7 Wedding dress shopping tips for brides who love their curves

By on November 10, 2015

Not every soon-to-be bride is a size 6 or 8. In fact, very few are! While most designers cater to most size ranges, it is a known fact that curvy brides have a difficult time finding wedding gowns that they love. Many of them complain of how they have to settle for ones that are available in their size, because they cannot afford to be too choosy.

However, we do not think this is necessary. If you start early and do your planning right, getting married in a wedding dress you love, is definitely possible. Our tips here are specifically intended for plus-size brides, who are on the search for their wedding dress.

First and foremost, any bride who goes shopping for her wedding dress should have a general idea of what she wants. So, let us look at the features in wedding dresses that look best on curvy women.

What to look for when choosing a gown

Knowing what will look best on you will help you narrow down your choices and make shopping a lot easier. The main factors that matter are

  • does the silhouette flatter your figure?
  • Does the neckline accentuate your facial features
  • does the color suit your skin tone?
  • Does the sleeve choice look good on you?
  • Does the fabric add more bulk to your frame?

Now, let us find the answers to these questions, when you are a plus-size bride.

Silhouette: Dress styles that look best on curvy women include A-line dresses and ball gowns. Empire waist gowns in fabric that won’t cling may also be considered. Silhouettes to be avoided are sheath and fit and flare, unless you have a well-toned stomach and hip area. You can however consider a partial sheath silhouette, if you have an hourglass figure and the bodice is differentiated from the skirt. In such dresses, only the skirt follows your natural curves.

Neckline: The impact created by a neckline will differ from dress to dress. In general, it is best to avoid designs like a high-neck, halter or strapless style that display the bust prominently, thus enhancing enhance the appearance of the cleavage. Instead, a tastefully designed V-neckline, scoop, illusion neckline or sweetheart will serve you better. One-shoulder necklines with ruched bodices are also a good choice for a chic and dramatic look.

Color of gown: There are different types of white, and choosing the right white will help you look slimmer. It is generally best to avoid stark white. Instead, opt for off-white, ivory or diamond white. You can also look at dresses with a hint of pink or blue in them. Black and white wedding gowns are not only fashionable, they can also camouflage trouble areas and emphasize your best features, when chosen appropriately.

Sleeve-length: You can choose sleeveless styles if you think your arms and upper chest look attractive in them. A good choice in sleeves for curvy women is cap-sleeves. Gowns with thick straps that support the bust and make you look more shapely are also suggested. Avoid sleeves that end at the point where your arm is the thickest. Contrary to the general notion, full-sleeves usually make your arms look thicker than they actually are. Three-fourth sleeves that end between the elbow and wrist are a better choice.

Fabric: Certain fabrics are naturally slimming, while others add more bulk to your frame. So, your choice of fabric can influence the way a dress drapes on you. Fabrics with a tight weave like satin and chiffon will drape snugly and look good on the plus-sized bride. Lace is another good choice. Avoid crisp and net-like fabric that is poufy in a wedding dress. Organza is such a fabric. Also when looking at fabrics with natural sheen like silk and satin, make sure that the dress design suits your frame and doesn’t cling to you at the wrong places.

Now, that we know what features to seek in a wedding dress, let us move on to some tips that will help you find the dress of your dreams.

1.Start early

This applies to all brides, plus-size or not. The earlier you start, the more time you have to research dresses, find potential places to shop at, explore options, go shopping and make your mind. We advise you to start at least six months prior to your wedding, so you have plenty of time to find your dress and make it perfect in time for your big day.

It will also allow you plenty of time to shop for accessories, customize your dress to your preferences and alter it to fit perfectly. Brides who set aside time for this task usually do not face the problem of having to settle for what is available in their size. More time will allow you to revisit the shop if required, and try on more dresses that they can pull out of their inventory, if you aren’t satisfied with what you see at your first dress appointment.

2.Find the right place to shop

One of the main reasons for plus-size women being unable to find the dress they want, is that they end up shopping at the wrong place. Not all bridal stores have great inventories. Nevertheless, there are several bridal boutiques, like Best for Bride, that stock a range of designer collections that cater to all sizes. If you are a plus-size bride, all you have to do is locate such a boutique and shop there.

So, start with a boutique that has several designer collections, including plus-size dresses. Before you contact them, it is a good idea to find out the designer collections with dresses that you favor, and make a list of dresses that you want to try out. Once you have this list ready, call the bridal shop you want to visit and find out if they have samples of these dresses in large sizes, or if they can arrange it. If they do, book your appointment and ask them to have the dresses on your list ready on the day you visit.

3.Do not restrict your choices to plus-size collections alone

Most designer collections are available in a range of sizes, and often the larger sizes will be suitable for curvy women too. Although plus-size collections are specifically created for brides like you, it is not necessary that you may always find a dress you love, in these collections. So, shop around and check out other designer collections too. Although adding to a gown isn’t very easy, a capable seamstress will be able to handle the task, if you love a gown that is pretty close to your actual size.

