long shot of the bride holding her bouquet

The Curvy Bride’s Guide To Choosing The Perfect Wedding Dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress can be overwhelming for a curvy bride, but for the plus-size shopper, it can be extra challenging. From limited sizes in dress shops to judgmental assistants, there are plenty of horror stories that can make a joyful experience upsetting.

Fortunately, as the body-positive movement continues to grow, there are more and more plus-size wedding dresses available. And more bridal boutiques and designers that understand the importance of finding the perfect dress for every size and shape. Check out our top tips for finding the right gown for your big day!

Make an appointment

Instead of just dropping into a shop to try on dresses, a curvy bride may require to call ahead and make an appointment. Since many shops may stock just a few sizes for sample dresses, it’s important to let them know your size. Also, let them know when you will be arriving to give the shop a chance to have plenty of dresses on hand in sizes closer to your own.

stunning curvy bride in her bridal portrait

long shot of curvy bride

stunning curvy bride in her bridal portrait

Ignore the numbers

Designer brands tend to use “couture” sizing, which means your normal dress size will probably be much smaller in a wedding gown. Don’t stress—this is totally normal. Just be prepared to see a larger number on the gowns you try on. Or, if you can, don’t look at the size at all and pay attention to how the dress fits and how you feel in it. After all, if you find a gown you absolutely adore, then who cares what size it is?

Be open-minded

You may have a specific style of dress in mind, but be open to trying on gowns outside of your comfort zone. If your bridal stylist recommends a style or fit that may not be the one you had in mind, don’t be afraid to give it a try. She’s the expert, and it’s her job to make you look and feel amazing, so trust her advice. The worst-case scenario is just that you don’t like it, so it can’t hurt to try something different.

a curvy bride on staircase

solo long shot of bride

Remember that details can be added

Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a dress, but it’s more low-cut than you would like. Or maybe it’s sleeveless, and you would prefer to have a sleeve. Fortunately, your dress can be altered to meet your specific needs and desires.  It can be adding a cap sleeve, adjusting the fit, or providing more built-in support. But, if your ideal dress just needs a few detail changes, talk to the shop about alterations and customization options.

bride walking up the stairs


Prioritize comfort

You will likely be wearing this dress all day, so don’t opt for a gown that’s uncomfortable, no matter how beautiful it may be. It’s important to get the fit right and likewise to choose a dress that feels good as well as looks stunning. You want to be able to dance the night away at the reception, right?

Give chain stores a chance

Even if you don’t find your dream dress at a chain store, it’s a good place to start looking. Chain stores tend to have more size options than boutiques. And they are a great place to get a better understanding of fabrics and styles so you have a better grasp of what you want in a wedding dress.

Shopping for plus-sized dresses doesn’t have to be frustrating. Take time to figure out what you want and say “Later!” to any salesperson who makes you feel bad about your size. Every bride deserves to feel gorgeous on her wedding day and wear the dress of her dreams!

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"We could not have hired a better photographer for our wedding than Ralph. We have countless photos that we can use in our home and are thrilled to look back on to remember our wedding day. The day moves so quickly but Ralph did an incredible job capturing the moments throughout the day so we can re-live the emotions, setting, and all the love that filled the occasion. Ralph's process of getting to know my wife and I through the planning meetings and engagement session was more detailed and fun than expected. He wanted to get to know us. The level of effort that Ralph pours into his work mirrored the level of effort that we felt we were putting into the wedding day as a whole, which we were thrilled with. The post-wedding meeting is a great experience as well as Ralph allowed us to walk back through the day and choose the layout for our wedding album in-person in a theater-like setting. Working with Ralph to capture the irreplaceable moments on the most important day in our lives was the best choice we could have made!"

- Dan Bergvall

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