Your Guide to Buying an Embellished Wedding Dress

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Your Guide to Buying an Embellished Wedding Dress

For the bride who truly wants to stand out on her wedding day, buying an embellished wedding dress is the only option. Once solely the provenance of the rich and famous, embellished wedding dresses are now available to anyone with some extra room in their budget. Whether you want beads, appliques, or crystals, there is a fabulous embellished wedding dress out there just waiting for you. Customers have two options when it comes to buying an embellished wedding dress, either purchase the dress at the store, or through an online website like eBay. They can either choose a dress that is already embellished, or they can take the dress to a designer and have it embellished for them. When choosing a dress with an embellishment, buyers must consider what materials they want to use, how much of the dress they want embellished, and the overall price. A little effort certainly goes a long way when planning the perfect embellished wedding gown.

Embellishment Basics

If wedding dresses are like cakes, then embellishments are like the icing and decorations. The embellishment process adds an extra layer of design to a wedding gown by using different materials like beads, crystals, and even feathers. For example, on her wedding day in 1840, Queen Victoria embellished her bridal gown with fresh orange blossoms, and adding embellishments to an otherwise pure gown has been all the rage ever since.

Lightly vs. Heavily Embellished Dresses

Some gowns are sold as light embellished dresses, meaning that they are typically only embellished around the bodice or part of the train. Heavily embellished wedding dresses on the other hand, can include lace that covers the entire skirt, or beadwork around the entire bodice. Choose whatever style fits you, but remember that the greater the embellishments, the more expensive the gown.

Embellishment Styles

There are many different ways to embellish a wedding dress. Some brides choose to add a belt, embellished with lace to their wedding ensemble, while others prefer the look of beads woven along the bodice. Even sparkling crystals are sometimes used to make the wedding dress glow as the bride walks down the aisle. Keep in mind that not all embellishment materials work well for every dress. For example, a lightweight dress is not going to be able to support heavier materials like crystals, but it can hold smaller beads. On the other hand, a heavy wedding dress is strong enough to support almost any type of material.


Fabrics like lace and tulle, are often used for embellishment purposes. Edging is a light type of an embellishment process that adds lace trim around the top of the bodice or the bottom of the train. Embroidery is another embellishment style that creates delicate designs from threads that are sewn onto the dress. It can be lightly used on the bodice for an ethereal appearance as well. Heavy use of embroidery can actually cover the entire bodice or train of the dress. Appliques, involve sewing fabric cutouts onto the dress, for instance, a dress with a sweetheart neckline looks simply stunning with a large rose applique in the centre. Some designers also use appliques to create ruffles along the back of the dress for further beauty.


Beadwork is an immensely popular choice when it comes to embellishment. The beads chosen are typically colourless and iridescent, so that they shine when the light hits them. However, some designers will use white or coloured beads. Of course, if you are taking the dress to a designer for embellishing, make sure you tell them whether or not want coloured beads. It also helps if you have a beadwork pattern in mind. Typically, beadwork follows a floral pattern, but keep in mind that the beadwork should be accenting the style of the dress, not detracting from it. Some heavily embellished dresses go overboard with beadwork, creating a dress that looks too heavy. A tiny bit of beadwork can go a long way in the world of embellishment.


Jewellery is the heaviest material used to embellish a wedding dress, so precautions are needed to make this work effectively. Only use jewellery on wedding dresses made out of a sturdy, thick fabric, and even so use them sparingly. A few pieces of Swavorski crystals added here and there will make you sparkle as you walk down the aisle, but overloading the entire dress with jewellery makes it too bright and heavy. A perennial favourite besides crystals are pearls. Many embellished wedding dresses have pearls around the neckline or bodice, while others use them on the waistline. If you have a limitless budget, then you can use natural pearls. However, many brides on a strict budget go with fake pearls that look just as breathtaking as their natural cousins.

