Hello My Loves!
I am thoroughly excited to talk with you today about finding the perfect wedding dress as a plus size bride. I collaborated with David’s Bridal to share my favorite tips to make your dress search as exciting and positive as possible. I am getting married on August 11th, 2018 and finding my dream dress was a top priority. In the search for the perfect dress, I got to thinking about how I can help other brides go into the overwhelming world of fabric and silhouettes with confidence. There is an immense amount of pressure on the bride to look “perfect”, and I noticed that many plus size brides were especially nervous and even defeated before ever stepping into a dress store. I felt compelled to share how to prepare for the appointment, what to expect when you get there, and how to leave feeling like you found the dress that represents your personal style and brings you happiness.
Here is my ultimate guide to finding your dream dress!
I have been asked several times about how to prepare for your appointment. The best way is to start off by actually making an appointment to try on dresses. Often times bridal stores require it and this benefits the bride-to-be by having time to prepare for the appointment, and decide who they want to join them.
First and foremost, let’s talk about how we feel going into the appointment. For me, it was a mix of excitement, nervousness, and a bit of self consciousness. My body went through some changes, and in all honesty I struggled at times with the prospect of the try on process. There is so much pressure to look your best at your wedding, and I think we can all fall victim to spiraling into not feeling good about ourselves. Do not beat yourself up if this happens, breathe, and remember that you are worthy, beautiful, and enough as you are right now. Try to say as many nice things to yourself proactively and consciously. The way we talk to ourselves matters.
In addition to staying in a positive headspace, think about who is coming to the appointment with you. This is your experience, and surrounding yourself with a few very close people who have your best interest at heart will create an uplifting and fun atmosphere. Your group are your biggest cheerleaders, but ultimately you should pick a dress you feel the most confident in. This is your moment babe, you deserve it!
Wedding dresses are a different beast all together from everyday wear. Take some time to research what silhouettes you find most appealing. Pinterest is extremely helpful in this process to catalogue all of your ideas. Knowing that you will try a variety of styles, take time to consider what bra to wear and if you plan on wearing shape wear. One big thing to keep in mind is that you are only going to be in your dress a handful of times before the actual wedding. It is very helpful when you can get a clear vision of what your undergarments would look and feel like so you can make any adjustments for comfort. A well fitting foundation plays a large part in the overall appearance of the dress. Personally, my recommendation is to go with a strapless bra and since I plan to use shape wear, I wore a pair of spanx. The wonderful thing about shopping at David’s Bridal is that they will provide you with a strapless bustier and petticoat during your appointment. It is the little touches that make shopping at the store a well thought out experience. The goal is to have undergarments that are supportive, breathable, and comfortable.
Hair and Makeup
One of the best ways to envision yourself on your wedding day is to create a similar look during the dress finding process. Remember, you only get to try on your dress a couple of times before the big day, and it is helpful to get an overall picture of what you will look like. You will also have an idea if you want to adjust anything for the actual day. I opted to go with a natural glam and my hair down since I will be doing something similar for the wedding. In my experience, coming into the appointment feeling put together and good about yourself leads to a more self confident and positive time.
Now that you are feeling confident and prepared for your appointment, it is time to start looking at the gorgeous dresses. David’s Bridal is an endless source for all your bride-to-be needs. Once you enter through the doors, you basically leave the normal world behind and fall down the rabbit hole to Bridal Land. They carry everything from gorgeous gowns, shoes, accessories, bridesmaid options, and even fun gifts (because we all need a tumbler that says “Bride” or “Wifey”). The space has everything to complete your head-to-toe wedding vision.
My favorite thing about the store is the inclusive feeling that resonates in everything from the styles and sizing from 0-30, to a variety of price points. As a plus size woman, I know it can feel intimidating to walk into a brick and mortar store front, but David’s Bridal makes the experience of finding a dress accessible for a diverse group of brides!
Instead of a careless rack of plus size dresses in the back, they marked the dress hangers with a little pink tag to indicate if they carry it in larger sizes. This an excellent way of including plus size customers, while still letting us know what styles to gravitate towards.
