1) RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Your wedding dress is likely to be the most important and most expensive dress you will ever wear. Do not make the mistake of assuming that a wedding dress from a standard collection in a size 26 is the same as a wedding dress from a plus size collection in a size 26. As a larger bride, you will already be fully aware that you will need more structure and support to your dress than a regular size 10 bride. Many design houses are now offering plus sized collections. These dresses have been specifically designed to flatter the fuller figure and most will have hidden corsetry for additional support.
2) AND RESEARCH SOME MORE
Before visiting a bridal shop, phone ahead to ensure that they have plus size samples available for you to try on. Many retail outlets advertise that they have plus-size dresses available. In reality, this often means that they are able order in dresses up to a size 32 upon request. It does not necessarily mean that they have them in stock for you to try on. If a shop boasts a plus size range, don’t be afraid to ask exactly how many plus size dresses they have in stock, and how many of these are in your particular size. No one wants to drive for two hours to discover that the store in fact only has one size 16 dress to try on.
3) SHAPES AND STYLES
Many brides-to-be will have a preconceived notion of what will suit them, and what will not suit them. But be prepared to be surprised. Don’t dismiss any styles until you have at least tried them on. Brides with larger busts generally assume that a straight bust line will be best. However, for the most part they are surprised to see that a sweetheart bust line flatters them more. With so many styles of dress available you will find one that flatters your body shape if you are prepared to keep an open mind. Most designers offer a bespoke (made to measure) service for an additional charge, so if you have wide hips but a very small bust this may be the way forward for you if you have your heart set on particular style.
4) NEVER ACCEPT SECOND BEST
Gone are the days where bigger brides were handed a ‘white tent’ and expected to be grateful. On your wedding day you are entitled to feel and look beautiful, so never make the mistake of thinking you have to settle for a dress that makes you feel just OK. When you find ‘The Dress’, you will instinctively know that it’s the one for you. Leave yourself plenty of time to shop for your dress, and plan your trips. You may not have a specialist shop in your area, however, in the long run it may be less time consuming, less frustrating and more enjoyable to plan a visit to your nearest specialist outlet. It is not uncommon for brides to travel up to 3 hours to visit a specialist shop – where they know they will enjoy the experience and are more likely to find the perfect dress.
5) SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE
All brides deserve the fairy-tale experience and you are no exception. Regardless of your shape or size you should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Do not tolerate ‘eye-rolling’ or ‘huffing and puffing’ or the offer to hold up a size 10 dress against your size 24 frame or even being told to squeeze into a dress that is obviously not going to fit you. You are entitled to the same level of customer service that any size 10/12 bride is. If that is not what you receive, think twice about handing over your hard earned money.
6) BEWARE OF CHEAP WEBSITES
Although it may be tempting to just whip out a tape measure and enter your measurements online, thus eliminating any dreaded shop visits, be extremely careful. These websites unlawfully use the advertising photos of the major design houses and then claim to deliver the same dress at a fraction of the cost. The reality is…..the garment you receive – if you actually receive one at all, will be cheaply made and of sub-standard quality. It will probably be ill fitting, dirty and not resemble the dress you ordered in any way shape or form. There is a good reason the dress is being offered so cheaply. Always remember ……You get what you pay for….and….If something sounds too good to be true – it usually is.