Interview by Whitney Johnson. Written by Elizabeth Kim.

Fans were overjoyed when Desiree Hartsock, who finished as fourth runner-up on Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor, was named the next Bachelorette. The bubbly brunette captured our hearts even more as we watched her search for true love.  It was a gift from Chris Siegfried — a journal filled with a heartfelt message to her and poetry he had written — that ultimately convinced her that she had found her Mr. Right. Following his moving proposal in Antigua, the couple moved in together in Seattle, Washington, and are enjoying their life as an engaged couple.

Related Link: Desiree Hartsock Says ‘Love Can Be Unpredictable’

She happily admits that there haven’t been any rude awakenings and attributes their success so far to good communication. “From our time getting to know each other on the show as well as seeing each other while the show was airing, we had a great idea of what it would be like living together,” she explains. “We work well together because we already disclosed all of our little quirks.”

They’re also lucky enough to live close to Bachelor alums Jason and Molly Mesnick. “They have been so great to us, and it’s nice to share a common bond. We’ll get together with them whenever possible for dinner or even just to hang at their house with Riley, their adorable baby girl.”

Although Hartsock may be best known for her role on The Bachelorette, she’s also an accomplished designer. While working toward a degree in fashion design, she fell in love with the bridal industry and eventually worked as a stylist in various bridal salons. She also worked for a plus-size women’s contemporary brand that gave her the experience and appreciation of designing clothes that flattered all shapes. She even designed and created the dress she wore to fellow Bachelor stars Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici’s wedding.

Related Link: Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici’s Wedding

After devoting so much of her life to the bridal industry, some may think that Hartsock feels pressured to have the ultimate wedding. But true to her easygoing nature, she isn’t stressing over every detail. With an engagement party coming up in a few weeks, the couple are in the beginning stages of planning their nupitals. “We are working on setting a date,” she shares. And lucky for fans, “We’re open to having it televised and still planning for the fall.” As if the prospect of a televised wedding wasn’t daunting enough, she also plans to design both her wedding and reception dresses.

Hartsock is working with award-winning designer Maggie Sottero to help her visions come to life. “I have worked with many designers in the past and found that Maggie Sottero is the most sought-after designer because of the company’s commitment to ensuring a bride’s happiness as well as providing the best fit possible.” She coyly adds that, while she doesn’t want to give too many details away, one thing is for sure: “Both dresses will reflect my personality in different ways. I love to dance and be comfortable, so my reception gown will cater to that, while the ceremony gown will be more romantic.”

Given her reality television past, she knows what Juan Pablo Galavis, who competed for Hartsock’s heart, and the current season’s Bachelor hopefuls are experiencing. Of the remaining ladies, she says, “There is definitely chemistry with Nikki, Andi, and Renee as well as with Clare. I don’t like to choose favorites, but I do like Renee’s demeanor and personality.” No matter who Galavis picks, Hartsock advises the women to focus on their potential future with Galavis, not worry about the other girls.

Related Link: Why Confidence is So Important in Dating

It certainly takes a level of  self-assurance to be vulnerable in front of millions of viewers, but Hartsock believes that confidence is key to finding love on or off the screen. “My advice is to know your self-worth and what you deserve, to be confident in who you are, to let him pursue you, to be independent and not desperate, and to be yourself.”

With such a dismal track record, past Bachelors and Bachelorettes may also want to heed the designer’s advice for dealing with broken hearts. “The way that I have always gotten over breakups is knowing that things happen for a reason, and no matter the circumstance, there is always something more or better to come,” she says. “Although it can be really tough to do, it’s important to hold on to the hope that there is someone out there who will be everything you deserve and more and to not dwell in the hurt or past, but keep pushing forward with each new day.”

To learn more about Hartsock, visit her website. The Bachelor airs on Monday nights on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.