Dress shopping is an emotional experience for every bride. Excitement, joy, anticipation…and almost always: a little bit of nerves.
For plus-size brides, even the most confident and proud brides-to-be get the jitters when it comes to the gown shopping process.
Every young girl daydreams about her wedding gown. You watched the iconic bride movies, flipped through the magazines, drooled over the celeb wedding tabloids. How many times did you see a plus-size bride? Likely not very often.
Fast forward to 2022, there is no shortage of STUNNING gowns for every brides of every shape, size, and style. Boutiques are carrying more inclusive sizes, and designers thoughtfully curate collections that EMBRACE curves, not hide them.
To help you navigate your one-of-a-kind dress shopping experience, our team of expert bridal stylists have put together a few tips to help you get the most out of your next bridal gown appointment.
1. Search for styles that complement your body type, not your body size.
When it comes to choosing a silhouette (aka: A-line, Ballgown, Mermaid, etc.), there is no size cutoff on who should wear what.
Our stylists aren’t pulling styles based on the size you measure for. They’re looking at the width of your shoulders, length of your torso, the shape of your hips, and so on. Body types exist across all sizes. Don’t let the number on the tag define your style.
2. Come in with an open mind
Wedding gowns are built different. There’s a lot of care that goes into the structure and tailoring of the gown to ensure it fits and flatters every inch of the body. Keep an open mind, trust your stylist, and don’t be afraid to try a style of gown a little out of your comfort zone.
Many plus size brides shy away from fitted styles like mermaid and sheath gowns because they feel like it will not flatter them. Many will be surprised at how beautiful their curves look in fitted styles.
3. Let your stylist take care of you
You might feel an urge to keep your stylist at an arms length out of fear of inconveniencing them, being judged by them, or feeling like they won’t understand you and your needs.
Bridal stylists are not like other sales people. We do what we do for one simple reason. WE. LOVE. BRIDES. It’s our honor to help you on your journey and no bride (regardless of her size, color, or budget) is a burden.
When you come to your bridal appointment, your stylist will be your best friend. She’ll ask you lots of questions, listen closely to your feedback, make your guests feel welcome, and pull you gowns that will make you feel amazing in your body. Let her be your bridal bestie for the day!
4. Call Ahead.
You can ease a lot of uncertainty by calling the bridal shop ahead of time. Even at boutiques that accept walk-ins, make an appointment. That way you can walk in the door and have a stylist ready (and excited!) to guide you on your experience.
You can also ask about their sample size selection so you can be confident you’re walking into a shop that has plenty of styles to see in your size.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to address any concerns or worries you might have about your upcoming visit when you call.
5 . Find brands you identify with.
Another good question to ask on that phone call. “What brands do you carry?”. Start doing a little bit of browsing on the available collections and save some photos for inspiration. Photos are great to show your stylist so they can get an idea of the kind of styles you’re attracted to.
While the bridal industry as a whole has become more size inclusive, there’s a few brands that have redefined plus-size bridal fashion. Our top brand recommendation?
Morilee: Morilee is one of the most inclusive labels you’ll find in bridal. Morilee not only offers plus sizes, but celebrates them. You’ll find every style under sun available for EVERYONE. They offer ENDLESS customization options (extra coverage, sleeve options, and much more) to ensure every Morilee bride’s vision is realized.
You can start by checking out their beautifully curated plus-size collection called “Julietta”!
6. Size DOESN’T Matter.
Pay no mind to that number on the tag. It doesn’t mean a thing. Bridal gowns run notoriously small. Don’t get discouraged if your recommended size is a size (or two!) larger than your usual dress size.
7. Choose your entourage wisely.
One of the biggest joys of finding a wedding gown is sharing that joy with the people you love. But be selective on who you bring to your try-on. Too many (or too strong of) opinions can turn your wedding gown dreams into an absolute nightmare.
8. Don’t size down.
This one is critical. Order your gown in the size that fits you at your appointment. Do not order a size or two smaller because you intend to lose weight. Sizes are based on measurements, not the number on the scales. Even if you do lose weight, it’s impossible to know what measurements will change and by how much. You can always alter a dress down. You don’t want to live in fear of not fitting the dress or risk the dress arriving so small that it’s unwearable. This goes for brides of EVERY size.
9. Connect with the plus-size bride community!
You’d be amazed how much comfort you can get from just listening to other brides’ experiences that have grown through similar fears/frustrations. Simply following the related hashtags (such as #plussizebride #curvybride and many more) will allow you to hear (or share!) stories from brides from all over the world.
10. Be kind to yourself.
The gown shopping process can be stressful on any bride. If you get discouraged, keep your head up and don’t throw in the towel. Sometimes, you’ll find your gown in the first few zip ups. Sometimes, it takes longer to really feel confident in choosing a gown. Be patient with yourself, listen to your heart, and most of all, enjoy one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding!
– Abby Bellmer, Bridal Novias Stylist Team