This New Wedding Dress Startup Wants to Disrupt the Bridal Industry

Whether you’ve been dreaming about a wedding dress since you were little, or only just started thinking about what you want to wear post-proposal, choosing a wedding dress is one of the most exciting aspects of the planning process. It’s perhaps the only decision a bride gets to make on her own, and it’s a way of showing off her unique point of view on her big day—however princessy, boho, or modern that may be!

If you’re new to the experience (like most brides are), you might be surprised to learn that trying on wedding dresses can be quite uncomfortable. There is usually a strict one-hour time frame, a limit on the number of people you can bring along, and the fact that you’re stuck in a tight dressing room with a stranger who is not only pinning you in and out of each dress, but also trying to reach a sales quota for the day. When I was looking for my own bridal dress, there was no fun music, no champagne, and no tears. Although I did end up spending double what I had initially budgeted because #yolo.

Thankfully, a new startup called Floravere is trying to eliminate the wedding dress fuss and give brides what they deserve: an easy, seamless, shopping experience. Aside from making gorgeous wedding dresses and shipping them directly to your door so you can try them on in the comfort of your home, they also charge fair, radically accessible prices that won’t turn your wedding budget upside down. We sat down with Floravere’s founders, Molly and Denise, to learn more about the industry, their process, and what every bride should know before she goes searching for “the one.”

Why did you start Floravere?

When Molly was dress shopping for her own wedding a few years ago, we were both really shocked to find out how suffocating and antiquated the experience was. So much of it just didn’t make any sense to us. Why couldn’t we see the selection or prices online before we went in for an appointment? Why was it impossible to hunt down the dresses we pinned to try on in person? Why were the dresses that felt truly chic and special so insanely expensive?

That sticker shock really inspired us to start Floravere. Since we both had business and fashion/e-commerce backgrounds, we knew there was a better way to deliver runway-quality wedding gowns at a price point that brides could feel good, not guilty, about spending. We assembled a collective of top designers and industry insiders (from brands like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, and Marchesa), built our own, more efficient supply chain, and started selling directly to brides. This means that we can offer a collection of high-end, truly unforgettable wedding gowns at historically impossible prices ($850-$2,250).

Why offer brides the option to try dresses on at home?

We wanted to offer an innovative shopping experience that’s totally personalized to how you want to shop. So you can either book a private appointment at any of our showrooms, or order gown samples to be shipped to your doorstep so you can try on at home, nationwide. As we like to say, “you do you,” and home try-on is unique in that it allows you to really create the experience you want, whether that means trying on in your hometown with your entire extended family in the room, or trying on alone because you prefer a more low-key experience for such a personal decision, or anything in between. You get to set the tone and your Floravere Stylist is at your fingertips via text and FaceTime to support you every step of the process.

What exactly is the bride tax?

The bride tax is that 3-5x markup that seems to magically appear when the words wedding or bride are involved. Weddings are expensive and stressful enough, why does the wedding dress industry have to add to that? We are adamant about providing transparent, fair pricing for the quality and craftsmanship of our gowns.

How do you make your dresses more affordable?

Our gowns are designed, crafted, and sold exclusively by us, meaning that we’re able to offer radical prices by cutting out the middlemen and the retail markup. We’ve also invested a lot of time and effort into building our supply chain and because we come from the perspective of being bridal industry outsiders, we’ve been able to do things quite innovatively while also working closely with designers and artisans with deep bridal experience. Ultimately, that means we’re able to pass on our cost savings to our brides so every style is under $2,250, and some even start under $1,000.

Any advice for brides-to-be before they dive into wedding planning and dress shopping?

Keep an open mind! Wedding dress shopping can feel really overwhelming because it’s like a foreign language of styles and silhouettes that you’ve probably never encountered before, and sometimes it feels like there are just way too many options and opinions. We like to encourage our brides not to focus on the specific silhouettes or elements that they want or do not want, but instead on how they want to feel on their wedding day. Do you want to feel sexy? Powerful? Romantic? Effortless? Free? That will give you a frame of reference to know that when you put on a dress that makes you really feel that way, that’s your wedding dress.

—Gabby Lester-Coll