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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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David's Bridal vs. Vera Wang

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So everyone's heard the news, right? Vera did the unthinkable. She crossed the couture line and walked straight into David's Bridal. I believe there was an audible *gasp* in the wedding community. The tweets and posts were blowing up my Google Reader, that's fo sho! I had an email exchange with a designer friend of mine about it. Even The Candyman had an opinion.

You can look at this in few different ways, plus some I'm sure I can't think of. 

  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride on a budget: HELL to the YEAH! I get to wear Vera Wang and not break the bank!
  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride NOT on a budget: My "real" Vera Wang is way better.
  • From the standpoint of a designer dress boutique: What the hell is Vera doing? She's sending my customers to David's Bridal! That BITCH!
  • From the standpoint of David's Bridal: $$$$
  • From the stand point of Vera herself: $$$$

OK, maybe it's not that cut and dry.

Personally, I question the move. You have a high end, coveted wedding gown designer. She's appealing to the masses by making her line more affordable and available. One one hand, I feel like she's "dumbing down" her incredibleness. The moment you move from couture to ready-to-wear, you've cheapened yourself. She's cheapened her end product. On the other hand, she's made her incredibleness available to women who don't have $6K+ to blow on a gown. Had this happened when I was wedding gown shopping, I might have faced the horridness that I believe to be the inside of a David's Bridal shop, just to see what they looked like.

And what about those brides who do spend the $6K on a Vera Wang gown? Do we take those people into consideration? I think if I had a gown that cost me that much money and another bride could get similar for a mere fraction of the cost with the same brand name? I think that might piss me off. I don't know why. I don't think it would be the right emotion to have either, but I still think I would be at least mildly irritated. In all honesty, I think that would just be the snob in me being a big ol' bitch. It happens.

Now, if I were a designer boutique owner person, I would be pissed. PISSED! Sample gowns are not cheap. Running a luxury item business in this economy is not easy. Vera just made it even harder for these guys to eke out a living. These are shop owners who have supported her line for years. Yeah, I'd be super-pissed.

David's Bridal? Now they get some style cred above and beyond Oleg Cassini (*insert snarky comment here*). They get traffic into their stores. Win-win there.

Vera? She gets massive bucks. I'm sure her sales are not what they used to be because she's the supplier of a luxury item when the economy is in the Tinkletorium. She's probably protecting her own income. No one can fault a person for that, right?

What I think I am struggling with the most is what many people don't get: the DIFFERENCE between a Vera Wang gown and the David's Bridal White line by Vera Wang. Trust me, there will be a difference.

Fabric: Silk, satin, crepe de chine versus polyester. The major contributing factor to inexpensive gowns is in the choice of fabric. Synthetic fabrics have come a long, freakin' way in terms of aesthetics. Most everyday people walking around on the street cannot tell the difference between a poly blend and the real deal.

Beading: Hand-beaded versus pre-fab appliques or machine beading. Get close enough and you can tell.

Construction: French seams, built-in corsets, boning, lining, covered buttons/loops versus serged seams, standard fitting, zippers and little to no lining. 

Here, let's compare:

Vera on the left. David's Bridal on the right at $1200.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $1000, $58 for the sash.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $1200, crystal sash is $148.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $600, with a crystal sash at $148.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $800 with a $58 sash.

I could keep this up all day, the comparison of her couture line to David's Bridal. There are little differences, as a designer and seamstress, that I can see right away. On the first dress? All those layers on the DB version are most likely more symmetrical and easier to construct. Vera's original gown is much more random and artistically created. It's literally harder to make and takes mad fucking skills to accomplish. The top of the Vera gown most likely has a built in corset so that the sucker can be fitted to your torso and NOT MOVE AN INCH, while still being comfortable as all hell. The DB version? I'm going to guess it's lined and that's about it. Alterations on the DB gown will most likely be easier and less expensive to do too. The fit on a DB gown will definitely be different than on the real deal.

My first inclination is to say, "Hey! Just go try on one of each and see how you feel!" DO NOT DO THIS. If we've learned anything from "Say Yes to the Dress" it's NEVER EVER EVER try on a dress you cannot afford. Just don't do it. For your own sanity, please just don't. Why? Because if you do, you'll fall in love with it. You'll start to see the differences, the detailing, the weight of the fabric. You'll see how good really great designs fit and look and feel. It's a lot like flying first class and then having to fly coach. The comparison spoils you for life.

But the great thing is that there are designers out there that give you a little bit more of everything: fit, style, fabric, construction, all without breaking the bank. My Mikaella gown was $1300, as much as these new David's Bridal dresses. Overall, the thing that I "lost" on my dress was the overall construction. There was an issue with one of the straps, my pre-made bustle failed at the end of the night (I ripped it out dancing) and I needed serious bust alterations (*ahem*). I did try on gowns I couldn't afford, but I knew what I was getting myself into. Happily, the designer gowns I tried on weren't The One so I was able to shrug off the comparison quite easily. This is not something I'd chance to an inexperienced gown shopper.

But what do you, as an average bride (sorry, I don't mean YOU are average), care? Most people will just think you look beautiful in your dress. After you walk down the aisle, you'll still be married regardless of whether you wore Dior or Casablanca. You need to find The One and it can be done on a budget. I tried on over 100 gowns. That's right, over 100. It wasn't until I put on my Mikaela gown that I felt anything that I can only describe as "right."  It felt good. It felt right. I felt like me, cranked up a notch. I felt beautiful. I felt elegant. My photographer's wife cried when she saw me in it. My friends who I had dragged to various appointments all slowly nodded when I modeled it for them. I didn't want to take it off. That's how you should feel about your dress. Personally, I don't think that feeling comes with a particular price point attached to it.

