Big Brides are Beautiful

Any of you out there that loves watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ on TLC, might have the opinion that buying a wedding dress is walking into a bridal shop with a ton of beautiful gowns, which has a dress for any girl. However, this is not true for all of us. My bigger girls out there probably already know by reading this intro, this is going to be about us.

I got married in February last year and it was truly one of the happiest days of my life. Even though I had the perfect venue, finding the right dress was extremely difficult for a girl like me, who wears a US size 20. The mere thought of having to try on wedding dresses made me extremely nervous and conscious about my body. I know I am not alone in this, many bigger girls decide to have a low key wedding with no bridal gown just to skip going through the emotional journey of finding a dress that not only fits but also makes you feel comfortable and sexy.

In this column I want to raise awareness for this problem. I want to show not only that there is a need for bigger bridal gowns here in America but also address types of dresses and stores that will make your journey for the right dress easier.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2010, 64% of women in the United States were considered overweight or obese. This is a big number of big girls. This number also shows that there is a large pool out there that maybe one day will be interested in a plus sized wedding gown. My personal experience is that most wedding shops have a very limited collection of plus-size sample dresses. This means that you can’t just go into a bridal shop, see a pretty dress and try it on. You’re probably going to be sent to the back of the store where you find 5 dresses that might fit you. I have always loved the big princess dresses, as a kid I imagined I would marry in Disneyland, I grew out of that idea but the princess dress definitely stayed. Now you can imagine that when wearing a size 20, your selection of princess dresses is little to none.

I flew across the country to find the perfect dress, unfortunately there aren’t many but there are some stores out there that specialize in plus size bridal fashion. My tip to you is, if you can afford it, go to one of these stores. My experiences here were extremely positive. Not only was the staff welcoming and understanding, the choice of dresses was naturally way greater. You also don’t have to awkwardly try on a size 14 sample dress in the hopes that you can get it over your butt. In contrast with normal bridal shops, they do actually have bigger sample size dresses here! Some shops that you could visit include Alfred Angelo, Watter’s Curve and Igigi.

Alfred Angelo is where I found my dream dress. It is the oldest and largest family-owned bridal company in America and even though they do not specialize in plus-size bridal gowns, they have dresses up to size 26 W. Their plus size line is also specialized in flattering shapes for curvier bodies. Check their collection out on www.alfredangelo.com.

Watter’s Curve has a beautiful collection of plus size bridal gowns up to size 32 W. They also have quite some stores all across America so check out their website www.watters.com to see if they have a store close to your location.

Igigi has gorgeous dresses in sizes 16 W to 32 W and all under $600! When on a tighter budget I recommend checking out their stores or website www.igigi.com. They also ship internationally with a return policy of 45 days.

This magazine and David’s bridal, a bridal fashion store that many of you might be familiar with share many tips on what dress fits what body type. I gathered some of these tips specifically for plus size girls, so that you can walk into a bridal store with an idea of what type of dress you are looking for. When being a curvy lady, you want to minimize areas such as your stomach and hips and focus on your neckline and bust. One big mistake many bigger girls make is that they choose a dress that fits their shape loosely. A dress should however play up your shape, too loose will only add extra pounds. A couple of dress types you could consider are the empire dress, a cummerbund dress and a basque dress.
First of all, an empire dress has a skirt that begins under the bust and flows into an A-line. The empire waistline creates a lengthening effect which allows you to put focus on your chest and neck area rather than the stomach as the dress will flow beautifully around your curves.

A cummerbund waistline in a dress creates a slimming look, especially when combined with a lace illusion neckline. This type of neckline is both daring and demure which will be an attention grabber in the dress.

A basque waistline dress is what I chose, this is a type of princess dress with a lower waistline, this will therefore enhance your hourglass figure as the corset will slender your torso. The wider skirt will also in contrast with the top give the illusion of a narrower waist.

Some general tips when looking for a dress are to look at fabrics such as satin or tulle which provide structure rather than a fabric that flows around your body. These types of fabric namely allow you to alter your body shape to for example look slimmer. You can also minimize your waistline with design details that draw the eye inward. An example of how to reach this is for instance bodycon seams made of crystal.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you have to pick a dress that makes you look slimmer than you really are, you should dress exactly as you want to, but these types of dresses might give you that extra kick of confidence that you need on your special day. I hope that I raised more awareness for the need of bigger bridal gowns and shared some helpful tips for my curvier ladies! Happy marrying!

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