If you're a full-figured bride, wedding dress shopping may seem like a daunting task. But, armed with the right attitude and a little knowledge of what to look for, you can have a great experience and find the perfect dress. Here are 7 key tips for any plus-size bride.
Call Ahead. Before heading out to any dress shop, be sure to call ahead and find out how much they carry in your usual sizes (and a little larger). Many smaller stores may only carry a few sizes—typically common or straight sizes like 8 or 10—so you may want to head to a large or chain retail store for a better selection. Have your measurements on hand so the dress shop staff can further help you.
Suss Out the Staff. When calling ahead or visiting stores before your primary shopping trip(s), gauge the interest and enthusiasm of the sales people you speak with. As a larger bride, you want to work with someone who is there for you and will help you shine for your big day. Look for someone with a positive demeanor and a willingness to help you, then give him or her your business and heed their advice.
Don't Worry About Sizes. Bridal sizing can be even wackier than normal women's dress sizing. Wedding dresses tend to run smaller than normal clothing, so don't be overly concerned if you're asked to try on something in a larger size than you normally wear. And don't feel compelled to choose a size that's smaller than what's comfortable and flattering on you right now. A good way to test out your size is practice walking around, sitting, or twirling. If you can sit without feeling constrained, you'll feel more comfortable during your reception or during breaks.
Understand Shapes. Different body shapes work best with different dress shapes. A-line dresses, for example, are very flattering for women with larger hips. Ballgown styles look fantastic on apple shaped bodies, while those who are larger on top may find a trumpet style to work best. Your wedding dress sales person may be the best one to steer you toward the most flattering style for your body, so listen to their suggestions.
Choose Quality Fabric. Material makes a lot of difference in how the dress hangs on each figure. Dresses with sheer fabrics may hug in the wrong places, while lace wedding dresses can complement the body better.
Be Flexible. You may have a particular style in mind, but be willing to look at other styles and materials before deciding. A bride who doesn't think she looks good in a strapless dress or a heavily-appliqued lace wedding dress, for example, may find that by working with knowledgeable sales staff, the right execution of a design can make all the difference.
Whatever your budget or style, following these few tips will surely help you find the perfect dress to make you feel like a queen on your big day.