So what's your take on the Vera thing? Does it even matter?

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Reader Comments (43)

It's also important to remember that the DB gowns were photographed to make them look as stylish and as similar to the originals as possible. Even though they look pretty close in the photos, I doubt they will hang and fit as nicely in person.

And one other thing most people don't realize, is that their DB gown will not be designed by Vera. One of her diffusion designer teams will. Basically they will be knocking off the original designs with permission, as opposed to the knockoff brands who don't have permission.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Bunny

Good point, Ms. Bunny! I personally think it would have more credibility if these ready-to-wear designs were being created in a second-tier design house instead of the lowest tier. Most high-end couture companies have lower-priced ready-to-wear lines, which is where they make the big money, but they're not being sold at Old Navy (with the exception of one collection here and there for Target or H&M of course).

As Louise said, those bodices only have some basic boning and not separate corsettes inside and there won't be much hand-stitched if at all, and of course the fabric is cheap. I'm still undecided about all of this as a designer - part of me feels for the boutique owners and then the other part of me sees the value in taking control of knock-offs, which is becoming a HUGE problem in the industry (but then again, the boutique owners are really hurting from that as well).

But in the end, Vera Wang and David's Bridal will be laughing all the way to the bank regardless of what any of us think. :)

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterveronica

There have certainly been other designers collaborate with less expensive retailers, like Isaac Mizrahi for Target. I don't think it necessarily cheapens the designer's couture brand because, as you pointed out, you can certainly tell a difference between the mass produced stuff and the high end stuff.

I already have my dress, but I am tempted to go to David's Bridal to try these dresses on just to see what they are like. But I've heard DB sends you tons of spam and junk mail after you go, so I think I will resist.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Most designers these days have tiers -- from the cheapest lines of ready-to-wear to their higher/middle ready-to-wear that sells in the finer department stores to their couture lines that are available only from the boutiques. Everyone knows that the dress you buy at David's Bridal is not going to have the detailing, the fabrics, the special fit and feel that you would get from a $6,000 couture dress. But those of us with Beer budgets still want to look nice.

I tell people not to even LOOK at dresses that are out of their price range because it spoils the soup for what you CAN afford and will send you into a swirl of dress-angst. I didn't even consider dresses out of my budget and still had months and months of dress angst over the choice. Just imagine if I'd allowed myself to fall in love with some gown I couldn't afford? Yikes.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

It seems like she'll slap "Vera Wang" on just about anything, doesn't it? Personally, I would never, ever, ever wear a polyester dress to get married in.

I tried on a ton of dresses over budget (like the whole Burberry Prosum line) & they didn't sell me or make me sad. I needed an idea of the fit and silhouette that worked best for me!

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterverhext

I think it will be really interesting to see how Vera's relationship with DB will impact her brand's image. She is following in the footsteps of other famous designers who over licensed their brand resulting in a highly diluted brand image. Cardin comes to mind. Vera already has a line at Kohls and mattresses and other home goods. Time will tell if her "couture" (I use that in quotes because I'm not convinced that each dress is completely handmade — if someone can tell me otherwise, please do) can withstand all the licensed products.

The thing that works for designers who do capsule collections at Target and H&M is a limited amount of product for a limited time. They do not become a Target or H&M designer. They retain a covetable status with these short-run productions gaining new followers.

And, in my opinion, Isaac Mizrahi has lost a lot of credibility on the fashion stage. He shills on the Home Shopping Network now. If that's not a loss of brand image, I don't know what has. Not that his relationship with Target didn't make him very rich, but he no longer stands with the high-end designers of his day.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Bunny

Vera already has a line of clothes and jewelry in Kohl's. Why not just add David's Bridal to the list?

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavanie

Damn, I normally read through all the previous comments. I missed seeing that Ms. Bunny already said that right above me.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavanie

i thought the same when she went to kohl's with "simply vera" and i'll be the first to admit that i am not fashion minded in the LEAST. even i went hm...seems like a bad brand move on her part...the whole reason people want vera wang is because she's un-haveable for most...take that away and her style is pretty cool...but that's not what bride's are paying the buku bucks for....it's the tag and don't let anyone tell you different.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlizzie

Brand dilution notwithstanding, Lizzie hit it on the head: Some people esp brides are 100% about 'name' regardless of fit and styling. So many people think fabulous style is about label and/or price when it's about construction, fit, and fabric. I've seen photos of brides in the pricey fresh off the runway Vera Wang dresses that didn't suit their bodies. Tragic waste of money. I *gasp* went to DB...I was curious and did a walk in one random Tuesday afternoon. I figure I shouldn't knock it without trying it. The photos in the catalog look good due to the magic of photo shop; but the fabric, construction, and fit weren't flattering on my body. I ended up purchasing a sample Jim Hjelm gown and honestly, I didn't know what the hell a Jim Hjelm was - I just know what looks good on my figure. My dress fit me like a dream - I felt all red carpet fab - which was my focus. And 100 dresses Louise? Really girl, I would have gotten so confused after 10. Not counting DB, I went to 2 salons and tried on 8 dresses. And I really couldn't handle all the nekkidness in front of strangers LOL.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Maybe part of what we need to be looking at is ease of purchase. I'm a DB bride because I live remote (rural Alaska), and DB was literally the ONLY store I could find that was willing to work with me on purchase, fitting, shipping, etc. Most brides are aware that DB is a *ahem* less expensive option. But when the nearest bridal boutique is 350 miles away, DB starts looking might appealing (and surely there are women in far flung western states with the same issue, no? There must be a bride in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming going through something similar). I think it cheapens what Vera Wang stands for, but maybe it also represents a nice move away from the insanity of the WIC. In the end, I think Veronica hit it on the head – DB and VW are totally laughing all the way to the bank. :)

