How Jewelry Designer Hart Hagerty Made Her Dream Wedding Dress into a Reality

By Alexandra Macon
I knew I wanted to have my wedding reception at my childhood home in downtown Charleston. The house, filled with parent’s art and antiques, was built in 1774 and it contrasts beautifully with the Alhambra-inspired garden.

Hart Hagerty, the designer behind those cult tassel earrings you’ve seen on all of your friends, always pictured herself getting married in a boho dress. “A loose-fitting number with lace, ruffles, layers, something vintage,” she describes of her ideal wedding look. But after getting engaged last year and shopping around several bridal boutiques, she realized she didn’t actually want to look like a bohemian bride on her wedding day.

Instead, she found herself drawn to that iconic photograph of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy stepping out of the chapel with John F. Kennedy Jr. “There is so much love between them, and her dress doesn’t distract from that intimate moment,” Hart adds. “She looks fully herself. No embellishment. I ended up loving the sensual simplicity of her gown and wanted to replicate that.”

Once again, Hart started the dress search, but this time with something completely different in mind. She ended up finding exactly what she was looking for at the Gown Collective, a store in Charleston that sells sample gowns from other bridal boutiques. “I’ve always loved vintage clothing over brand new shiny things, but Charleston’s vintage selection is incredibly limited,” she explains. “The Gown Collective’s model of selling sample gowns was the next best sustainable option.” Hart enlisted her friend and unofficial stylist Hamida Ravenel for help finding “the one,” and as soon as they picked the dress, she headed to bridal designer Emily Kotarski for personal alterations.

“I definitely wanted my dress to be sexy and slinkier,” Hart says of the alteration process. “Emily had the idea of lowering the back even more, so that the cowl would fall over the small of my back. She also took in the dress at my hips and waist to create a curvier silhouette. I was originally going to remove the crystals on the shoulders, but we decided to keep them for a little extra sparkle.” The final result, which Hart will debut at her wedding this weekend, is a mix between Great Gatsby glamour and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy minimalism.

The day will kick off with a ceremony at the French Huguenot church in Charleston. “One of my favorite parts of my wedding was writing my own vows with John,” Hart explains. “We brainstormed a template together over coffee in bed one morning, and then wrote them privately. I cried the whole time writing them.” 

Aside from coming up with their personal vows, another special part of Hart’s wedding planning process was dreaming up the design for the reception, which will take place in the same house she grew up in in downtown Charleston. “I’ve had a vision for this probably my whole life, and it was enchanting to see how my friend and wedding planner Kristin Doggett of Desired and Inspired brought it to life,” she says. “I feel so lucky to get married at my childhood home, and have it transformed into an exotic wonderland for our reception. We’re going to have a disco ball, hanging bronze stars, a checkered dance floor, Moroccan carpets, large lanterns, and candles everywhere—the ingredients for the party of a lifetime!”

Follow Hart Hagerty on Instagram, and check back in the next few weeks for her full wedding feature on Over the Moon.