The lowdown on plus size wedding dress shopping…
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
If your got engaged over Christmas or your looking for THE dress for a summer wedding you deserve to feel the same excitement as anyone else. I know from experience that being a plus size bride, shopping for your dream dress isn’t always the amazing memory it should be so here’s some advice on what to expect…
Firstly, as with everything plus size fashion related, the wedding dress industry is improving the options available for plus size brides…. Slowly…. And doing no where near enough to get anywhere close to inclusivity. There are brands and shops out there that do cater but a lot of them are way behind the times.
Basically bridal shops order a sample of a dress, a good bridal shop will order a good mixture of sizes when ordering samples, not all bridal shops are good. I went to a sample sale when I was dress shopping which is where the shops sell off previous seasons dresses that people have tried on at discounted prices. The vast majority of dresses there were a size 12. The reason for that is because shops think that’s what most women are so that’s basically what they cater for. If you go into a shop and they don’t have any dresses that you can try on because they have only ordered 10s and 12s then walk back out. Its a big decision and one you shouldn’t be expected to make by holding a dress up against yourself in the mirror because the shop don’t feel inclusivity is important. Your money is as good as anyone else’s and the problem is not you or your size the problem is the industry standards which need to change. There are plenty of designers making plus size dresses out there, if they are not prepared to order an inclusive range of sizes they don’t deserve your custom.
A lot of the time the ladies that go into bridal shops will talk to the staff about how much weight they want to lose or parts of their body they want the dress to cover. In almost every shop I went into the sales assistant either assumed I would be dieting, in one shop she actually took me to the range of plus size dresses which consisted of 3 and picked out the one with long sleeves and proceeded to tell me that most plus size brides want to cover their arms. I left wondering if I should be covering my arms. These are other people’s body hang ups, not necessarily yours. Don’t be afraid to say something if you are uncomfortable with listening to other people’s body image issues being projected onto you. You don’t have to lose weight for your wedding if you are happy as you are, don’t feel like there is something wrong with you for not wanting to. If the sales assistant assumes you want to cover your arms or basically get married in a tent because you are plus size just remember it’s your day, if you like it wear it, don’t question your own decision because of someone else’s idea of what’s “flattering”.
A big thing to remember is that wedding dresses are really not true to size. I wear a size 18 and got married in a size 24 dress. Don’t feel bad because a dress is a bigger size on the label than you would normally wear, the sizes really are all over the place. There is a shop in Liverpool called beautiful brides, they were at the curve fashion festival and they actually take the sizes out of the dresses and the ladies recommend ones to try on based on the size the dress actually is and it’s a shame that more places don’t do it. It can be really disheartening to try a dress on in your size only to get into the changing room, half naked with a women you don’t know only to find it won’t even go over your ass (you can probably tell this happened to me more than once). The problem isn’t you it’s the industry that needs to do better.
If you are planning on going to the wedding show there are a lot of dresses there and you can save a lot by buying a sample but be aware that there is nowhere near as much choice for plus size brides. I got my brooch bouquet and my veil from there, it’s definitely worth going but don’t bank on getting a dress from there. A lot of the exhibitors bring samples to sell which they mainly only order in 10s and 12s to begin with, there are no proper fitting rooms, queues for the tiny ones that are there and women literally everywhere wandering around in dresses that don’t do up at the back trying to find a mirror. If your anxious about going dress shopping anyway its a lot.
Do your research before you go and remember it should be a fun and good experience that you deserve to enjoy as much as anyone else. Relax, your going to look amazing