Often times we come into a shopping experience with an idea of what looks best on us, and I definitely encourage you to pick out dresses that you are drawn to but also try to keep an open mind. It is so important to try things on because you do not know how it will look until it is on your body. Try to not pay attention to the sizing, wedding dresses often run several sizes smaller than the tag, shift your focus to the fit and feel of the dress. Nearly 100% of the time alterations will need to be made so the dress fits your unique shape perfectly. You will also be working with a stylist during your appointment who will help you throughout the entire process.
Another important tip is to order a dress that is your current size. Putting pressure on yourself to change your body for your wedding day ends up adding difficulty to an already high paced, and at times stressful planning process. Order your size and if your body changes, alterations will be able to help. I loved that at the David’s Bridal store they have an in house extremely skilled seamstress which makes the alterations process effortless.
Personally, because I have to be extra, I was on the hunt for a reception dress and already saw one I loved on the David’s Bridal website. However, I wanted to show a variety of ceremony dress styles on a size 24 woman so other curvy brides can get an idea of what the various cuts may look like on them!
I was even surprised at how well I liked some of the silhouettes I tried on, that is why it is important to try new styles!
My stylist, Cynthia, was incredible. I walked around the store and picked out a bunch dresses that called to me, and after taking my measurements Cynthia came back with even more options to try on. She was a total pro in getting the dresses on and off me, and did so with a positive, up beat attitude. You will get close with your stylist real quick, some body parts will need lifting and adjusting to get you into the dress, but trust me it will be worth it in the end.
We first started off with a classic A-Line cut, but added drama by choosing a show stopper, Oleg Cassini, in blush with gold detailing.
Oleg Cassini Dress
I love when a dress combines traditional and modern elements. This gave me fly me to Paris and get married in Notre-Dame type vibes.
Personally, I am a fan of strapless dresses and I know that showing larger arms can be a point of anxiety. If you love the strapless detail and it will be an outdoor wedding in the middle of summer, let those arms breathe. Alternatively, if you are in love with the idea of sleeves, then get a dress with them or add them. My point is, do something because you love it and want to do it, but not because you want to hide yourself. You are allowed to show your body and show off your gorgeous individuality. There are options if you want coverage for comfort like a cute sheer cape, but overall this can be a huge time of growth by starting the journey of self acceptance.
It is your day to shine, not to hide!
Speaking of shining and breaking down barriers, I tried on a couple of more form fitting dresses. I am an A-Line girl when it comes to dresses, but I believe it is important to be open to the experience of trying something new! Sometimes we make up these rules for ourselves like “Oh, I can’t wear this because my hips are too big” or “I would never look good in that because of my stomach” and we end up missing out on something we may love. Ask your stylist to find some options that may be outside of your original vision, even to just compare silhouettes and find what you like the best! If you see a dress on the rack that you love, TRY IT! Your wedding day is about celebrating your love with your partner along with the people you most love in this world. Wear something that makes you happy, that you can be present in. By trying something new, you may end up surprising yourself.
I was pleasantly shocked with how much I loved both of these form fitting dresses. Although it was out of my comfort zone, I really ended up loving what this style of dress did for my curves while making me feel sexy and elegant.
When we go in with an attitude that our plus size bodies are not a problem and they do not hold us back, that is when the magic can happen. It is about giving ourselves permission and vulnerability to try new things.
The Happily Ever After!
Once you find your dream dress, dance it out! When we stay positive with ourselves we are more free to enjoy the experience in the moment and allow ourselves the freedom to celebrate. I really encourage you to go dress shopping with an open heart and mind, surrounded by supportive people and stand in self love and acceptance as much as possible. This is such a special time in life and every bride, regardless of size, deserves to feel happy in her dress choice. You do not have to settle on outdated rules or pre-conceived notions on what you can wear as a plus size bride. This is about celebrating your life with your partner and you deserve to walk down that aisle with pride!