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAn Alaskan Bride

i love the way the DB dresses look. I especially like the 3rd and 4th gowns; those would be mine!. But, it all comes down to fabriic/fit. Thats the unknown.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrueweddingjunkie.com

I've posted on this before and I guess I don't even know I am commenting again since I got married 4 months ago in my David's Bridal dress but anyhoo. We get that you don't like DB, think they are the dregs of hell and sell crappy gowns. You've made this point in other posts on your blog. But I can't help but think, that as much as you rail against the WIC and all the pressure that brides face in trying to have a wedding on their terms and on their budget, that it seems someone false that you would be so critiical of Vera Wang's move to make herself available to those with more modest budgets. Of course in the end it's all about money, you know that and so do I. But I could easily see someone coming here, reading this post, and second guessing themselves about actually wanting you know to go and try on *gasp* a Vera Wang for DB dress, because she can't afford Vera Wang Couture.

But what do I know. I wore a David's Bridal dress at MY wedding. The horrors.

February 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany In Houston

@Tiffany - Let me make a few things clear: there are TWO things I dislike about DB.
1. The marketing attack on a person the moment you walk in the door (or walk past their booth at a bridal show) is offensive. You've got to give up your first born and multiple pieces of ID to even LOOK at the gowns.
2. Cheap material and construction. What they offer for what you get is still WAY over priced.

Bad service and poor quality = *gasp* David's Bridal.

You can get a $500 dress elsewhere that is better than a DB gown (see A Los Angles Love, $2000 Budget Wedding, Budget Savvy Bride, A Practical Wedding, etc) in terms of quality and customer service. You can get a $1300 dress that will, most likely, be better than a Vera Wang DB gown (Casablanca, Mikaella, Allure, etc).

And honestly, I think you're reading something into this post that isn't there. My starting point was that if you go to DB and think you're getting the real deal Vera, well, you won't be. Period. And I believe my ending point to all of this was that if you love your gown and you can afford that gown you love, then there's nothing more to discuss, David's Bridal or Kleinfeld's.

And as for other brides second guessing themselves from THIS blog? Are you serious?

February 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

@Louise: Actually, I was serious. If I wasn't I would have bothered to comment. :-/

I really don't think I was reading anything into the post at all. I have an opinion, I shared it. Nothing more. I will say this. I'm not skinny, I was a plus size bride and I wanted to be able to actually TRY ON a dress so DB was one of the options I looked at. And I had a great experience from start to finish from the moment I walked in the door to the time I picked my dress up so I guess it boils down to your personal experience.

I had a good experience there, other have had bad ones and if you are on a budget perhaps you should make a visit. If you are a fat girl, you definitely need to at least have it on your list.

Bad service and poor quality = *gasp* David's Bridal (NOT NECESSARILY)

February 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany In Houston

@Tiffiany - I think part of the problem with DB is what we're experiencing here, which is inconsistency. It's a franchise business and depending on the who/what/where of your franchise you might get the worst of the worst, or the best of the best.

To your plus size point - I get that. I went to a local bride shop that was probably somewhere between a boutique-style dress shop and a David's Bridal. They offered many sizes to try on. There were plus sized gals on both sides of me trying on gowns that were fitting - definitely not your average sample size, which I think is a 10 or a 12?

(As an aside, I am pretty sure both women were thinking "skinny bitch" the whole time I was there. One made a comment about my thinness every time I walked out in a different gown. You know what I was thinking about? The fact that each woman had an entourage of folks helping them try on gowns and I was solo. I actually had to leave, I couldn't take it. It made me so sad that I didn't have my own peeps there to celebrate gown shopping with! And that might be part of my disdain for DB, as when I would go to the local DB [and I tried to go, twice!] I was treated so poorly, I never even got beyond the front entrance.)

At any rate, I 'm not saying that DB is a place you shouldn't shop, never have. Like I said in my last comment I personally don't think much of them at all. What I'm saying is Buyer Beware. An uninformed bride who walks into DB thinking she's getting a comparable Vera Wang dress is not what she's getting. At all. But if she finds a Vera Wang White gown that makes her happy, then it really doesn't matter what I think.

Your point is a good one and I'm happy for this exchange. Plus sized brides struggle with all kinds of issues I can't even image. I can't remember where I read it, but there was a bride who blogged about her total fear of her wedding day. She'd gained almost 100 pounds since seeing many of her guests. She was distraught over her thighs chaffing during the course of the evening, her shoes splitting, her necklace not fitting comfortably around her neck....things most people take for granted. And all those feelings on top of the stress of planning a wedding!

