The Plus Size Bride: Finding a Wedding Dress Part 1

My bridal industry journey began with my own DIY wedding. When I was shopping for my wedding dress I was a size 14 and therefore considered a plus size bride. I carry quite a bit of my weight in my midsection, which means that most dresses did not look good on me. I went to many different bridal shops and either couldn’t try on wedding dresses or the wedding dresses were so small that they made me look and feel so uncomfortable. I ended up going to a big chain wedding dress store and just settling on a wedding dress because I didn’t want people to know that I was too big to try on wedding dresses. I didn’t get the experience that I think most brides deserve when going wedding dress shopping. After that, I made it my mission to make sure no bride ever feels this way again. In the United States of America the woman is a size 14 or above. Yet the bridal industry caters to sizes 8 or lower. Why is it so hard for a plus size bride to a find a wedding dress that makes her feel beautiful and stunning and that flatters her curves? After opening my bridal shop I went on a hunt for the answer. As a plus size bridal shop, we specialize only in size 14 and above dresses. Our goal is to make every single bride who walks through our door feel as beautiful and to to love her curves. Here are the top 4 of many things that I believe make it so hard for a plus size bride to really find the perfect dress and some advice to help them say yes to the dress.

​1. Bridal Sizes Versus Street Sizes
The size gap is real, ladies. Bridal size is the size of a wedding dress, and street size is the size of the clothes you wear every single day. There is a huge difference between the 2. A bride that can wear a size 16 pants would wear a 20 or higher in many bridal designers. Typical high end designers size their dresses much smaller than the “normal” standard sizes. Furthermore, for many designers, slender size wedding dresses are 14 and below and plus size dresses begin at size 16. The problem is that a size 16 in bridal is really only a size 12 or even sometimes as small as a size 4 and in a wedding dress. This sizing gives brides a false sense of insecurity when trying on wedding dresses and inevitably ends up making them feel bad about themselves because the dress doesn’t zip or sometimes can’t even fit over their hips. It is not you. It is this archaic bridal system.2. Society Views Plus Size Women as Unhealthy and Unattractive.
So many brides have come into my shop and said “I tried on a dress elsewhere, and they made me feel so uncomfortable.” Body shaming is so real in all things fashion. We read these magazines. We see models at runway shows, and they are so thin. We are taught to think that that is the standard of beauty. No one should be shamed for how they look. No one should feel uncomfortable when trying on a wedding dress. Your curves are beautiful. Your curves are lovely. We as women should be inspiring each other to love the way we look. We should be helping each other to feel confident and to live confidently, not shaming each other because of our bodies. The world is made up of all shapes and sizes. You are beautiful. No matter what he or she says, remember that person you’re walking down the aisle to thinks that you are the most beautiful person in the world. When shopping for my wedding dress my husband literally told me every single day that I am the most beautiful woman in the world to him, and that made me feel more confident in a time where my place in the world made me feel ugly. I can’t say it enough: no one has the right to tell you you are not stunning. Be unapologetically you.

3. Don’t Settle
In the process of buying a wedding dress as a plus size bride it is so easy to just wanna get it over with. It’s easy to tell yourself that it’s good enough. The one thing that I regret more than anything is settling, I regret having to look back on my pictures and hate the dress hate and how I look at it. I wish I would’ve given myself the time and had the patience to find a dress that was perfect for me. So often when I’m looking at dresses to carry in my shop I think “man that dress would look great on me” or “I really wish that I had one picture of myself and husband I would hang. I feel so uncomfortable about my wedding pictures I haven’t even them with my family. Settling may make you feel good in the moment; but for years to come you don’t want to look at your wedding pictures and think man I hate the way I looked.

4. Feeling Uncomfortable
Being a plus side bride can feel isolating and demoralizing. When shopping for a wedding dress you should feel confident and excited, but many plus size brides have to take a deep breath and convince themselves that they can make it through this, that all they have to do is pick something, anything, and more times than not they end up settling on a dress because they’ve either tried on too many and feel like they have no other choice or they’ve decided that they don’t want go through the process at all. If you do not feel comfortable at a bridal shop it is ok to leave. Take a step back, and take a deep breath. It is ok to say I am beautiful. It is ok to let somebody know that they are making you feel uncomfortable. It is not your job to make them feel better about their biases. It is your job to feel happy and excited that you’re getting married. Girl, you found the person that you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Stop trying to please other people, and please yourself.

In Part 2 I have written some advice I wish someone would have given me.

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