Your wedding day is approaching, and you’ve got a ton on your plate. There are vendors to call, menus to try, and music to select. Then, there’s the issue of your wedding dress!
Shopping for “the” gown is meant to be a fun experience, and shouldn’t be stressful at all. If you’re a curvy bride, there are tips that can help make this journey even more enjoyable. Today, we’re sharing some of our best advice to help you find a plus size wedding dress you adore.
1. Start With the Right Shops
As you start wedding dress shopping, you can make the process easier by heading straight to bridal boutiques that specialize in plus-size attire built for your body type. While most mainstream boutiques will carry a limited range of plus sizes, the selection could be sparse. To make sure you’ll have plenty of dresses to choose from, you can also call ahead and ask each shop to share their sample sizes. If they aren’t size-inclusive, then try another until you find a boutique that meets your needs.
As you try on dresses, keep in mind that sample sizes are just that: samples. They aren’t meant to fit like your final design will, but they can give you a good idea of which styles and fabrics you prefer. If the gown is too big for you, the consultant can use clips to gather the excess fabric and move it to the back. Ideally, ask to work with a bridal consultant who specializes in plus-sized wedding dress styles. They can direct you straight to the racks that will flatter your figure, and they’ll also know which looks to avoid.
2. Keep an Open Mind
You might think that a curvy bride could never rock a form-fitting wedding gown, such as a mermaid or trumpet style. However, that’s absolutely not the case! There are plenty of plus-size brides who rock slim-cut gowns with confidence. Then, there are those who prefer the extra wiggle room that a sheath-style or column-style dress affords.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a certain look before you even start shopping. Be willing to try on a variety of wedding dress styles and give each one a chance. You might surprise yourself and discover that you love an unexpected look you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. If you’re not sure where to start, try an A-line dress. These fit a little more snugly at the top but then gently cascade downward and outward, creating a basic “A” shape. They’re flattering on almost everyone, highlighting the features you love and beautifully covering those that you don’t.
3. Call the Shop Ahead of Time
On your designated shopping day, go ahead and give each shop a courtesy call before you arrive. Ask them to pull a few samples in your size, so you can spend less time flipping through options and more time trying them on.
While you’re on the phone, check to make sure they’ll be able to accommodate you for the entirety of your stay. Ask about plus-size chairs and dressing rooms to make sure you’re comfortable at every turn.
4. Keep Fabric in Mind
Did you know that there are lots of illusions you can create with just fabric alone? For instance, fabric that’s ruched along the bottom adds texture to your wedding dress, which can help your figure appear slimmer. It’s also a great option if you want a dress that hides your hips or belly.
On the other hand, a fabric like silk or satin that hugs every curve can accentuate a plus-sized figure. The same applies to thin fabrics like crepe, which look elegant but aren’t always that flattering. If you want to draw attention to your beautiful curves, then feel free to rock the look! Otherwise, look for stiffer fabrics that won’t be as clingy.
5. Highlight the Features You Love
Want to draw attention to your bust? If so, choose a stunning V-neck dress that puts all eyes where you want them the most. If you especially love your hips, choose a trumpet-style dress that puts them on full display.
Instead of lamenting and stressing about any features, you don’t adore, try to shift your attention and your perspective. Explain your goals to your bridal consultant and ask for dresses that accentuate the areas you love. This way, you’ll be even more confident when it’s time to slip into the dress on your big day! Not sure which features you should highlight? Look for size-inclusive companies that offer a range of different styles and designs. For instance, retailers that partner with Cocomelody offer plus-size wedding dress collections made to help you look and feel your best.
6. Bring the Right People
Some brides choose to waltz into a bridal salon with every single friend and family member they have. Then, there are those who prefer to go alone or with just one trusted acquaintance. While this experience can be fun when shared, don’t feel pressured to bring a huge entourage with you to shop for your dress. Only bring people who have your best interest at heart and share your vision. As you’re hand-picking your crew, keep in mind that even well-meaning loved ones can make underhanded remarks that could cut into your self-esteem.
You deserve to feel your best during this time, and you should only be surrounded by your very best cheerleaders. Once you’ve established your circle, take the time to have a heartfelt talk with them before you start shopping. Explain which topics are fine to discuss and which you’d rather avoid. For instance, the conversation should steer clear of anything that makes you feel self-conscious and should uplift you during this special time. Fat-phobic language is very real, and some people don’t even realize they’re engaging in it before the damage has already been done.
7. Wear Your Undergarments
As you head to the bridal shop, wear the same undergarments that you plan to use on your big day. This includes your bra, underwear, and any shapewear you plan to don. This way, you can get a more realistic look at how the gown will fit on your body. Many brides don’t start thinking about what’s going under their dress until they’ve found the one, but we suggest doing these steps in reverse. If you wear minimal undergarments to try on your gown, you might be surprised to find that they feel tighter when it’s time to walk down the aisle.
That isn’t a surprise you want, so go ahead and suit up. If you don’t want to wear the whole get-up during the entire shopping spree, pack it in your purse so you can pull it on and off as needed. In terms of shapewear, don’t assume you need it. With the wrong dress, it can bunch up, ride up, and generally feel uncomfortable. Some brides prefer to go without it, so try both ways to see what works for you.
8. Understand Bridal Sizing
While you can dresses, remember that formalwear is often sized differently than normal clothes. This means you might not be the exact same size in your wedding gown as you are in your church dress. In fact, most people find that they need to size up at least one or two sizes when they’re shopping for their special day.
To that end, go with what fits you best, and trust your consultant’s guidance. It can be incredibly freeing to stop paying attention to the number on the label and go with what feels right. At the end of the day, you want to be able to dance, eat, and move freely in your dress with the love of your life. The tag on your dress is much less important than the smile on your face.
9. Try on Your Designer Favorites
Did you fall in love with a specific dress that you saw online or in a magazine? Don’t assume that the style is out of reach because the designer doesn’t make plus sizes. Go ahead and check, and you might be surprised! There are many size-inclusive bridal designer companies that can accommodate a range of shapes and styles. Try on the dress of your dreams and see how it makes you feel, even if you aren’t sure how you’ll look once it’s on.
10. Add the Right Details
Are you planning to wear your hair in an updo for your wedding? You don’t have to visit your stylist before you shop, but go ahead and throw it into a ponytail when you try on your dress.
This way, you’ll know how your neck and chest will look on the big day. The same goes for any other detail that you plan to add, such as a bold smoky eye or a bright red lip. To the greatest extent possible, keep those details the same when you shop so you can visualize the real thing that much more clearly.
Find the Perfect Plus Size Wedding Dress
You’ll remember your wedding for the rest of your life, and you want those memories to be beautiful ones. When you find a great plus size wedding dress, you can check this task off your to-do list and start tackling more activities!
Keep your personal style and comfort in mind, and don’t worry too much about what someone else says or what the tag reads. If you feel confident, it will show, and you’ll want to relive your day again and again.