February 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

As someone who purchased a $6000 vera wang dress, I was in reality a little annoyed when I heard about the DB line. I shopped around for dresses and picked mine, because I loved it, not because of the brand per say. However, to see a dress on sale for a tenth of the price that looks sooooooooooooooo similar to mine, made be feel like I just wasted a bunch of money. If you are doing a different line, it should be exactly that...different! Now I have not seen the DB dresses in person, but my dress surely does not have the built in corset with boning you presumed the higher end dress would have. The material is this blend of silk they say Vera created, but I have had no end of issues in my fitting due to the lack of boning and the riding up of the material. At the end of the day, I still like my dress, but if I could do it over again, I would pick another brand. Its entirely too common at the higher end and at the lower end!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSade

@Sade- That was my point to this post! If you're going to do a lower end line, just make it DIFFERENT enough not to piss off your higher end customers!

May 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

DOOD! So I have a follow-up to this. I peeked into David's because of one specific dress I liked for $500. It looked amazing online. The chick was all windblown - holding up the sides of the skirt...she looked fantastic. I saw chicas trying on the Vera line and they didn't look ANYTHING like they're advertised. They looked so plain and blegh. It was not good.

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlizzie

I was a bridal shop that sold, among other designers, Vera Wang. Her dresses are not ten times nicer than other dresses. Yes, better fabric, and in some cases more complex construction. But, I also simple dresses with very little going on for 12k. The dress I liked was super simple and wasn't remarkebly different from much cheaper Watters dresses right next to it.
I was REALLY dissapointed in gown shopping. It looks like you're just paying for a name now, not for quality. And no dress costs even 1k to make, let along 10-12k. A good tailor can sew one of these for far less and make it to fit you from the start instead of being forced ot buy from a slim selection of sizes and spending hundreds to thousands on alterations. In the end teh tailor who fits teh dress takes it apart completely and re-sews it.. why on earth would the quality of the VW factory even matter at that point?

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSisiL78

I'd like to add that I had to buy a bridesmaids dress at DB. What a piece of overpriced junk, and what rude salespeople. But, after visiting "high end" salons I found that their salespeople were even ruder!!
Even if the designers offer the gowns in a size 28 or 32 and I, a plus size far less than these extremes, walks in I have nothing to try on. The sample size 10 run VERY small. Even my dear friend who runs every day and rides her bike 100 miles a week couldn't get into the dresses. So, I'm expected to spend thousands on a dress that I can't try on??? WTF?!
HOw am I supposed to judge the fit or how it flatters? I guess at least DB has dresses in those sizes. And their salespeople are no more rude than the condescending underachievers working at most high end salons. Its as if they cannot believe that a fat girl like me has the nerve to be in love, getting married, and on top of everything else how dare I be a over educated professional while they toil away for comission in a dress shop!
Oftentimes the rudeness starts at hello. At one shop I said hello and got the response "We have nothing to suit your figure". This was before she said hello. They carried several brands that went to size 28!!! I'm a 20! When I wrote a letter to the manager I got zero response.
I rather just learn to sew and make my own dress rather than give these haughty b*tches my business.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSisiL78

@SisiL78 - One of my personal reasons for disliking David's Bridal Salons is that rudeness. When you walk in, they want your name, rank, age, serial number and perhaps your first born child. I want to be treated like a CUSTOMER and not a marketing tool. Unlike your experience, I found that I was treated more kindly and with more respect in the higher end shops. There were a few larger shops I went to that had more sizes and a variety of more affordable gowns, but I felt like I was being treated like cattle in there too.

Being ANY size over a sample size has got to be the most stressful situation a bride can encounter. I swear, I think I might hit a gold mine if I opened a salon that carried 2 sample sizes of each gown: one in a size 8 and one in a size 28. Thoughts? :)

December 1, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

Bought it, love it!!! It looks great for a dress priced at 1280 something...I feel really gorgeous in it and I think that's all that matters. DB makes me feel generic, but this dress is actually really pretty w app the ruffles. In fact, I'm goIng back to buy the bridesmaid rosette dress as a reception dress. Its a little over a thousand bucks...what else can I ask for?

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDena

I cringed at DB my whole life. But then no wedding gown (couture or not) was exactly what I wanted. Instead of having a custom gown designed, I opted for a DB bridesmaids dress ($80) that I will alter into exactly what I want. Will post the results after I actually create the dress.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercaroline @ c.w.frosting

Caroline - Would LOVE to see it!

February 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterLouise

I bought the one shoulder Vera gown at DB. I didn't purchase it because of the name. I purchased it because it chose me. I have always been a wedding skeptic; never was one of those women who dreamed of their special day since they were a toddler. I certainly did not believe all that bologna when they said, "you'll know when it's the one." But it's true. I didn't want to take it off, couldn't believe how wrong I had been all of that time, and intend on framing it when the wedding is over. What's more? It was the SECOND dress that I tried on. I just knew. Anyway, I could do without David's Bridal. Staff is very unprofessional and unseasoned, and store is an unorganized mess. I was pulling my OWN dresses that day, and when we returned to select our Bridesmaids dresses, same thing! I should've gotten a discount....or a job. I don't think there's anything wrong with Vera crossing the line. As aforementioned, it's been done before. Personally, I think it speaks volumes about wanting to share with the less financially fortunate, and it shows that she knows how to market herself. Kudos!

