If you’re reading this, you are probably here because you are somewhat apprehensive about the idea of shopping for the perfect plus size wedding dress. Maybe you’re even dreading it! At Christine’s Bridal & Prom, we specialize in plus size wedding dresses, and we offer the largest collection of plus size wedding dresses in Vermont and New Hampshire! If you’re not familiar with my story, and the reason I opened the salon, you can read about it here. But, assuming that you are ready to take the plunge, I’ve put together some tips for you that I think you will find helpful when you are ready to shop for the perfect plus size wedding dress!
1. Need A Plus Size Wedding Dress? If You Can’t try It, Don’t Buy It!
It always amazes me when our brides-to-be come in and say that they have been elsewhere, only to have consultants “hold up dresses in front of them”, or simply have a bride try on dresses that are several sizes too small, and be told that they can “imagine what it might look like on them”. Never, never, (did I say Never?!?) purchase your wedding dress from a salon that does not have sizes that you can try on. As a plus size person, I can think back and imagine a time when I was thinner, or smaller. But, this is not the same as how I look today. Reality sets in when the jeans are a little tighter, and the shirt won’t quite button. And, when you experience this, it is not a feeling of euphoria! In fact, it usually makes us feel horrible about ourselves. So why, on one of the most exciting days of your life, should you feel less than beautiful when trying on wedding dresses? While your bridal store may not have every style in stock in all sizes, they should be able to show you enough of a selection in your size range so that it feels like you are seeing the best of the best. If you feel underwhelmed by the selection, keep shopping. There’s more out there – you just may need to travel a little further to find a plus size expert!
2. Afraid You May Change Size Before the Wedding? We’ve Got You Covered!
Many of our plus size brides are worried before looking for wedding dresses about what will happen if their weight fluctuates before the big day. It’s a valid concern, and one that we are happy to help you with! The dresses at Christine’s Bridal are designed with a generous inseam allowance. That means that closer to the wedding day, your dress can be taken in, or let out, without dramatically affecting the appearance of your gown. Many of our gowns also feature corset style backs. What are the benefits of finding a plus size wedding dress with a corset, you might wonder? Why, it’s like finding the winning lottery numbers! Well, maybe not quite as thrilling, but almost. You see, as a plus size person, there is a strong probability that you will not fit the manufacturer’s standard sizing chart. Typically, designers make a plus size wedding dress by adding proportionately to the bust, waist and hip measurements. Many of our plus size brides are a larger measurement thru the waist and hip area, and a smaller, proportionate measurement thru the bust. The addition of a corset style back on a plus size wedding dress will enable you to customize the fit of a plus size wedding dress, regardless of your body shape or size. This reduces the overall amount of alterations you may need. Additionally, it may let you wear a smaller size off the rack, or reduce the amount of alterations you many need if your weight does fluctuate. Many of our dresses can have the brides’ choice of either a corset, or a traditional zipper style back. That’s an added bonus!
3. Yes, Virginia…You Need Undergarments!
When you are shopping for a plus size wedding dress, please understand that you will need to wear additional undergarments to look your best on your wedding day. Undergarments may include petticoats, or crinolines, shape wear, and a good fitting bra. Your consultant should be able to point you in the right direction for any of these items, and they truly will make a difference in the overall appearance of your plus size wedding dress on the big day! Remember, you will also need these undergarments before any fittings can be done.
4. In This Case, You Really Do Get What You Pay For…
It’s a fact. Well-constructed bridal gowns cost more than their cheap, ill-made cousins. What makes s well constructed plus size wedding dress different from a less expensive option? One major difference is whether there is boning, or stays, built into the dress. These items, along with bra cups, and extra lining will make all the difference in how a plus size wedding dress fits and flatters the body. Plus size wedding dresses that do not have these items built in will tend to sag, pull and drape incorrectly. They will take on a “shapeless” appearance when worn. While these things add to the cost of a well made plus size wedding dress, this is not an area that you want to skimp in!
5. If You Wear Larger Than A Size 26W Pant, You May Need Custom Sizing
Wedding Dresses, and plus size wedding dresses – in fact, all formalwear – do not use the same sizing chart as street clothing. Sizes run smaller, as they are measured in smaller increments for a more tailored fit. And, most manufacturers only offer plus size wedding dresses up to a size 30, which would be the equivalent of a pant size 26W.
So that means that your plus size wedding dress will not be the same size as your off-the-rack pants or blouse. A good rule of thumb is to figure that your plus size wedding dress will need to be one to two sizes larger than your jean size. In other words, if you wear a size 26W pant in regular sizes, you may either be a 30W in a plus size wedding dress, or, you will need custom sizing for that same dress if you wear pants size 28W or larger.
This can be confusing at times to the bride, but just remember that any expert in the field will be able to guide you in finding the appropriate size to purchase. This is yet another example of why you should never buy a plus size wedding dress sight unseen, or, worse yet, purchase over the internet! Stores that specialize in plus size wedding dresses will be able to steer you in the direction of gowns that can easily be modified for women that wear pant sizes of 26W or larger., and talk to you about affordable options. If a store seems uneducated in this area, this is NOT the place to shop!
In conclusion, I hope that these tips have given you a better understanding of some of the things to consider before shopping for the perfect plus size wedding dress. Please continue to follow our blog, and contact the experts at Christine’s Bridal when you are ready to find the plus size wedding dress of your dreams!