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What Can You Add to a Wedding Dress?

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A classic, simple dress never goes out of style. As a bride, you may also find it cheaper to buy a dress with fewer embellishments and decorations.

You don’t have to settle for a bland wedding dress. It’s easy to add your personal touch to the wedding dress by adding little details and embellishments to make it stand out. 

Read on to find out more about what you can add to a wedding dress to make an impact. 

22 Things That Can Add Sparkle to a Wedding Dress

Some of the things you can add are:

1. Accessories

Accessorizing with jewelry is one way to perk up your wedding dress.

necklace on the neck of bride

You can include a statement necklace that fits right and doesn’t interfere with your dress neckline. Layering different necklaces can also add glamour to an ordinary dress. A sparkly brooch is another perfect addition. 

Headbands are also great, especially if you’re having a beach wedding. People will pay attention to the beautiful headband and complement you.

Shoulder jewelry, though not popular, is an easy way to turn a bland dress into a statement dress. The shoulder bling set works perfectly if you’re wearing a strapless gown.

A sash with sparkly crystals or one with lace and crystal beads is another option to consider when thinking of a shimmery embellishment. Some sashes can be tied in a bow behind a dress, while others can replace the veil for the reception. 

Pairing your sash with rhinestones or beading creates an unforgettable look. Although some come as a package with wedding dresses, you can purchase one from a bridal shop or have it tailored to fit your gown. 

If you’re going for a minimalistic look, you can include a crystal bracelet or drop earrings. Bridal belts are also a budget-friendly option when considering how to transform your dress. Most bridal shops stock these belts, and you can compare the available options to find the one you like. 

You can add a flower crown for a trendy touch when working with a bohemian wedding theme. There are different flower crown options; you can get one with a big flower in the middle of flower garlands. 

Avoid wearing a lot of jewelry and pick one or two accessories for a luxury feel. For example, a statement bracelet and necklace would suffice. 

A sparkly veil can add drama and appeal to a wedding dress. 

The best part is that there are multiple veil options to consider. You can opt for a veil with multi-layers. One with embroidered lace edging on the hem, or settle for a veil with floral details. 

Having a veil acts as a canvas for your wedding dress. You can settle for a cathedral-length veil with your preferred details for a dramatic look. 

2. Embellished Sleeves

Two Stylish brides posing, one bride with Embellished Sleeves added on her wedding dress

Adding sleeves to a plain dress can make a difference between boring and fabulous. 

You have endless options when working with a strapless wedding gown. A three-quarter lace sleeve is an excellent addition if you’re having a winter wedding. 

A thick satin sleeve is another option to consider. 

A summer wedding gives you multiple options. You can incorporate spaghetti straps to provide support. That way, you don’t have to keep pulling the dress up.

Cap sleeves provide enough coverage to your underarm and work for any body type. You can also opt for off-the-shoulder straps for that feminine touch.

There’s also the option of detachable sleeves if you want to get two wedding looks from one dress. You can have the sleeves added by a seamstress or get detachable sleeves separately. Purchasing detachable sleeves allows you to pair them with any dress. 

3. Buttons

Mom buttons buttons of the bride dress

Covering the back zipper of your wedding dress with buttons adds a premium and elegant look. 

Buttons also add exceptional details that are hard to miss, ensuring that no one steps on your gown as you move around. You can opt for satin or pearl buttons for that elegance.

4. Neckline

bride fitting her strapless wedding dress

Changing your neckline is another way to switch up a plain dress. You can opt for a closed or open neckline. 

A strapless gown can be altered to create a sweetheart neckline. That provides extra support and also enhances your natural curves. 

5. Underlining

A gown with underlining wears better and creates more body than one without.  

Choose a soft and lightweight underlining fabric under the gown. Avoid too light or too dark colors as they can show through the dress.

Silk organza is an excellent underlining fabric that will change the look of your plain wedding dress. 

6. Bridal Bow

Bridesmaid tie bridal bow on brides wedding dress
Morning of the bride preparation. Young and beautiful bride on the wedding day. Bridesmaid tie bow.

A bridal bow is perfect if you don’t like embellished gowns but want to add something unique to your wedding dress. Bows also add a vintage twist to your dress. 

Apart from acting as an accessory, a bow also accentuates your waist.

You can add a bow on your shoulders, tie it at the front, or wear it big at the back. Materials options like lace, chiffon, silk, and tulle allow you to work with any wedding gown fabric. 

A statement bow can be big or small, depending on your preferences. Experiment with different thicknesses and lengths to find one that works for you. 

7. Fabric Flowers

Some wedding dresses don’t pair well with beads, crystals, or lace.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should set for a simple, dull look. Fabric flowers come in different sizes, shapes, and types. You can attach flowers to the bodice or the train. There’s an option of creating one large flower or a combination of tiny flowers. 

3D flowers also create a unique effect and look luxurious. Most bridal shops have lace appliques with 3D flowers. 

8. Cover Up

A cover-up is a must-have if you’re getting married in a conservative setup that needs you to cover your shoulders. It’s also a convenient accessory if your wedding is during winter. 

An embellished bolero or a beaded caplet is a great way to add elegance. 