February 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I have tried on both the White line at DB and the real deal at a boutique. To be honest, I prefer the DB line and the experience I got with the consultants there. I am short and curvy (5'2" 130lbs). While I am not overweight, I do require a larger sample size to accommodate for my chest and hips. At the boutique, I was practically chastised for my figure and constantly told that the dresses (not just the VW) weren't going to fit and I would have to get it custom ordered. After doing more research, I came across the DB line. I was apprehensive at first, but we went anyways. The difference was refreshing.

I wasn't looking for beading or bling. I wanted a relative classically simple dress. I found that at DB without constant scorn, and ridicule. With yards upon yards of tulle with a draped bodice and a construction that says Vera, I was happy. When I went looking for the VW specific version of that dress, I couldn't find it. And in all honesty, I don't find the current VW collection appealing.

I love that she is making herself more available to all body types and price ranges. Even though I can afford a "real" Vera Wang, I will stick with my DB dress. If the small boutiques I went to before DB are hurting for cash, they should work on their service skills before worrying what others are doing.

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Marie

AM- I'm starting to think that DB's biggest issue is inconsistency in customer service.

March 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterLouise

Recently stopped in at DB's to randomly try on the VW dresses. I've been to the high-end boutiques (although not actual VW yet) but I loved one of the WbVW dress more than the $3k+ dresses I had tried on at the pricier salons! And while being an utter fashion snob, yes, I'm considering a $1200 WbVW dress! Why? Um hello, its one day, 500+ photographs, and that is it! For the price of a real VW dress (which I highly, highly doubt are at all truly couture anymore) you can put a hefty down payment on a car, feed yourself for a year, or invest it! And despite what all the magazines say, or the wedding industry....a wedding dress is not an investment. ;)

I did check out some of the other dresses in the White collection at DB (I tried on about 7), and was a bit disappointed that some of the seams and "unique" decoration parts of the dress were not well sewn on (or the job was sloppy or lazy). I wasn't in love with the veils available, but some of the sashes were ok (but what is UP with not offering a sash that will match each dress color that she makes?) Some of the dresses I tried on didn't have any under-construction or boning, which was disappointing, as those were dresses that needed it to stay up and look the way they were intended. But some were the most airy and light-weight dresses I have tried on yet, which was very surprising considering their overall "look" or yards of tulle or organza.

I am definitely considering my DB White by Vera Wang favorite as a contender in my bridal gown search. It is at least worth the try-on.... I actually had a great time at DB, but that may have been because I went mid week and went in with a positive attitude. So its not all horrors and awfulness, but may I lucked out.

May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKiki

I'll admit, I just bought a VW White dress for my wedding. I'll further admit that I'm absolutely in love with it. I'm 5'8 and 130 lbs. The dress fits almost perfectly off the rack and I have to say...I'm look pretty freakin' amazing in it.

I'm definitely a budget-bride, but even if I weren't...I cannot rationalize spending thousands upon thousands of dollars for a dress I'm going to wear for 6 hours and then put in a box for the rest of my life. I would much rather (an am going to) put that extra money towards our food/music/etc. The things that people will remember the most about our wedding.

And ultimately, at the end of the day, if I'm married to my fiance, then everything went perfectly.

June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDB Bride

I was considering VW White last year while looking for a gown, but it had just come out and I wasn't ready to go into David's Bridal for my shopping experience. I ended up buying a 3k dress at Priscilla of Boston in Beverly Hills. It took months and months but finally when the dress arrived, I was underwhelmed. I was devastated that I chose a dress that I didn't feel right in. I immediately booked an appointment at David's Bridal "just to see" and was blown away by how amazing I felt in Vera Wang White dresses I tried on. I ended up purchasing one and feel ten times better in it than my custom gown from P of B.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

But what did you do with the other, more expensive gown?

July 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterLouise

I think it comes down to how much a person notices/appreciates material and construction. This blog hits the nail on the head, and it's something so many just don't grasp.... Despite the great lighting, gorgeous models & styling, similar silhouettes, etc, you can still tell that the Vera Wang couture gowns are better quality than the DB Vera Wang gowns. The gowns with the swirling, shredded look on the bottom are particularly telling.... the DB one looks a much cheaper material in the photo. I can't imagine how striking the difference would be in person.... Synthetic material will really be noticeable in that design. The rest of the DB selection is sooo generic. Browsing their site, my eyes glaze over as every dress begins to look the same.

The thing is, some of us don't even need a side by side comparison to note the poorer quality. I can often tell that something is synthetic just by looking at it (in person, that is). I just don't want to wear polyester on my wedding day.... I don't want ugly seams and an ill-fit. I don't want generic design. Nothing has spoiled me..... I was born spoiled when it comes to aesthetics (I do print graphic design...so yes, I'm very visual & notice details & textures/materials). I also happen to find wedding dresses ugly/boring in general, so the typical kind is not appealing to me.

I will wear synthetics & cheap clothes in day to day life because I am poor & it also doesn't look so bad on everyday clothes....but I admit I cringe at the idea of having to wear something cheap looking on my wedding day. My family insists I am a snob.... :sigh:

I admit it drives me nuts that you can get a relatively nice silk dress under $1000 (under $500 even!) so long as it's not white & tagged "wedding" though. Even a formal white dress not called a "wedding gown" tends to be more expensive because they KNOW many women will buy it for a wedding gown....

