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Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Now that you've bought your dream dress, how do you make it one of a kind? Changing your dress?! But isn’t it perfect already? Of course it is. A wedding dress is at the center of the wedding, and even if your alterations aren't apparent to your guests, it's still a nice touch to personalize your wedding dress. I’m a big fan of personalizing one’s wedding dress.

Personalizing could mean adding a flower to it, a colorful petticoat underneath it, or your wedding date embroidered in blue in the hem. If your dress is just perfect the way that it is, maybe a simple wrap would be enough. If you’ve found the dress but changing just one or two things you can do yourself would REALLY make it perfect, this is the chapter for you!

On such an important day I think it’s important to make everything as personalized to the couple as possible. Not one of us is made the same, so why should your dress fall into that category also? I’ve come with my own personal list of how to customize your dress. I’m sure there are many more ideas out there, but these are my favorite ones! I’ve used them with my own brides, and each of their gowns has been extra special and unique.

Embellishments on a wedding gown are like sprinkles on ice cream, unessential, but the ultimate finishing touch on an already delicious confection. Used appropriately, embellishments can add shimmer and individuality to an already amazing wedding gown. Throughout history, tons of brides have taken to embellishing their wedding dresses. Queen Victoria added fresh orange blossoms to her otherwise pure ensemble back in 1840, and throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, elaborately trimmed gowns were an indication of wealth.

Today, there are all sorts of embellishment options. Elaborate beading and embroideries are used to add richness and texture to plain fabric. Small, iridescent sequins and gems are sewn on to add light and give dresses their decorative twinkle. Layers of fringe, crystal droplets, and colorful beading that spills down the gown are also all favored flourishes for adding movement.

By embellishing your wedding gown, you are in good company with some of history’s finest and well in style. Weddings nowadays are all personalization and creativity. Why not yours as well?! Here are some great ways to truly make your dress your own on your wedding day.

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Adding Flowers to Dress

Many brides alter their dresses for the perfect fit, but who says you also can't add more detailing, such as additional flowers, or different ones altogether. To tell you the truth, I was madly in love with my dress, but couldn’t stand the stupid little flowers they added that really took the whole dress down a few notches. Taking those flowers off was the first thing I did when I got it home. I then went out and purchased a yard of the right color satin, to match the dress, and made my own flowers. The whole day I knew that the flowers were all me!

Fabric flowers can be added just about anywhere, from the strap, the neckline or the waistline of your dress, to the hem, the skirt or the train. This is your dream dress. Make it whatever you’d like. One great thing about fabric flowers, you can rearrange them and move them around as much as you’d like before the wedding day until you find just the right design.

Of course lilies or any other type of flower can also be pinned to the dress using tiny sewing pins! Just keep in mind if your wedding dress is satin, there will be teeny tiny holes. One thing you should check for though, is that if the flowers are real, you will need to check and make sure they are completely dry when added, and won’t stain your dress.

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Adding Floral Details to Dress

Don’t be confused. This is not the same as adding flowers. Whether brides desire a delicate floral detail or crave an attention grabbing gown, when it comes to the floral trend, designers are catering to the bride’s every wish. Bridal wear designers are adding eye-catching rosettes to adorn their collections, placing buds at the hip, neckline and shoulders.

The kind of floral embellishments I’m discussing come more in the form of putting in a floral lace back on your dress, adding floral trim to your veil or dress, adding an additional floral layer to the bottom edge of your dress, or maybe adding a top floral layer to your whole dress. I’ve seen brides add hanging flowers down the front of their dresses and creating a veil out of nothing but flowers.

Floral embellishments are sophisticated and sweet. Whether they’re embroidered, appliqued, or actually sculpted from the fabric, flowers are everywhere on wedding dresses these days! Don’t be scared to check out the fabric stores in your area to see what they truly have to offer. I actually purchased floral patterned lace and floral edging to use in my bridal look for super affordable!

