Tips for wedding dress shopping and your first wedding dress appointment as a plus-size bride

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Getting married, and organising your big day should be fun, exciting and enjoyable. But I know many plus-size brides worry so much about finding the dress – that they let the worry and stress overwhelm them!

You can look and feel just as glamorous on your big day as Heidi Klum did – so don’t for a second get caught up in any negative thoughts. You’re other half already thinks you’re beautiful – so you’ll only look even more beautiful in their eyes on your big day.

A lot of women have emailed us asking for tips about the dress search, and choosing the right kind of boutique to go to. It can be nerve-wracking, and it’s important you put some research into finding a lovely boutique, because it will effect your experience and enjoyment more than you’d think.

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Why should you do the research? Well, honestly? If you end up heading to a boutique with little to no plus-szie samples, sometimes in a shop full of size 12 samples – the only dresses you can even try on are ones you would never have even considered in the first place. Which will make you nervous, unconfident and wishing the whole appointment would be over.

So how can you make sure that doesn’t happen? Keep reading…

1. Look Online First 

Check out bridal boutiques in and around your local area first, and see what kind of designers and sizes they stock. If you’re unsure, or if it’s not clear on the website – just drop them an email or give them a call. You want to make sure they have sample sizes that will fit you (or are slight;y too big – as dresses can always be clipped smaller) and you also want to make sure the styles the stock are the kind of styles you love. It’s no use trying on a load of ball-gowns if what you really love is the mermaid style.

2. Don’t be afraid to travel 

There are bridal boutiques that specialise in plus-size gowns and therefore stock all their dresses in larger sizes. You may have to travel a bit further for these boutiques but you’ll probably find you have a much nicer experience – and actually get to try on samples you love.

3. Do your research on dresses and necklines

It’s a good idea to have a vision of your bridal style before heading into the salon. They will have SO MANY dresses, it’s really easy to get quickly overwhelmed by them all. Have a few things pre-decided so you can narrow down the search. Think about; necklines, sleeve length or sleeveless, full length or tea-length, lace, satin or tule? The list goes on!

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4. Only take supportive friends and family

You know that friend who always follows a compliment with a brutally honest insult? That is not the kind of person you want to be bringing with you to a bridal appointment. Pick carefully, you want supportive people with you who will pick you up if you feel overwhelmed, and get excited with you if you love it.

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5. Do your hair and make-up

Don’t ever go to a wedding dress appointment without your hair and make-up looking nice. If you go with greasy hair and no make-up it’s only going to make you feel crappy about yourself and about the dress. Try and make an effort (like you would on your wedding day!) and then you can get a proper idea of how you’ll look!

6. Pick out some good knickers! 

Your bridal assistant during the appointment will strip you down to your knickers – so make sure you’re wearing some nice underwear! It sounds silly, but the last thing you want to be worried about is feeling self conscious in-between dresses, so splash out on a nice set of underwear that makes you feel a million dollars. It’ll cut out any tension. Also, because getting nearly naked in front of a stranger isn’t something you do often – If you’re conscious of your tummy, or thighs, then cover them up! High waisted knickers are great for covering your tummy up, and you still get gorgeous styles.

7. When they put you on the pedestal… 

They’ll probably put you on a small pedestal during the appointment to show you what the dress looks like at full length. Most samples are made for taller women, so if you’re petite or short (I’m a size 16 and 5ft2) they pop you on a little box to show you what the dress looks like at a proper length. This is pretty mis-leading though, as it can totally distort your body-shape! I was looking in the mirror and seeing a 6ft tall women, which isn’t who I am, and it’s not who I’ll be on my wedding day either. I’d recommend looking at the dress on the box, and then stepping off it and looking again. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

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8. Don’t let the bridal assistant’s body hand-ups effect your own

When I was selecting dresses to try on, the bridal assistant who was helping me, said that some of the choices would make my hips looks bigger and that she didn’t want to pull the dresses for me to try on because of that. Erm, what? I’m not worried about the size of my hips (I quite like my hips, as they make my waist look tiny!) so she shouldn’t have been either. She projected her own body hang-ups onto my choice of dress, which was kind of lame. You pick the dresses you like, it’s no one else’s decision but yours.

9. Don’t forget – it may take more than one try

You might not find the perfect dress in your first appointment, you might not find it during the second one either. Don’t freak out, it’s fine! You have plenty of time.

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