got married up in the mountains in Primary Forest [also in Costa Rica] on a big farm up there. It all just kind of came together, and I was queen of the forest for that day."

On the most rewarding part of her job:
“My work actually takes on a bigger meaning. I design dresses but they don’t become bridal gowns until a bride wears them. That’s what's satisfying: that brides wear them and identify with them, and see them as a vehicle to express themselves on their wedding day and feel amazing.”

Her advice for brides-to-be: “This [the dress and planning] is not who you are. This is supposed to be fun. Let this be fun, and remember that whether you chose pink accessories or turquoise, it ultimately just doesn’t matter. Whatever you like is what you like. Go have fun: It’s your wedding day.”
Associate Editor at StyleBistro. California native, Brooklyn resident & country girl at heart. Follow me on Twitter: @katie_ddavidson Follow me: Google