3/13/2013

The Plus Size Wedding Dress Hunt

Shopping for a bridal gown is one of those experiences that you should be able to do in person.  Many stores can order a gown up to a size 28, but when it comes to carrying the samples in plus sizes they usually fall short.  This can leave a bride very frustrated.  I have to admit that I was irritated with this. When I went dress shopping, I was unable to try on the dress.  I think the sample size they had was a size 8. The bride consultant attached some huge piece of elastic that held the dress up to my body.  In retrospect that experience actually made me sad while mixing a little bit of humiliation in there.  It was probably one of the few times in my adult life that I was made to feel left out, in terms of the experience.  My dress was beautiful and I think I made the perfect choice, but because I am a stylist and I have the gift of visualization it came out wonderful.  But I would have still deserved to have dozens of gowns to try on.  

As spring is approaching, questions are coming in about bridal gowns.  I am even working with a bride on helping her to find the perfect dress.  This post I wanted to share some of the things I did and what I learned from wedding dress shopping.  I also want to highlight some bridal shops that cater to plus size women.  Yes, they exist.  
Plus Size Wedding Dress, Plus Size Wedding Dress Boutiques
(Photo credit: Bombshell Bridal)

Tips for shopping plus size bridal
Figure out up front how important the dress is to you.  To some brides the dress is not important.  If it's not, find a site online, order cheaply, and have it altered.  Slap your hands together and move on to your other plans.  If it is super important, like mine was to me, then you will need a plan of action if you plan on buying you dress somewhere else besides David's Bridal.  If you want the whole bridal experience (trying on the dress, family friends, etc), you may need to travel to find the perfect dress.  Do you research to see if there are any plus size bridal boutiques close to you.  I am providing some, but I'm sure there are some that I will miss.  Get your Google on and don't be afraid to go past the 1st page.  Figure out who's got plus size sample sizes.  There is nothing more disappointing than going to try on dresses and they have nothing for you.  Call ahead and make sure there are ample dresses for you to try on.  

Don't let your weight loss plans interfere with ordering your dress.   A lot of brides (I didn't LOL) plan to diet for their big day and can put off ordering a dress because of anticipating being smaller.  I can only detect an issue if you are going from a size 28 to a size 0.  Plus sizes tend to take longer to drop sizes as opposed to straight size.  A straight size girl may only need to drop 10 pounds to drop a size, it takes me about 30 pounds.  I've dropped 70 pounds before and only went down 3-4 sizes.  That's would still be fine for alteration.  This leads me to my next tip.

It is always better to order too big than too small.  Don't order for an anticipated size.  Order the size that you are today.  If you can get smaller going smaller is an easier and less expensive alteration.  Taking the dress out can cost more and could still end up in an ill-fitting dress.  I've actually seen someone make this mistake.  They ordered their "wish size,"  ended up gaining weight and on their wedding day... Let's just say I felt so bad for her. Nobody wants to have the memory (and photos) of their dress fitting too small.  

You need to order your dress about 10 - 12 months in advance.  This allows time for the be made and shipped.  Take into account that you may have an international designer ,as I did. I ordered 9 months before my big day and my dress had it's final alteration 2 weeks before my wedding.  That was cutting it close.     

Don't settle.  I can't think of one day in a women's life where she deserves to get what she wants.  This will probably be the most expensive dress you will ever buy.  Don't just take something, because you don't think you'll find anything else.  

Breathe.  This is easy to say after the fact, but I was so worried about not finding the "perfect" dress.  It's true what they say, you will know when it is the dress.

Bring your shapewear.  You want to be able to see how you would look on the big day.  Bring you strapless bra, long line bra, and girdle.  Have them on and ready to go, so you get the full effect.  

Arm people be prepared.  Some of you ladies will not be wanting to show your arms on your wedding day.  That's fine, but the selection of plus size bridal gowns with sleeves is slim.  There are some, but there will be only be a few to choose from.   You may do better online than in the store.  You could opt for an add-on jacket or have sleeves built onto the dress.  Yes they can do that, but it will cost you.  
Plus Size Wedding Dress, Plus Size Wedding Dress Boutiques
(Photo Credit: Mia's Bridal)

Plus Size Bridal Boutiques

Atlanta, GA My Curve Appeal (also carries prom dress), 
Phoenix, AZ Strut Bridal 
St. Louis, MO Blossom Bridal
St. Clair Shores, MI Bombshell Bridal Boutique
Kansas City, KS Mia's Bridal
Lincoln, CA Alma's Bridal Boutique
Costa Mesa, CA Mon Amie Bridal Salon
Minneapolis, MN Luxe
Frisco, TX The Blushing Bride
New York, NY Kleinfield (Say Yes to the Dress) 
Buffalo, NY Christine's Bridal Shop 
Baltimore, MD Curvaceous Couture Online
Plus Size Wedding Dress, Plus Size Wedding Dress Boutiques
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Brazzle Photography
Do you know a boutique that carries a ample stock of plus size bridal gowns that isn't listed?  Feel free to comment them below (with the website if you can).  If you have a questions that I didn't answer, comment those too.