Heavy or Light Embellishments

How much of the dress that a bride wants embellished is a personal choice. Some brides have always dreamed of walking down the aisle in a gown covered with lace, while others are content with a few pieces of embellishment around the bodice. A little touch adds a distinctive sparkle to any wedding dress, such as crystal pieces woven into the bodice. However, a fully embellished wedding dress like one that uses feathers all over the train, creates a design that is incomparable. Walking the boundary between fashionable and over the top makes for an exceedingly fine line indeed. Experts recommend that designers should only use certain embellishments like jewellery and appliques sparingly, while other styles like beading and embroidery are the best choice for heavy designs.

Price Comparisons

Keep in mind that embellishment can be costly, especially if you want those of the jewellery variety. Purchasing a heavily embellished wedding dress is obviously going to be more expensive than a lightly embellished one. One tip to keep price points down, is to choose less costly embellishments if you have to have a heavily embellished dress. For example, certain varieties of lace are more expensive than others. Choose the less expensive lace to cover your gown to avoid going over your budget. Use this same strategy to get the look you want at a price you can handle for a number of different embellishments.

Buying an Embellished Dress vs. Creating Your Own

There are two ways to get the embellished dress of your dreams. Perhaps the most ideal choice is finding the exact dress you always wanted hanging in the store window, or printed in a bridal catalogue. Buying a dress that is already embellished saves time, so if you are cutting it close to your wedding date, go for a dress that is already completely made. However, because the cost is already set for an embellished dress, many brides find it to be simply be out of their price range. Most designers only use the finest, high end materials for their embellishments. This translates into you paying top dollar for expensive lace and fancy beads.

Creating Your Own

Creating your own embellished wedding dress is an attractive proposition for many brides. It allows you to do what you want to your dress. Since this process takes more time. the wedding dress needs to be purchased months in advance of the wedding. Keep in mind that unless you are a terrific seamstress, you will probably need to take the dress to a tailor so that the designs can be added onto the dress, which can be costly. However, the fantastic news is that most tailors will work with you so that you select the right materials that fall within your budget.

Buying an Embellished Wedding Dress on eBay

eBay sells all types of wedding dresses, including pure wedding dresses and embellished wedding gowns. Smart brides have been gradually choosing to shop on eBay instead of their local store simply because the prices are better, and the selection is vastly superior. When it comes to finely embellished wedding gowns, many local bridal shops simply cannot stock enough of the high end gowns, leaving the shopper with an exceedingly limited choice. On the other hand, eBay’s electronic platform brings together both independent sellers and bridal shops all over the world. In this virtual arena, anyone can sell a wedding dress, including the top designer brands that you cannot find in your local shop.

Finding Embellished Wedding Dresses on eBay

The first step to making a rewarding purchase is to find out where you can buy the dress. This means using eBay’s search engine to locate specific sections that meet your needs. If you have already gone to a bridal store for a fitting, and know exactly which type of wedding dress you want, then use a highly narrowed search to pinpoint your desired results. For example, if you want a stock Maggie Sottero princess gown that you want to get embellished, search for "princess gown Maggie Sottero". If you are just looking at dresses to get ideas, then try using a broad search such as "bead embellished wedding dress" or "crystal embellished wedding dress". Adding and subtracting terms leads to different results, so do not be afraid to experiment with the search engine until you find the results you want.


A wedding dress is only worn once, but its memory will last an entire lifetime. Make the memory special by choosing an embellished wedding dress. Embellished gowns are finely decorated with a variety of materials that help accent the style of the dress, and the beauty of the bride. Choose the right embellishments based on the materials as well as how heavily the designs are used. Of course, pricing is also a hugely important consideration. Fabric embellishments are usually cheaper than beadwork and jewellery, but even the cost of some high end laces might surprise you. If you are buying a dress that is already embellished, try to find one that best suits your personality and style. If you want to create your own embellished dress, then find a pure one with no embellishments, and take it to an expert wedding dress tailor. eBay sells both types of dresses, allowing brides to find the dress they need at a price they want.

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