Brides are beautiful regardless of their size, but plus-sized brides face a challenge in finding a wedding dress that makes the entire planning of your special day pale in comparison. The wedding dress of your dreams
is out there, but if you’re a plus-size bride, you will often run into the problem that most traditional bridal shops don’t even carry your size.
Bigger brides (we like to say voluptuous) have hope. There’s no reason to starve yourself or start feeling ashamed of your body; first, we’re going to look at ways of accentuating your beauty and then we’ll tackle the harder task of finding someone to give you what you want – a wedding dress that makes you feel like the goddess you are as you walk down the aisle.
Playing up the Positive: Plus-Sized Fashions that Work
As with all fashions for the plus-sized woman, wedding dresses should accentuate what you like most about yourself and subtly play down the things you don’t like. When you begin your quest for the perfect dress, keep in mind the following guidelines that will help you get something perfect even before you try it on:
1. A-Lines: A-line dresses are close-fitting at the shoulders and gently flare away from the bodice to create a long, flowing line. There aren’t any cinches or waistbands to accentuate not-so-flattering curves around the belly, which is perfect for the plus-size bride.
2. Sensual Curves: Got a bust that you’re confident with? Empire waist dresses, the kind that fall in a straight line from just below the bust , will play up the curves you’re most proud of and make the rest seem unimportant.
3. Slinky Sleeves: Long sleeves that come to a point over the hand (gothic style) or end just below the elbow add a sleek line to your dress that you’ll love. Stay far, far away from puffy or unfitted sleeves, as they’ll add bulk to the overall look. A recently returning trend is to wear “gauntlets” – sleeves that aren’t attached to the dress. This is a fashion popular in renaissance gowns, which can show off a peek of skin here and there, which is beyond sexy.
4. Open Up: Gowns with open necklines such as scoop necks and keyholes are flattering to the full figure. Once again, if you have a full bust that you’re confident about, you can play up your assets by choosing a support bra that lets you flirtatiously display your dÃ?Â©colletage.
5. Delicate Details: Our faces are what show the world we know we’re beautiful. Place more attention on your face and hair by framing yourself with a stunning necklace, a glistening bridal tiara, or flowers delicately arranged throughout your hair.
Putting it Together: Bridal Gown and Lingerie Shops
Once you have decided on the right “look” – what style of dress – you’re going to be on the quest for the right dress maker or shop. Even beyond that, your wedding dress will fall into a “theme”, be it renaissance or modern, and the lingerie you choose should reflect that theme.
If you thought finding a plus-size wedding dress was difficult, wait till you try to find the right plus-size lingerie to go with it. Message boards are always filled with women size 20 and up who can’t find the lingerie they’re looking for; that perfect mix of beauty and theme which actually fits them.
Here, I’ve gathered some of the most reputable sites that provide plus size wedding dresses or plus size lingerie, and in some cases they will help you out with both.
Before you get going, though, here are some tips for buying the perfect wedding dress.
1. Get Moving – Start shopping as soon as you set your wedding date. Most plus-size wedding dresses are a special order, which means that they could take up to 6 months to arrive. If you have your wedding gown custom made, you need to allow at least 6 months for the gown to be created, fit, and altered. You might get lucky and the gown will arrive early; if it does, you can usually wait until about 4 weeks before the wedding to have it altered.
2. Count on a Deposit – Special order wedding gowns and most custom made wedding dresses will come with the need to place a deposit. Generally, the store or designer will require 1/3 to Ã?Â½ the total cost of the gown on deposit, and the deposit is not usually refundable. So, before you order, make sure that your decision is a firm one and keep receipts of your purchase for your records.
3. Get Measured – If you are ordering online, make sure that you get measured by an experienced seamstress before you order. The designer or store you order from will use these measurements to get the gown as perfectly fitted as possible before alterations.
4. Read the Contract – Both stores and wedding gown designers will require you to sign a sales contract; this finalizes your order and protects both you and the person you are ordering from. In addition to the standard information (your name, address, phone number, and method of payment), your contract should include your wedding date, and the last acceptable date for delivery of the gown. When setting this delivery date, provide yourself plenty of time to make alterations and take portraits. Finally, the contract should clearly state the manufacturer’s name, the style of the gown, the size and color you have ordered, a description of the gown, and (if at all possible), a picture reference of the gown you’re expecting to receive. Ask questions about the “fine print” before you sign the contract.
5. Charge It – Even if you purchase your gown right in your home-town and not online, you should use a credit card to make your payment. Doing this protects you in case anything should happen; federal law states that if the merchandise you buy does not live up to what was promised, you are entitled to a refund. So, if your gown arrives damaged, in the wrong size, or not at all, you still have your money.
If the company or person you’re ordering your wedding dress from doesn’t give you complete information, or refuses to answer questions to your satisfaction, DON’T sign the contract. Never feel trapped into purchasing a gown from someone you do not fully trust; you might have problems finding the plus-size gown of your dreams, but no one has the right to pressure you into buying it from them.
Ella Park Bridal – www.ellaparkbridal.com – This site carries wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses up to size 28. In particular, check out their “Raylia Classics” collection of gowns; made with timeless styling and crafted from straight lines, this collection carries some of the most breathtaking gowns perfectly suited to the plus-size figure. Even better?- Ella Park Bridal will not charge you extra for ordering a plus-size gown, which is practically unheard of.
Bride Save – www.bridesave.com – A website dedicated to offering designer gowns at affordable prices, this one has the added bonus of offering wedding gowns in sizes up to 30x. They make it easy to find your perfect match, too, with a search tool that lets you look by size, price, designer, and more.
Silver Lining – www.silverliningplus.com – Here, you’ll find a group of people dedicated to the full size bride; people who understand the frustration of walking the racks of a bridal shop only to find size 8 dresses. Their lines of wedding gowns are specifically created for women size 14 – 26, and they’ve got some great lingerie to go with it.
Feel Pretty – www.feelpretty.com – Complete with everything from merry widow corsets to lace camis and boy shorts, this website if focused on offering the full size woman really gorgeous lingerie. They offer size charts to help you make the perfect choice without the fear of, “Will it fit?”
Lingerie At Large – www.lingerieatlarge.com – Not even their models will make you want to scream; this site is all about the plus size figure, in all its beautiful glory, and features a full line of bridal lingerie.