I'm comforted that BHLDN has some gowns around $1000 (and they drop even lower when on sale; which just goes to show a profit can be made without gouging people) & that they are usually not synthetic or terribly generic. I don't know what the rest of their construction is like though....

August 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershell

Shell, before you fall 100% in love with BHLDN, please make sure you read this:


They have become my nemesis over the years.

August 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterLouise

I think everyone has something they really want to be special on their wedding day. I really wanted to spend my money on the dress and was willing to pay whatever for my dress. I went to DB just to see what would be most flattering on my body type and left with a Vera Wang gown, I couldn't resist! I never thought I would get my gown on DB rather a boutique. I did go to a boutique after to really see if there was a big difference and I tried on dresses triple the price. I still had the same feeling about the "dress". I never thought I would have ended up with a DB gown but now have different perception on wedding dresses. It feels good to know you can look just as beautiful paying a fraction of the price. :)

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCAC16

Come on, seriously...I am in a committed relationship right now, and am already picturing myself needing to go wedding dress shopping in the future. But really, all this talk about NOT trying on anything over budget is weird. Women do get emotional at times, but it's just a DRESS. Hopefully, if one tries on a really over-priced gem of a dress, one can rationalize and peel that baby off, without buying it or being heart broken. After all, it's just a thing. It can't love you back...

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmaretto

I'm a total fashion snob - I do most of my shopping in NYC and Paris and rarely think twice about buying anything I'm in love with. However... I too am now a 30-something bride and thinking more practically about life, love and other stuff! One of these things is my wedding. I always thought I'd shell out the thousands for a custom Monique L'Huillier or Vera Wang wedding gown. I walk past the Monique L'Huillier store in West Hollywood at least once a month and just stare at the gowns :)

Now that I'm a bit older and have discovered Vera Wang's White label for DB, I was really confused yet admittedly excited. I started looking online with the same reticence and cynicism as many of you, thinking the quality in construction and fabric must be really cheap, etc. I went into 2 couture bridal stores to try on wedding dresses - I did fall in love with one by Pronovias and another by Monique L'Huillier that I simply did NOT want to take off! I think I kept the ML dress on for a solid 30 minutes (oops!) until the boutique started to close. I just couldn't imagine paying $4000+ for a dress I would get to wear only ONCE in my life for about 4 hours. I just kept thinking about the student loans I have, my mortgage, all the trips I want to take with my future husband, the bigger home I want to invest in, etc. Also, I started thinking about the millions of people in the world who don't have a roof over their head or access to clean drinking water, much less extravagant couture gowns.

If you are rolling in dough and don't know what to do with your money, then by all means spend thousands on a dress that gets worn once in a lifetime for a few hours and a few photos... but please really think about what you're doing. Think about whether or not you're (like a previous commenter noted) just paying for the label or because this is something that truly makes you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. If the latter, then you should go for it because this IS your day and you deserve to feel like a princess! But if a less expensive gown does the trick and makes you feel just as magical (pretend that it's a designer gown or couture and see how you feel in it then), then spend your money on more useful or practical things!

My twin sister bought her wedding dress at DB a couple of years ago, and I was planning on wearing hers (with some major alterations to the bodice)... then I thought that I should have something that was unique to my style and love for high-end, unique fashion. I went in to DB one evening just for fun and to see for myself what these VW White dresses were really like. I honestly did not expect to like any of them and had already made an appointment with a couture bridal designer to have a custom-made dress in Bev. Hills. Well... I kind of fell in love with the VW dress at DB! I really did NOT want to admit this to myself... but I couldn't take the dress off. The layers of tulle and the draping were just exquisite! It was lightweight enough that I felt like myself and not some typical bride who would be dragging herself down the aisle :) Horror of horrors, I was in love! And for 1/4 the price I was originally looking to pay for a dress for my "special day"! The fashion snob in me (whose first piece of couture was a Chanel dress at the age of 17 and I just bought my 2nd Rick Owens leather jacket this year for $1500 - but these are items I will wear again and again for a lifetime, not once for a few hours and never to be seen again) simply wouldn't let me buy the dress. I left the store and went back to ML as well as the couture designer I had an appointment with to discuss a custom-made gown. After 2 weeks of mulling it over and looking at all the pictures of myself in boutiques and at DB trying on these different dresses (I only tried on 9 different dresses combined), I finally went for it and bought the Vera from DB! My friends are obsessed and can't believe how little I paid and how amazing it looks on me! Most importantly, it makes me feel amazing.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpapillon

Personally I felt Vera wasn't doing her label any sort of long term justice by making a line at DB. I absolutely refused to step foot into a DB when I got engaged, and actually cringed when Canada brought that chain in. (I did the same when I heard a Kleinfelds was coming to my city) Remember, any cost of a product sold in the States will be inflated in Canada, regardless of where the dollar is and most likely more taxes.
I am also plus sized, I have been everywhere from a size 10-28. I knew I would find difficulties and didn't know what size I would be for the wedding. What I did know is that I wanted a Pnina , Lazaro or L'Huillier gown. I knew there would be no sample sizes available for me and I wasn't purchasing blind. I thought trying to contact the designers office directly was my best bet for proper service. I wasn't going to settle but I also wasn't going to say,Hey! I love this $16 000 gown, but can't try it on, how will you take advantage of me today?
My solution was easy, goggled "Toronto Custom Bridal Gowns" and found the lovely Valencienne, which I already heard of since she had a dress featured on the show Brides of Beverly Hills.
I took in a photo of L'Huilliers Waltz and said this is the basics which we build off of.
BEST decision of my planning! I picked all my fabrics and embellishments and I am there apart of the planning process the entire way through. No ordering, paying half and waiting up to 6 months and hoping you get the same feeling and it looks the way you remember it!

