Even brides on a budget can get the look of a custom, couture gown -- it just takes some attention to detail. Here are seven ways to make your wedding dress look luxurious, without breaking the bank.
1. Choose beading wisely. You will notice that many very expensive gowns are not glopped full of beading: They are either sparsely beaded or not beaded at all. Therefore, contrary to what you think would make sense, more does not mean more expensive-looking when it comes to beading. I suggest buying a less beaded or unbeaded garment altogether. Put the money you save into the accessories, including a gorgeous veil.
2. Get the gown altered by a professional. A poorly fitted gown makes even the most expensive garment look cheap. If the gown fits well it will automatically look more lavish. Which brings me to...
3. Find proper undergarments. A woman must wear the right things under her gown to enhance its fit. Go to a store that specializes in undergarments, not the department store (unless they have a specialist), and get fitted -- you shall treasure your new custom bra and reuse it many times over. Some helpful tricks: If you are large-busted and worry you have too much cleavage, rather than letting your bust sit in the cup, put the bra on with some of the fullness of your bust a bit under the underwire. It takes just a second to get used to and it works wonders (you won't be popping out of the neckline). A smaller bosom needs pads sewn into the garment: If some foundation isn't worn at all a crease forms under the bustline and makes you look like you are slouching.
4. Wear a petticoat if the skirt is full. This will hold the skirt's shape and allow you to move freely without tripping. The front won't collapse into itself and your gown will look much more beautiful.
5. Add a belt. Your waistline will be accentuated and you'll create a couture look. Go for a beaded belt or add a fabric sash, either in monochromatic white or ivory or a contrasting color. Learn to tie a gorgeous bow or OBI sash and clasp it with an ornate brooch.
6. Wear a bolero. You may be envisioning a generic bolero, which can work. However, I am describing a draping from one shoulder to the other getting narrower at one side with a short sleeve out of a silk taffeta or shantung. Your gown will then be an ensemble!
7. Don't forget the back. If the back of your gown is straight across, have it altered into a V or U shape, which is more interesting and more couture. Add buttons over the zipper -- and even perhaps all the way down the back seam to the floor -- which will cover the seams and provide a the finishing touch. Also, if your gown has straps, consider making them narrower for a more luxe look.