Adding Wrap, Jacket or Hat

Another great way to give your wedding dress a personal spin is to add something unexpected to your look. What you choose really depends on your personality. Maybe you hate heels so you'll be wearing your Converse kicks down the aisle, or if hats are a staple in your wardrobe, why not wear your favorite fedora?

Your unexpected item is a way to add even more individuality to your wedding day look. It could be anything from a statement necklace to a brightly colored shrug to an armful of bold bangles. The point is to add something that really represents you and what you love.

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Adding a Brooch

One of the quickest and easiest ways to add vintage glamour to your wedding dress is to buy some vintage brooches. These can be costume jewelry or real stones. I like to look for vintage brooches at local flea markets, antique malls, antique stores, and of course online at eBay. You’d be really surprised at what you’ll find at thrift stores and garage sales as well, as long as you’re looking in the right areas. A brooch can pin onto your dress, included with an arrangement of brooches, or can be added anywhere you want. However, because of the weight of brooches and it’s mixture with different types of materials, you’ll want to be careful how you choose to wear them.

For a strapless wedding dress try adding the vintage brooch in the middle at the top of the dress. This is perfect for sweetheart neckline. If you have sleeves and are unsure where to add this glamorous vintage touch, then try adding it at the waistline. If you are lucky enough to find two matching vintage brooches, then you can pin one at the base of each sleeve, especially if your wedding dress has cap sleeves. The options are limitless. Hop online and check out some different uses with wedding dresses if this idea interests you!

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Tips for Adding Embellishments to Your Wedding Dress

Adding Sash or Belt

Sashes and belts are one great way of emphasizing the nice small waist you’ve been working hard for these last few months, but they also offer a great deal of personality. There’s no denying that a belt cinched at the waist does wonders to flatter your figure, and a well-placed sash can give your dress (and your wedding) just the splash of color it needed.

This is probably one of the easiest ways to add to your wedding dress without actually having to change the dress itself. Belts come in a number of shapes, sizes, and colors and can just be easily attached around your waist. You can even be creative and slip other embellishments onto the belt for another easy addition.

Sashes on the other hand can be small and simple in bright or subtle colors, or be the long, extravagant sashes you see in big bridal shop windows that add tons of personality to your dress. What’s wonderful about sashes is that they can be worn around your waist, across the top of your dress, along the bottom hem of your dress, or anywhere else. Maybe you want a gorgeous bow adorning the back of your dress or ribbons winding through the corset and falling gracefully down the back of your dress as you walk down the aisle.

Sashes and belts definitely lend much more creativity than many of the other items I suggest. To accentuate your curves, define your waist, and add a little flair to your wedding attire on your wedding day, an embellished belt or colorful sash is definitely the way to go!

Whatever you decide to do with your dress, just make sure you feel comfortable with the decision before doing anything big.

It's easy to add some simply flowers or lace to your dress to spice it up, or a nice sash or belt to give it some flair and color, but if you start taking it apart or cutting it up, you likely will not be able to return it to its original state if you change your mind.

This said, if that's what you have envisioned, go for it! I had a perfectly beautiful wedding dress that would have looked a whole lot better with the gold silk underneath showing in the front and the lacy fabric as a skirt in the back.

When it comes down to it, it's your dress, and you should look and feel exactly like you've dreamed of on your big day.

Be creative, have fun, and realize that the sky is never the limit!

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© 2014 Victoria Van Ness


Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on February 03, 2014:

Absolutely! The black dress you were worried about in your previous comment would actually have been in style! Lol

I have seen all sorts of creative sounds on wedding dresses. Thanks for the comment!

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on February 03, 2014:

It's interesting to see how thing changed over time. At one time, pure white was the thing to wear to a first wedding and it was quite rare to see some colours added. There could be embelishments but white (lace, stones, little flowers, etc.) Now it's OK to add even bright colours. All those details can add a very special touch to that special dress! What is important to remember is that the bride must be happy of the choice of that special and unique dress :-)

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