James and Vera Stillmank opened the first Vera’s House of Bridals in 1964. Vera, a professional seamstress, and James, a professional photographer, saw a need in the Janesville community that their special talents could fill. The first bridal shop was in a small farmhouse south of the Janesville city limits, where Vera balanced her time between helping the brides with their gown selection, fitting and altering the gowns, and raising the couple's seven children.
In 1968, having already outgrown the original location, construction began on a new ‘house’ for Vera’s brides. The new building was constructed in a colonial style that featured large individual showrooms. With the grand new building came a larger and more diversified selection of gowns, offering southern Wisconsin the newest and best in bridal designers.
In 1981, Vera’s House of Bridals expanded to Madison. The first rental location quickly proved to be too small for the growing business, and the building on Big Sky Drive, the current location, was completed in 1986. Following the family tradition of personalized customer service, this building also features large and welcoming showrooms to accommodate brides and the friends and family members they may choose to bring with them. This spacious and beautiful building houses a full inventory of over 400 bridal gowns and nearly 350 bridesmaids' dresses, as well as a large selection of social occasion and mothers' dresses. There is also a complete on-site design studio, where professionally-trained seamstresses put the finishing touches on the gowns, so that they never need to leave our facility until packed carefully and put into the bride's care. There is ample storage for all the gowns that have been purchased, which are stored at no charge for our valued clients until the day the dress is picked up.
In 2003, the original Janesville location became Vera’s Clearance Center, where cost-conscious brides may find a wonderful gown at a reduced price (some as low as $99) while still experiencing Vera’s dedication to quality, customer service, and proper fit. The Clearance Center also offers Vera's Vintage Bridal Collection, which is a new feature.
We are truly Wisconsin's bridal experts. Since 1964, we are proud to have helped over 45,000 brides select the perfect gown. Many of our brides have returned with their daughters and granddaughters to experience our atmosphere of elegance combined with friendly and expert service. All of Vera’s employees, from stylists to seamstresses, are trained professionally to best assist you individually and to address your unique needs.
Vera’s is the only bridal shop to have won the acclaimed Wisconsin Bride Magazine’s award as the Best Place to Purchase a Bridal Gown every year since 2007, and we are honored to have been selected again for 2012. We are proud to have been acclaimed as one of America's best bridal salons, a designation we take very seriously.
Continuing the proud family tradition, Vera's daughter Renee welcomes you to our Madison store and to the experience that is Vera's.
We look forward to helping you find your perfect dress!