Finding a Luxurious Wedding Dress that Is Affordable

Finding a Luxurious Wedding Dress that Is Affordable

The secret to finding a wedding dress that looks more expensive than it is

Learn how to balance cost and quality while avoiding unflattering dresses that look cheap
If you’ve started shopping for a wedding dress, it’s likely you’ve had at least one experience where you were excited to try a dress, but it looked nothing like you imagined when you put it on.

We’ve all been there. You see a piece of clothing that looks promising online or on the hanger, but it looks cheap and unflattering when you try it on.

Sometimes you know you’re dealing with a cheap knock-off, so you’re okay with admitting defeat. Other times the item, like a wedding dress, is expensive. It doesn’t make sense that it looks cheap.

Yet, once a bride has had this experience a few times, she often thinks the problem is her budget. The more expensive the dress is, the more flattering it will be.
Price, however, isn’t the best search criteria. Why? Because there are oodles of poorly made wedding dresses that are overpriced.

If you want to find a wedding dress that looks more expensive than it is, you need to look to attributes that are more directly correlated with how a dress looks and how high its quality is. Below we discuss the three most important attributes to consider.

What makes a wedding dress look expensive?

1.Styles that are modern and timeless

Whether you consider yourself a fashionista or not, your wedding dress purchase is a fashion choice. We view fashion choices in the context of what’s relevant – current trends and timeless classics. Dresses that fall outside of these categories look dated and unflattering, because they aren’t relevant anymore. Since the fashion world discounts and replaces such things, we naturally see these styles as cheap.

This seems like common sense, but many bridal shops talk brides into dated styles by calling them “classic.”

Even among true classics and on-trend dresses, you can end up with a cheap look. To avoid this, keep the following in mind.

On-trend wedding dresses should incorporate current fashion trends, but they shouldn’t be copycats of famous wedding gowns. Copycats attempt to recreate a one-of-a-kind designer runway gown or a celebrity’s dress. The problem is the replica never matches the original, especially if there’s a celebrity association. If you want an expensive looking wedding dress and your inspiration is a famous gown, look for common features instead of an entire design that looks similar.

With classic wedding dress styles, beware they won’t look timeless if they’re made from material that doesn’t work well with the design. More on this later. Another thing to consider is that some classic styles look more expensive when given a modern twist. This might mean using a slightly different cut or fabric than the original design used. Look for modern classics that have been thoughtfully tweaked.

2.Materials that work well with the dress design

Fabric and embellishments can make or break how expensive a dress looks. Fabric determines major aspects of a dress like its silhouette and how well it will fit you when properly tailored. Embellishments influence important qualities like a dress’ visual balance and whether certain features draw the intended amount of attention.

As with other types of clothing, certain materials work well with certain styles. When material doesn’t work well, a dress design that could be stunning becomes an unflattering dress that looks cheap.

But how do you know if the material is working well?

Sit and move in dresses when you try them on. You do more than stand on your wedding day. Look at how the material responds to typical activity. Does the material wrinkle easily? Does its color change in areas of the room with different lighting? When you stand or move a certain way, does the beading or fabric pucker awkwardly? Do you see any evidence of pulls forming? Does the dress maintain its shape when you stand after sitting?

It’s also helpful to learn about common wedding dress materials and their properties, so you know how they should look, feel and act. That will make it easier for you to spot poor quality materials. Or, consult a bridal shop that has personalized service and can walk you through the types of materials, what they look like, and which designs tend to use them. If a retailer can’t offer help on this topic, find another store.

High quality material that is suited to a wedding gown’s style should maintain its integrity under normal wedding activity. This consistency makes the dress look more flattering and flawless, which makes it look more expensive.

3.Craftsmanship in the dress-making process

Have you ever accidentally bought a piece of clothing with a seam or stitching that isn’t straight? The clothing always looks a little off – veering slightly sideways or coming up a bit short on one side.

Alessandra_2This happens with wedding dresses too, especially when they’re mass produced. Poor assembly leads to a low-quality look. It’s generally the result of a machine that wasn’t calibrated properly, an unskilled laborer, or using a machine for a task that requires handcrafting.

Since most wedding dress shops claim they have high quality products, look beyond their claims. It’s easy to miss assembly flaws at first, only to find them later when you already own the dress. You need to look for tangible evidence of craftsmanship to learn who’s is really selling high-quality dresses.

