Weddings are stressful, there's no doubt about it. It's one of the most important and remembered event of your life. Everyone including distant family members have an opinion on everything from where the reception should be held to the colour of the boutonnières.
Your wedding dress is one of the key focuses. Shopping for a plus-size wedding dress (or bride's maid dress) can be hell. I remember shopping for mine ten years ago. I was only a size 20 then and I had to try on dresses that didn't fit, leaving them open in the back. Standing in front of the mirror while other brides searched through the racks was embarrassing. When I found a dress and they finally ordered it I had to pay an additional $200 for the extra material. Ridiculous and humiliating to say the least.
Today, shopping for a wedding dress is becoming easier but can still be a challenge if you want to go to a skinny mini dress store. Luckily the Internet has opened new doors willing to cater to the plus-size shopper.
Every season they (they being the fashionista gods and goddesses of the runway) come out with what is hot. Corsets, sleeveless, v-necks, removable shrugs are all hot. For women with exceptionally full chests v-necks are the most flattering. If you're especially chesty stay away from sleeveless. You don't want to be pulling it up all day or worse still give your guests an unwanted Janet Jackson peep show.
For the bridesmaid's dresses, the hottest shades vary from pale lime to extremely bright pinky orange. Red is still hot and even black. The best part about shopping for bridesmaid dresses is they can be chosen for each bridesmaid's body type. Be conscious of all your maids' body types. It's your day but you want them to enjoy it with you. I chose an above the knee, short sleeve velvet dress my girls could all definitely wear again. I wish I had gotten one for myself.
The wedding dress is the centre piece. Don't sacrifice your comfort to the demands of others. Stick with classic styles, proper fit. It is after all "your day" and your memories. If you like it, go for it. You don't want to look back 10 - 20 years from now and think "Why?"
Who Offers Plus Size Dresses
Plus Size Bridal - Dresses, veils, crinoline, longline bras, bridesmaid dresses, mothers' dresses, accessories and more. Their entire catalog is featured online and it's impressive. The models are not supersized but they aren't a size two either, so you can get a good idea of how the dress will look. These are traditional wedding gowns from a few hundred and up; averaging around $400. Sizes range from 6 - 32. Beautiful lines and detailing. I loved looking around this site. Be sure to check out the letters from happy brides on the 'contact' page.
PromGirl - I know you're not going to the prom but lets face it the dresses are similar. I found only three ivory dresses in their plus size area. But if you're as bold as brass and want to wear a dress with some colour, you go girl. Otherwise it is a good stop for your bridesmaids. Their sizes range from 2-26. And if you have maids who live outside your area it's a good way for them to all look at the dresses. An excellent place to make sure everyone is in the same colour. You also have the option to design your own gown.
Igigi - Flowing, sexy dresses for evening, bride and bridemaids. There are a few options for the bride but amazing styles for your maids, ones they can actually wear again. Sizes range from 14-32. Igigi offers sizes 14 - 32 with a pricey to expensive cost.
Loralie.com - Colourful bridesmaid dresses ranging in sizes 2-26. Lots of options for a wedding dress. My only complaint is that there are so many sleeveless. Also carries handbags and shawls.
Torrid - This plus size retailer that usually deals with the every day has just introduced a plus size bridal line which includes a few dresses ranging in price from $140 - $220. They offer sizes 12 - 26 (or 1 - 4 depending on style).
Sydney's Closet - A great site that specializes in formal wear for sizes 0 - 44 (50 for wedding dresses). This website is a must stop for a woman researching her bridal options.
Peggy Lutz Plus Inc. - Elegant 'ready-to-wear' fashions. They pride themselves on designing dresses for the plus size body and not just expanding on smaller designs. Sizes range from XXS (12) - 3X (40). I think it's pretty cool they made a couple outfits for Kathy Bates in the About Schmidt movie. Be sure to check out the informative sizing information. The selection is not as big as the PSB but there is an array of styles for different body types.
Fashion Bug - It's wonderful that more and more of the regular shops are starting to carry clothing for all occasions. Fashion Bug carries wedding dresses intermittently but usually has a lovely selection of dresses for modern or traditional looking weddings for brides on a budget. All dresses under $200.
Bring on the Bling
Sparkly jewelry accents are so in for both bride and maids. Layered necklaces seem to be the hottest. Broaches are huge this season either at the bust or below. Be careful where you are accenting. If you have a little extra around the middle avoid broaches placed at the waist. Draw attention up to a spectacular necklace.
Want to look like a star? Emitations.com offers "affordable elegance" from imitated pieces. They offer plus sizes and if they don't carry it they'll make it to your design. Like butterflies or want a pink motif? You can shop by either at their easy to maneuver site. A great place for gifts for you and gifts for your bridal party. Watch their site for weekly specials. Myself, I love the Charles Winston earrings.
If you're looking for a little of the real thing, Diamonds International offers an extraordinary variety to choose from. (In my opinion every bride deserves a tennis bracelet.) A shoppers delight for bride or groom.
What's Under the Dress
Sometimes what's under the clothing makes all the difference in the world to the appearance of the dress. You can view Plus Size Bras to learn about fitting a bra and find some online stores catering to some sexy lingerie for your special night.
Spanx! Check out Kiyonna's plus size Spanx bodyshapers and hose for the lush figure.
Weddings are a special time. Yes, it's the union of two couples and their families but lets face it, it's really about the dress. If it wasn't we'd all get married in our sweats and t-shirts. Shopping for a dress should be worry free no matter what your size.
Congratulations on your special day.