Like I said before, if you have the time to make all the required alterations, it shouldn’t be a problem.

4.Buy a dress that fits the biggest part of your body

A bridal consultant will measure you prior to finalizing your purchase, and we suggest that you choose the dress that fits the biggest part of your body. So, if you are apple-shaped with your bust wider than your hips, choose the dress that fits your bust. If you are pear shaped with larger hips than the bust, choose the dress that fits your hip measurements. Your seamstress will be able to take in the extra fabric at the hips or bust, as is necessary, and make your dress fit perfectly in time for your wedding.

Comfort is a key criterion when choosing a wedding dress. To make sure of this, choose a dress that fits you now. It is best to err on the side of caution. Although you may see yourself losing weight in time for the wedding, it is best to choose a dress that will accommodate you entirely, even if you don’t. Since you will anyway have several fitting sessions till the time of your wedding, you can always take in any extra fabric once you lose weight as you intended. Still not sure? Just think of how uncomfortable it will be to spend several hours in a dress that is too tight? Yes, it can ruin the best day of your life.

5.Choose suitable accessories

If you love the strapless wedding dress for everything, but the strapless part, don’t fret just yet. This is what accessories are there for. You can always pair it with a bolero and Voila! You have every feature you wanted on your dress. You can also add sleeves in the same fabric as the wedding dress, or take out layers from the skirt if it is too poufy for your taste. Alterations such as these are possible at an additional price, and you can have your own version of the designer gown you love.

The same can be achieved with waistbands, brooches, embellishments and veils. A word of caution when you choose to add extra embellishments to your gown! Consider whether you can enhance your wedding look with a single signature element that draws attention to the smallest part of your body. Or are you better off with great jewelry to enhance the look of a simple gown? If you do go with embellishments, make sure the person who does it can match the original quality of the work done by the designer. Moreover, you do not want to end up with a look that is too cluttered.

6.Consider custom-made

If you are simply not satisfied with what is available in any of the places you’ve been to, consider having your own gown custom-made. There are plenty of companies that offer custom gown making services. You may even find it at the bridal boutique that you visit. At Best for Bride, our in-house gown making team is one such example. We help brides who want a specific look for their wedding day, achieve it by creating their own custom wedding gown.

You can discuss your vision with a talented gown designer, match it to features on existing gowns and work with them to create a draft of the design. This can then be fine-tuned to perfectly match your idea. All that is left is to create the gown perfectly fitted to match your exact measurements, and that will be the task for the design team. You should however make sure that the team handling the job is capable of designing a dress as elaborate as a wedding gown, as it requires specialized knowledge. Check out their portfolio of custom-created gowns and you will get a fair idea of how capable they are at it.

7.Enjoy the experience

Don’t let anyone take the fun out of wedding shopping, just because you are a curvy bride. Wedding shopping is supposed to be enjoyable for every bride, and you too deserve it. So, be confident and don’t let terrible customer service or a discouraging friend in your entourage spoil your experience. Find a place where every bride is treated like a princess, and you will love the experience of searching for your wedding dress. Never be coaxed into buying a dress, just because it fits. Make sure that the only reason you buy it is because you love it. Seek advice from your bridal consultant, family and friends who accompany you to your bridal appointment. But, let the final decision be your own.

I recommend that you spend some time on this article on the Offbeat bride blog, where a real bride shares her plus-size wedding dress shopping experience. Her insights are valuable and should be immensely helpful to you

We hope you now have all the information to get on with your wedding dress shopping. Visit our impressive bridal dress collections from leading designers at our bridal gallery on Best for Bride. We feature a stunning variety of wedding dresses of all types and in every size. Browse our bridal collection and you are sure to find several dresses that you love. Book your appointment with us, and come along to try them out. We are committed to making your dreams of dressing up as a beautiful bride in the perfect dress, come true.

About Olga Pomeransky

Olga is manager at Best for Bride since 2005. Currently Best for Bride operates 4 bridal stores in Canada (Toronto, Etobicoke, Hamilton and Barrie). Best for Bride sells wedding, bridesmaids, mob dresses and more. http://www.BestForBride.com

3 Comments

  1. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Ellen Bangert

    November 15, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    Finally, a place where there isn’t a model on every single page. These dresses are more my style and will fit my body, much better.

  2. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    April Cha

    November 15, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    I love dresses with sleeves. That is what I am looking for and since I am not stick thin, these types are something I would consider.

  3. sobby14@yahoo.com'

    Lucille Schuler

    November 16, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    I wondered how I was going to fit into anything. One tip is to buy for the largest part of your body and I think that makes sense. I never looked at it that way. Thanks for the tip.

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