Going back to Vera. Designers are known for doing something well. Once you slap your name on anything and everything, that exclusiveness and most likely quality is gone and I will lose interest. Vera as a designer does nothing for me, and now being at DB, she is no longer the Bridal Guru women had to have or wish they had.
An items worth is only valued at its cheapest sale price. (Don't tell me how your Coach bag is $500 when it's sold at an outlet for $75 - you have a $75 bag!) I feel this cheapens her line greatly. I could be wrong, but have we not seen celebrity brides move to other designers recently? I do understand there is a difference (or hoping) there is a difference between her two lines of dresses, but if there are similarities between dresses when the price point varies into the thousands... there is a problem!
Now DB- a HUGE issue with them is privacy and harassment! My bridesmaids are all wearing different colour and style dresses. With them having different price points and different body types, where they purchased was up to them. One girl went to DB wasn't allowed passed the front door without signing her life away ALONG with the BRIDES information, who had never stepped foot or contact their store. (Luckily I have yet to see them at a bridal show around here.) I ended up receiving multiple phone calls daily from David's Bridal, who claim they were calling through Moores (a mens clothing store and the number 1 place in Canada for tux rentals- which are both owned by the same company/bank) They wanted to me to come in for all my wedding needs, my bridal gown ( I laughed at first) , bridesmaids dresses, accessories etc! I asked where the hell they got my info and they said I must have signed up somewhere or asked to be called. No way was this possible. My dress was already 1 year into being produced. I went into Moores and they were extremely embarrassed to be associated with DB even though they belong to the same group. Manager told me BD is not the level of quality and service they want to be associated with. Took 2 weeks, multiple phone calls (sometimes they hung up on me when I questioned where they got my info) to be removed from their calling list. Another one of my bridesmaids purchased her dress of the rack during clearance, she is a size 2 and complained that everything was over a size 10 but randomly the only size 4 dress was perfect for my wedding. She gave all fake information and paid cash.
I do think for the most part the bride that shops at DB is a different bride that is looking for a designer gown. In my experience, if a bride is on a budget and wants a dress under $1000.. good chance her entire wedding budget is around the price of a designer gown. I'm not just talking the $6000. Designer gowns usually start at $6000, at least the ones I was interested in did.
With all this being said, I have no issues with the bride with an affordable dress. I have seen gorgeous brides wear dresses that were $250. Its all about the fit. Other than my dress, I don't know how heavy or how crappy that fabric feels. But I do see the fit. Droopy boobs because there is no corset/boning and your dress just came off a boat from China with 2 months to spare... goodluck. I didn't want that stress.
End of the day for me, my rule of thumb was... my dress couldn't be cheaper than my bridal shoes or clutch.
Just imagine if Louboutins were sold at Target. Would we look at them the same? I wouldn't.

From the posts above... the misinformed bride will think she is getting a "real" Vera at DB. I stood in line at a bridal show recently behind a mother and daughter. The bride was saying "Mom I just can't believe how reasonable the Vera Wang dresses are??? I thought they would be very expensive because celebrities wear her and the movies, tv shows ....I never thought I could afford a Vera! I may be a Vera Wang Bride!!!!" The mother was extremely excited agreed with her. Sadly she will not be the Vera Wang Bride she thinks she is.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM.D

Got my White VW this past weekend for $600. I know I'm not in a "real" Vera Wang, but who cares? I look fan-fucking-tastic in it, and that's all that matters.