The good news is you don’t have to be a professional to spot assembly flaws that indicate poor quality. Simply look at things like seams, hems, stitching, how beads are fastened, and whether texture and patterns are balanced or straight.

On the outside of the dress, focus on the materials. Are the beads sewn or glued? Are any of them looser or tighter than they should be? What about the fabric? Does it have any puckers that indicate a piece of cloth was cut or stitched together wrong? Does the fabric’s pattern or grain appear to be lined up evenly? Are textures balanced?

Since bridal shops expect you to look at the outside, pay even closer attention to the inside. Don’t just check the inner most part either. Reverse dress layers and look at their back. Ask yourself if anything looks sloppy. Are the hem and seam stitches straight? Is there an overabundance of thread? Is anything unraveling? Do you see something glued that should be sewn?

If the craftsmanship checks out, the dress will look more expensive, because it’s truly made better.

How to find bridal shops that carry reasonably priced wedding dresses that look expensive

Inspecting dresses like we discussed does take extra time. You can make the process more efficient by targeting shops that have better production processes.

When you’re researching bridal shops, look for indications that the dresses a shop carries are under strict quality control. Are they produced at in-house facilities? Is handcrafting used, or is the dress entirely machine made? This may be stated directly on the store’s website, or you might have to research the brands they carry.

Once you’ve identified a few promising shops, call and ask them about the dress lines they carry and how they’re made. If the person on the phone gets annoyed or squirrely, cross that store off your list.

A bridal shop should be able to give you a clear answer. For instance, at VIERO we have wedding dress lines we design and produce ourselves at in-house facilities where handcrafting is part of the process. We also carry wedding dresses from other designers that our founder personally vets for high quality in design, material and production.

If you want a dress that looks more expensive than it is, don’t look at price alone and don’t take quality claims at face value. Look at what’s behind the claims.

When You Can’t Find the Perfect Dress

When You Can’t Find the Perfect Dress

What to do when you can’t find the perfect wedding dress

If you can’t find the perfect wedding dress, you probably haven’t considered all your options

Remember when you started shopping for your wedding dress? You were so hopeful. Hunting for the perfect wedding dress was exciting. But now it’s exhausting and disappointing. How do so many bridal shops exist when they’re all selling the same dresses?

You know you can’t be the only bride who’s ever faced this dilemma, but it feels like it. None of the salespeople you meet offer real help. Instead they try to persuade you that whatever dress you just tried on – and didn’t like – looks amazing! Friends and family encourage you to keep looking and say you’ll look perfect in anything. Sweet but not helpful!

The more time that passes, the more you worry about having to settle for a mediocre dress. You start wondering what else you could do, where else you could go, and whether there’s another option beyond the typical wedding dress shopping experience.

Good news: there is! In this post, we discuss how to improve your odds of finding the perfect wedding dress and whether a custom wedding dress is the best option for you.

How to find the perfect wedding dress in a bridal store

If you haven’t found the perfect wedding dress, make sure you’re using the best shopping approach.

You may feel like you’ve seen every dress out there, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to miss out on the perfect dress if you haven’t fully prepared for the shopping experience.

We recommend brides use a three-step process to prepare themselves for wedding dress shopping. Since you’re already shopping, we recommend you review this process below to see if you’ve overlooked any steps. If you have, use this as an exercise to create more well-defined wedding dress and bridal shop criteria. Then restart your shopping applying what you’ve learned.

  1. Understand your wedding dress logistics

    To avoid buyer’s remorse, you need to think about the context you’ll wear your dress in.
    Think about your wedding location, timing and activities. Are there any dress styles or features that won’t work, or that might work better, because of things like weather, dance choreography or outdoor obstacles?
    Also think about your body features. Which features would you like to highlight or downplay?

  2. Figure out what you want in a wedding dress

    With the logistics from step 1 in mind, find photos of dresses you like on some level. You don’t need to like the whole dress. Instead identify specific features you like and why.
    Learn industry lingo that might help salespeople understand more precisely what you’re looking for.
    Make a list of potential features you want in your dress based on your research. Make sure it’s in a format you can bring to bridal shops and share with their salespeople.

  3. Find a wedding dress shop that wants to help you

    Without the help of someone more experienced, it can be difficult to look at a wedding dress on a rack and see how it captures what you want.
    Look for a bridal shop that provides personalized service. Generally, they are the most experienced when it comes to identifying dresses that incorporate what you like.
    For instance, at VIERO, you must book an appointment to shop at one of our flagship boutiques. This ensures you have the undivided attention of someone who will listen to what you want and will translate that into the best matching dress choices.

