Plus Size Bridal Journey - Wedding Dress Part 2
Ok, so I’ve shared my dress shopping experience with you, but now I want to share some helpful tips for how to make your plus size wedding dress shopping the best it can be! I’m breaking down a list of what to do and bring with you on the day and 5 tips for making your experience amazing. These are based on my experience with dress shopping as a plus size bride, and I hope some of the tips I share will be helpful.
TIP #1 – RESEARCH YOUR BRIDAL SHOPS
Knowing where you want to go dress shopping ahead of time is not just smart but will also help you have a better overall experience. For me, I knew Savvy would have my size in store for me to try on and knew their culture within their business is about inclusivity of all brides. Read reviews of bridal shops, message them about their sizes in store, look at their Instagram feed to see if plus size brides are represented. Many bridal shops will say they carry up to a certain size, but it’s more important that they actually have it in store for you to try on, not just order for you.
Also, if you don’t get the feeling that a bridal shop will treat you with the same dignity, respect and experience as they would a straight size bride, don’t go there. Follow your gut instinct and don’t go. It’s not worth the feelings you’ll experience. Everything about that day should make you feel special.
TIP #2 – TRY ON DRESSES IN YOUR SIZE
You want to see what the dress is actually going to look like on you. This is why it’s so important to go somewhere that has your size in store that you can actually try on. It is nearly impossible to get a true vision of a dress unless it can get on your body. You also deserve a dress shopping experience where the dresses can fit you off the rack. Other brides get that experience, and so should you.
I ended up getting the first dress I tried on not just because I absolutely love it, but because it fit me so great right off the rack. I could see clearly what I looked like in the dress and envision my wedding day even better. It made a huge difference to get an idea of how the dress would fit me because I could actually see it on me!
Also, a note about wedding dress sizing. You will likely wear 2 sizes up from your regular size. For example, I’m typically a size 16, so I tried on size 20 dresses. This is just how bridal runs, so don’t think much of it. This is good to set your expectations up front with what sizes you’ll need to try on. This is helpful to know too when planning what shops to go to as well. Make sure they have your wedding dress size in store.
TIP #3 – PICK YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM WISELY
I went into the day knowing I only wanted my mom and best friend with me. I thought having too many people might make me feel overwhelmed or too many opinions to process. Although almost always well intentioned, your friends and family will share their opinions, and it is nearly impossible to not let them affect your decision.
If you have someone in your life, even if it’s your mom or a super good friend, that is negative or unsupportive of your body, life, wedding, etc., don’t invite them. You do not need to literally stand up on a pedestal and have negative vibes thrown at you. They can be in your life and at your wedding, but they don’t have to come dress shopping with you. Make sure you surround yourself with people that day who will only lift you up. We’re already our own worst critics and inner voices sometimes, so don’t let anyone else add to that on your special day.
TIP #4 – KNOW YOUR PREFERENCES BUT BE OPEN
Once you walk in the store, it’s going to feel overwhelming. There will be so many options, and you’ll definitely get asked what kind of dress you’re looking for. It’s good to go in with at least a few things that you know you want and don’t want.
For me, I knew I wanted something more form fitted because you rarely get to have something that’s tailored to your body. I’m just not a princess, big dress kind of girl. I’m also not into a lot of glitz or glam, so I stayed away from lots of beading and sequins. I knew I didn’t want to wear shapewear on my wedding day to be the most comfortable. Other than that, I stayed open minded about styles. It’s a really good idea to be open to trying new things and styles because you may absolutely fall in love with something you never would have thought you’d like. Just have fun and try new things.
Before you go, scroll through the store’s online inventory and pick out a few dresses that you like. That’ll help guide your sales person to pick out things you may like based off those styles. It’ll also help you figure out what you do and don’t like as you scroll and pick dresses. Look for themes of what you gravitate toward like fabric, dress shape, texture, neckline, etc. That’ll help you figure out what to try on that day.
TIP #5 – FEEL YOUR BEST THAT DAY
This may be the most important part of all. You want to go into your dress shopping day feeling your absolute best. For me, this was a three-fold plan. Here’s how I approached making sure I felt my best that day or at least as best I could. (There will be some things outside your control, and accept that it’s ok.)
Physically – I made sure to do my hair and makeup that day to feel my prettiest. I ordered a special dress to wear to the store too that would make me already feel more like a bride. During Covid and quarantine, I haven’t done my hair or makeup much, and I definitely haven’t gotten dressed up much. So, I decided to start the day off feeling special and pretty by making sure I felt my cutest that day. It also really helps you to envision yourself on you wedding day better with your hair and makeup being done.
Mentally/Emotionally – Our inner critic is going to be at it’s highest that day if we’re not careful. I woke up that morning, and as I was getting ready, I started having those negative thoughts start creeping in as I looked at myself in the mirror. Instead of letting it consume me, I stopped it dead in its tracks. I looked at myself and thought, “No, this isn’t going to happen today. I am beautiful and worthy of this day.” It may sound cheesy and crazy, but being in your best frame of mind and emotional state that day will make a huge difference. You don’t want to start trying on dresses when you’re already beating yourself up from the inside out. If you’re struggling that day with your body image and thoughts, pause and take a moment to work through it. Maybe do some journaling that morning or listen to a great podcast to get your mind in the right place. It will make a huge difference with how you feel while trying dresses on.
Be prepared – There’s nothing that’ll make you feel more anxious or less like yourself than chaos. For me, I wanted to make sure all my ducks were in a row to just walk into the day with confidence. What do I mean? Here’s a checklist of things to think about before going dress shopping and a list of what to bring that day.