Boleros are versatile as you can opt for one made of a different fabric from the usual. Capelets can also have a different length with your gown or skirt to cover the space left between your waist and neck. Most brides opt for lace capelets with beads or embroidery. 

You can also consider getting a handmade wedding cape with some bling to add sparkle to your dress. 

9. Ribbons

bride wearing white wedding dress with purple ribbon and holding purple bouquet of flowers

Ribbons in bold colors can transform a simple wedding dress. You can choose colors like red, blush, purple, or even gold.

Silk ribbons have a glam effect and can quickly transform your dress.

You can tie your ribbon as a bow on the back or in front. Alternatively, a colorful ribbon can be attached to the bodice for a dramatic look. 

10. Waistbands

A luxurious bride in a wedding dress with gold waistband posing

Apart from ribbons, you can accentuate your dress with a glamorous waistband. 

You can choose a waistband made from crystals, rhinestones, pearls, or beads. The best thing about waistbands is that they work with most wedding gowns. 

A simple wedding gown paired with a silver or gold waistband makes all the difference. 

11. Beads

Bride in white wedding dress with white beads

 Beads provide a fast and convenient way to add a unique look to an ordinary wedding gown.

You can find beads in different sizes and shapes, allowing your seamstress to create a subtle or dramatic look depending on your taste. 

You can apply beads to the bodice or neckline for a simple and classic look. However, if you prefer to make a statement, you can have your seamstress create a fully beaded gown. 

Beads can also help you draw attention to your back. You can have beads added to a V-neck dress for that wow factor. 

Moreover, you can combine beads with rhinestones, sequins, or pearls.

12. Appliques

Appliques come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns. They are easy to fix on your dress, and the best part is you get to choose where to apply them. 

Lace appliques are a popular option for brides and are added to the bodice and hem. You can also splurge on appliques with crystals, beads, or sequins for that gorgeous effect.

13. Pearls

Bridesmaid helping bride with her wedding dress

Pearls not only add a luxe element to a wedding dress but also add dimension and detail. The right amount of pearls radiate glamour and luxury when incorporated into a dress. You can also mix pearls with beads and sequins for a vintage look. 

You can add pearls in place of regular buttons.

These rare gems work for both ethereal and classic styles. Furthermore, they are available in different shapes, sizes, and colors. 

Most brides opt to have pearls added along the bodice and bust to bring life to their wedding dresses. You can also incorporate pearls from the top to the hem to get a luxurious effect. 

14. Fringe

A fringe consists of a fabric cut into multiple tiny threads. Adding a fringe to a wedding gown gives it a vintage look. It’s an excellent option for brides following a bohemian theme. 

The fringe can be added to the train or sleeves. Alternatively, you can use fringe on the entire dress. 

15. Border Trims

Although you may love the fit of a wedding dress, sometimes you may find it lacking as it feels unfinished. 

Adding a border can help add the finished effect. Trims are added along the seams, sleeves, necklines, or skirt hems. You can choose decorative options like florals, ruffles, and scallops on the edges.

16. Edging

Edging acts as a decorative finish to a hem or a seam. The threads are sewn to ensure the seams don’t unravel. 

Unlike border trims, edging doesn’t add details like fringe ruffles or pleating. 

17. Embroidery

Embroidery is any unique stitching made on a gown by a machine or hand. 

You can use embroidery to make certain wedding dress parts stand out, like the sleeves and the bodice. 

18. Feathers

Wedding dress with feathers hanging near the window

Adding faux or genuine feathers to your wedding dress creates an abstract look. The idea works when putting feathers on the hemlines, sleeves, and bodice.

19. Ruffles

Ruffles or frills create a rippled finish on your wedding dress, which gives it a dramatic effect. You also get added dimension and texture to your gown’s silhouette with the right amount of ruffles. 

For a minimalist look, you can add subtle frill details. However, if you’re going for a bold fashion statement, opt for architectural and defined ruffles on your dress. 

You can add ruffles along sleeves, seams, or neckline.

20. Sequins

Although sequins and paillettes resemble each other, the former is smaller and has a hole in the center that ensures they are secured. 

If you’re looking for a shimmering or glistening effect on your wedding dress, you can add white sequins to your dress. 

Sequins can be sewn using a machine or with a needle and thread. If you still need to use sequins on your dress but don’t have time to have them added to your dress,  you can opt for a ready-made sequin applique. 

21. Rhinestones

Rhinestones share certain similarities with diamonds, but they are cheaper as they are made from acrylic or glass. These embellishments are available in different colors, sizes, and cuts.

You can opt for silver rhinestones on your wedding dress sleeves or train for that luxe feel and look. 

Wedding dress close-up with Rhinestones

22. Paillettes

Paillettes closely resemble sequins, but they are bigger. A hole at the top attaches them. That creates a hanging effect on the fabric. 

Final Thoughts

Shopping for a wedding dress is exciting until you get home and are not pleased with its simplicity.

Fortunately, there are different ways you can turn your dress from simple to glam without spending a lot of money. Things like bold jewelry, colorful ribbons, pearls, bows, and appliques can instantly transform your gown. With that, you get to wear a dress that makes you feel and look beautiful. 

Remember that less is more when thinking of what to add to a wedding dress. Choose one bold item like jewelry or an embellished veil and work around it instead of incorporating too many things.