For a more detailed version of this approach, including more shopping tips, check out our post on how to find an unforgettable off-the-rack wedding dress.

If you’ve done all of this but are still struggling, it’s probably safe to say you’ve exhausted your off-the- rack options. But don’t worry. There’s a plan B. Keep reading.

How to know if a custom wedding dress is your best option

Creating a custom wedding dress is a great way to get exactly what you want, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Below are questions to ask yourself before you decide a custom wedding dress is your best option.

Do I have enough time to have a custom wedding dress made?

At VIERO, our custom wedding dress process takes about 5-6 months from the day you start the process. Assuming you’ve already gathered inspiration for your dress using the process we recommended above, you’ll easily stay within this timing window.

Keep in mind that it’s difficult to create a high-quality wedding dress that is handcrafted from a truly custom design on a shorter timeline. Beware of bridal companies that offer shorter turnaround times. They’re likely to overcharge you for a low-quality dress that isn’t completely custom.

In addition to the 5-6 month window, leave yourself an extra 6 weeks for alterations. Even though your custom dress is made to your exact measurements, it’s common for brides to experience weight fluctuation ahead of their big day.

Can I afford a custom wedding dress with my budget?

Custom wedding dress costs vary depending on the design and materials involved. Some materials cost more than others. Some designs cost more, because they’re more intricate and take more time to execute.

At VIERO, we tell clients to be prepared to spend $4,000-6,000. At some ateliers, you can easily spend as much as you would on a car, but we aim for approachable luxury. We established our own in-house design team and production shop to perfect high-quality dresses at a reasonable price.

At some “custom” online vendors, you may find unbelievably low prices. Beware you’re typically paying a high mark-up on very low-quality materials assembled in an outsourced production plant with questionable quality control.

Will I be comfortable with the custom dress process?

If you’ve completed the process recommended in the first half of this article, you have a good sense of what you want in a dress. You’ve already conquered one of the toughest parts of the custom dress process.

That leaves one other thing to consider. Are you comfortable saying yes to the dress in a less traditional way? In the custom dress process, your dress options are presented to you in the form of design sketches and material swatches. First you pick a wedding dress design from sketches that were custom designed for you. Then you choose materials for that design from a variety of swatches that work well in the design you chose.

Most brides find this fun, and they love having more choices than they would in a store. Just keep in mind that committing to the dress before it exists feels different. It’s more like waiting a long time to open a present when you know what it is. It’s exciting to think about what’s inside, but there’s nothing like opening it and seeing that it’s exactly what you want.

Taking the next step toward your perfect wedding dress

If this post made you realize you hadn’t fully prepared for the wedding dress shopping experience, learn more about how to find the best off-the-rack wedding dress. And start looking for inspiration.

If you think a custom dress is right for you, learn more about the custom wedding dress process. And contact a bridal boutique that offers custom dresses.

How to Find an Unforgettable Off-the-Rack Wedding Dress

How to Find an Unforgettable Off-the-Rack Wedding Dress

With the right process, buying your wedding dress off the rack can be the best decision

What makes a wedding dress unforgettably beautiful is that it captures you. Although there may be more than one of a dress you find on the rack, when it captures your features and style in the way you want, it becomes a one-of-a-kind look. You make your dress memorable.

Unfortunately, the wedding dress industry isn’t always concerned about you. That’s why it can feel like the odds are stacked against you when you’re trying to buy a wedding dress off the rack.

Maybe you don’t know what you want. You’ve been poking around online, but the choices are overwhelming and personalized help is limited, if it even exists. Or, you’ve been to some bridal shops, but they all feel the same. The sales staff are pushy and don’t seem to care how you feel about the dresses they offer. As far as they’re concerned, any dress you plan to buy now looks wonderful.

Whether this is relatable or you’re lucky enough to be at the beginning of your wedding dress shopping, VIERO has put together a simple process you can use to find the best off-the-rack wedding dress for you.

How to Find the Best Off-the-Rack Wedding Dress

1.Understand your wedding dress logistics

To find the best dress for you, first think about the context you’ll wear it in.

Your Wedding Day

Before you start thinking about wedding dress styles, it’s important to understand any limitations your wedding day might pose on your fashion choices. Think about your wedding location, timing and activities. Are there any dress styles or features that won’t work, or that might work better, because of things like weather, dance choreography or outdoor obstacles?