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabrielle

i would just like to make a general response. i believe the secret to a good dress vs a great dress is draping and fit. if it is draped right it can look like a million dollars. as a seamstress the best picture of the davids bridal dresses was the grecian. as it seemed the easiset to construct. vera and marchesa and a few others have mastered draping. also tailoring. a vera that fits imperfectly vs a dress that cost 300 dollars? iF the dress that is cheapeter is taken in and fitted to the body by an experienced tailor or seamstress, you will be bezter off with the less expensive dress every time. one does not want bunching buttons over the rump or a bust that meeds padding extensively to stay up. a bride isnt a costume, as a wedding isnt a marriage. you should look like you, but at your most beautiful. the other difference that is seen when you look at a well mafe gown is amount of fabric used. if your dress has an inverzed ballgown skirt with an opening for lace or extra material between the fronz one should see that the dress is not stretched too tightly at the front. there are beautiful gowns in every budget. maggie sotterro (nice brothers out west ) make some lovely gowns that make a bride look gorgeous while giving flexibility of a corset back. this has both disadvantages CAN make a dress fit neautifully from the front ..but not as prettily from the back and sides. it saves a great deal on alterations and i have seen girls of all shapes and builds look stunnimg in them. my own opinion is you should still have the dress altered. now if you want to sell your dress a corset back is a good choice. the y also have a highler priced line. more but not all of those dresses are silk. that is an advantage if you wish to dye your dress. poly can be dyed but has far less colour choices. as for lace casablanca have some beautiful fits. they ate easily altered. paloma planca are lovely. tjey run a little small in tje hips. i wore a two and a zero in a "true " vera wang and neefed a ten or eight in the paloma. but the silk is beautiful. they are made in canada. the average wedding dress IS made in china. im sorry darlings but it is true. modern trousseau are american. i believe there are several uk designers who have their dresses made in the country. as for the woman who mentioned "never being married in polyester" ...it is not the scratchy stuff of the 1970's plenty of high end designets use it all the time. a vast vast number of satins are a poly blend. even in the 500k and under price point. there are many options to consider. NEVER buy a dress thinking you will fit into it. DO NOT buy a dress if you have to stuff your bossom to get it to look right. lace drebodices can have a slight flattening effect..be sure the fit is right. sit down a.d stand recline dance around move in your dress before you decide to purchase. you dont want to show too much cleavage or rip out the backside if you sit down suddenly. DO buy a dress YOU FEEL beautiful in. i dont care if its ten dollars. always remember you can get divorced as easily in veta wang as you can davids bridal (you will just feel more guilty about it) at the end of the day you are marrying tje person not tje dress. it may never be worn ahain. to those of you who buy a dress because a celebrity wore a label or because you want tp look different..DO NOT. you are beautiful in davin or impressions or llhullier. a budget is sensible. you will likely not pass a dressdress down to your children who says there will be any? or that you will have a girl? or tjey will be anywhere your size. most importantly..styles change. dont let anyone rush you. i inhereted four dresses from a large family of girls..my grans, my mums and was still pressured to buy and wear three. i went with two cputures and a less expensive dress. i am sorry to say i did not pick my wedding dress my mother insisted on the style. she is ill, so at the time it seemed a small price to pay. it wasnt. your wedding gown truly does matter..but just tje way that you feel about it. spend money on your photographer. the most imporzant thing is to have tangible memories of the day..and marrying tje petson your love. also the whole idea tjat saxs petite must never wear a ballgown? taller women must wear x, or y? Throw it out the window. you are not any more happily wed in couture. i wore a ballgown at 4'10 inches and just 90 pounds. if its made to fit you it will be beautiful i de la renta but it wasnt cut right. i would have looked better in oleg . who once was a great designer in the kennedy years. i have not seen the davids bridal vversions other than on a bride but again she looked lovely
the other final difference is how well will your dress hold up? handsewn sequins are less likely to need a once over..wheras anything glued is a potential recipe for dress yellowing or falling off. happy hunting! and congratulations to all. hope any or all oc this helps. mikhalla dresses are also mostly (if not all silk) all the ones i have seen are. cheers viv

December 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervivien

Ms. Bunny you are an idiot. Due to my budget and limited bridal shops in my area i went to davids bridal. I fell in love with a dress not knowing it was vera wang. I tried on several dresses there by different lines. You obviously never did a comparison for yourself. Yes, the davids bridal brand dresses are polyester, tulle and itchy and thats why they're cheap. Thats where the big difference between vera wang and other "designers", however insignificant in the fashion world, comes in. Vw dresses are made with soft, high quality material and have better structure. Its not some polyester mess slapped on with a designer label. However, the VW dresses sold in davids bridal and much more simple and have alot less beading than her higher cost gowns, they're just well made simple elegant gowns. Now, you mention say yes to the dress, on the show they are able to find brides dresses 1500-2000 range, they're just alot simpler. My dress cost me avout 1500, i dont think that makes it cheap. And as far as other brides who would be mad because i paid less for a "similar" dress? Thats highly unlikely because with designer dresses you get what you pay for. I got a beautiful, well made gown that has great shape and soft, incredible material, while their dresses no doubt also have beading, lace, probably a train, and a whole lot other stuff my dress doesnt. Stop writing about stuff you personally know nothing about. Vera wang didnt cheap down her line, she just makes money off of her less fancy designs like most all other designers do.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjulie

I was going to opt to design my own dress - then we moved our wedding up by 6-7 months. As an alternative - I tried on several designer dresses before stopping in to DB for one particular White by Vera Wang dress - it was the most stunning, comfortable, and stylish thing I put on, not going to lie. I felt amazing in this dress and that feeling was not cheapened by the "DB" sign on the front door. It still wears like a Vera (you just have to be mindful of which of the dresses you try - not all are of Miss Wang's signature standards..). Better yet - I can add my own personal touches to the less expensive version to restore the couture feel, giving me the best of both worlds.

It's all about the bride - if it makes you feel like a million, who cares how little it cost?

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika Moon

I loved the blogger views and loved each and every ones comments
And opinions. I know a couple of people who wore David's Bridal line of
Vera Wang and she looked beautiful ands it was a
Destination wedding in Jamaica. My thing is why pay soo much
For a gown for a one day event? Most brides have a second dress anyways
But I can dig it though I paid $350 for my daughters sweet 16 Mori Lee dress
That was actually $500. (Because I paid cash and no tax) So I guess I know the feeling of choosing a dress and that dress is just looking at me everytime I open and close her closet. The dress was everything down to the beading and crystals on that heavy dress and I was on a
Was on a budget. So imagine when my daughter does get married. I told her she better have a job. On another note when my daughter was in her aunts wedding I purchased her dress from DB and to have it altered was $35 and it wouldn't of been ready until the day before the wedding after buying the dress a month earlier that had to be shipped to their store. You had brides who purchased dresses elsewhere paying top $$$$$ to have their dress altered at DB because of a botch job done else where. Those customers were first priority.

June 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterApril

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