Category Archives for Plus-Size Wedding Dress

Finding the Perfect Plus Size Wedding Dress

Plus-Size Wedding Dress photo

As a plus-sized girl who’s never really obsessed over her future wedding, I knew dress shopping was going to be a challenging experience. I’m comfortable with my body, but there’s no way I was going to look like the models in those bridal magazines! I wanted to look like myself, but fancier. But I had no idea where to start, let alone how I was going to end up with “the dress”. But find a dress I did, and with a minimal amount of angst!

Gathering Ideas

Having no preconceived notion of what kind of wedding dress I wanted, at first I just started doing image searches on the internet. I quickly realized that I needed to refine my search to plus-sized brides! It wasn’t worth it to spend my time falling in love with a certain dress only to realize my body wouldn’t look good in that particular style, or the designer only went up to size 10. Every time I found something I loved, I filed it away on my Pinterest board for future reference. I tried to find dresses with different shapes, necklines, and textures, since I had no idea what would look the best on me.

Picking an Entourage

Once I had a file of potential dresses, I had to decide who to bring shopping with me. Some women like to go alone, and some bring their ten bridesmaids, six sisters and all the aunts and mothers they can round up. I ended up going on two separate shopping trips. At the first, I brought my mother, grandmother, and maid of honor. The second outing consisted of me and my two bridesmaids. The difference between the “family” trip and the “friend” trip were vast. While my mother and grandmother were slightly weepy over every dress I tried on, my friends were much more practical. Was I going to be able to dance in a mermaid style? How was I going to pee in that huge ballgown? It was a great combination of the confidence-boosting “You look beautiful!” and the realistic “Your boobs are going to fall out of that after half an hour.” I would recommend a small group of five people or less, with a good combination of support and honesty. Each brides had to pick just who those people will be.

Where to Shop

I choose a large national chain for both of my bridal appointments. Since I’m six feet tall and a size 16, I knew this store would have a wider variety of dresses for me to try on. I was also dress shopping in two different locations, so I liked the option of getting the same service across the country. While I highly encourage the patronage of local shops, this wasn’t a practical option for me. I came in with my dress ideas, some of which I hand picked off the company’s website. But I also let the bridal consultant choose a few dresses. These women see hundreds of brides a year and know the inventory backwards and forwards. One of my top picks was actually a dress I never would have picked on my own.

Getting a Dress Made

After two dress shopping trips and almost 30 dresses, I still hadn’t found one that had all the perfect elements. I loved pieces of several dresses; the neckline of one, the skirt of another, the embroidery on a third. I had also come to the realization that I didn’t want a white dress. And no, ivory or eggshell wasn’t going to cut it either. What I wanted was blue. So I finally broke down and asked my future sister-in-law if she would be willing to put her professional costumer skills into making me a wedding dress. My two top priorities in a wedding dress were fit and originality, and getting a dress made would address both of those. I shared with her the pictures I had taken (another important consideration, as some bridal stores will not let you take pictures), and told her what I wanted.

Fittings and Finances

The great thing about getting a dress made is the number of fittings are reduced. Since my dress is made to fit me, only minor adjustments are needed along the way. I am also able to make small tweeks to the design as we go. For instance, we were able to move the waist on the dress to better suit my body, and adjust the straps to cover my favorite bra. Even if you don’t have a talented sister-in-law, getting a dress made for you can be just as cost effective as buying a dress. A quick tour of Etsy shows prices for custom wedding gowns from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, the same price range as most pre-made bridal gowns. And “alterations” are included in the base price, as they are done as the dress is being constructed.

Advantages of a Custom Wedding Dress

My perfect wedding dress is still in it’s final construction phases in my SIL’s workroom. I couldn’t be more excited to wear it! It fits me like a glove, flatters my shape, and is a true original. I also feel good about spending my dress money on a small business as opposed to a huge national chain. For eco-concious brides, a tailor-made wedding dress is an opportunity to use earth friendly fabrics or recycle an older gown. Getting a custom dress is a great way to get a one-of-a-kind dress that fits your figure, your budget, and your values!

Image source: http://fashionazz.com/plus-size-wedding-dresses-for-women

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