Your Body

Even though you may instinctively think about what does or doesn’t look good on you, you may not know why you think that. Being specific about which of your features you want to highlight or downplay makes it easier to find a wedding dress you feel looks the best. It’s also helpful when you’re trying to choose between two dresses you like that emphasize your features differently.

Keep in mind that body features aren’t just legs or curves. They include things you might not think about as often like tattoos and height.

2.Figure out what you want in a wedding dress

To discover what you like, search for inspiration. Then evaluate it and learn.

One of the biggest problems brides face when shopping for a wedding dress is understanding what they might like and how to describe it to a salesperson. Figuring out what you want and learning the lingo for styles, cuts and materials you like is easier than you think. Just follow this process.

Keeping in mind your wedding dress logistics, search for wedding dress pictures online, in magazines or wherever you might find inspiration. The goal is to find dresses that you like on some level. You don’t need to like the whole dress. For instance, you may like the material it’s made of, but you don’t like the neckline. You might like how it fits, but its train is too long. Maybe you like the whole dress but wish it were ivory instead of bright white.

Also, don’t forget about accessories. If there is a major accessory you plan to wear, such as a veil or shawl, make sure you find pictures of ones you like, and think about how the accessory would work with the dress styles you gravitate toward.

Put your photos in a sharable form like Pinterest. If you have any paper photos, place them in a folder you can bring with you as you shop for your wedding dress.

Evaluate and Learn

Once you’ve gathered many photos, or while you’re gathering them, take notes on your specific likes for each dress and accessory picture. Sort them into categories the represent the best of what you liked: materials you like best, shapes you like best, cuts you like best, etc. Ideally, you assemble enough pictures to cover the major categories: length, shape, cut, color, materials, key features (open back, train, etc.)


Review your best-of categories and figure out how to describe what you want in each category. For instance, you may notice all the material you like is lacey and it’s all a similar lace. Try to find out if it has a specific name. This works best with online pictures. Usually, you can find a useful description if you return to the website where you found the picture.

Remember to write down the terminology you find to describe your likes. You can also use this terminology to google more images, which can help you find a dress that incorporates multiple features you want.

Set Priorities You Can Share

Now that you’ve sorted out what you like, it’s time to prioritize your wants in a shareable list.

Jot down a few bullets about your wedding day logistics and body features you want to show off or downplay.

Now add any must-haves to the list. For instance, the dress must be a bright white.

Then list your top want from each of your best-of categories along with a runner up, if you had one. For instance, you really like an open back, but you’d consider a strapless dress too.

Make sure your list includes any wedding dress terminology you learned. Also, keep in mind which pictures you would show someone if they asked about a specific thing you like.

3.Find a wedding dress shop that wants to help you

Use what you’ve learned to get help from a wedding dress shop that cares about what you like.

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you’ll know when a salesperson is truly knowledgeable and is trying to help you achieve your goals, not theirs. You’ll have more confidence about what’s right for you.

Share your priorities with the salespeople you meet. If they don’t understand the terminology, or they bring you something that doesn’t align at all with your priorities, you know they aren’t qualified or aren’t listening. Try another shop.

Look for wedding dress shops that offer personalized service. At VIERO, this means you book an appointment to shop at our flagship boutiques. When you arrive, you have the full attention of someone who will listen your priorities and who understands how to translate your likes into off-the-rack dress choices that can be that unforgettable dress.

Without the help of someone more experienced in wedding dresses, it can be difficult to look at a wedding dress on a rack and see how it captures what you want. You risk overlooking your best option and never trying it on.

Another thing to look for in a wedding dress shop is how they advertise themselves. If the styles they advertise don’t align with what you like, they probably can’t help you. Don’t waste your time.

Look for shops that offer quality over quantity. Having hundreds of poor-quality choices doesn’t help you get the best off-the-rack wedding dress. At VIERO, we’re thoughtful about the wedding dress styles we carry in our flagship boutiques whether they are our own or from another designer. We curate the best of fresh and modern styles, including both new trends and modernized classics. This allows us to vet each dress to ensure the best craftmanship and the most thoughtful designs.

Remember You Make Your Wedding Dress Unforgettable

Once you figure out what you like, and you put that in the context of you and your wedding, finding an off-the-rack wedding dress you love is possible. But remember you need a process to make this happen. And that process needs to include you, your priorities, and someone who is experienced enough to listen to what you want and help you find it.