I recently saw an article in the Daily Mail about a new Bridal shop that only caters for plus size women (I am told there was a documentary as well which I have yet to watch) I think this is a bloody fantastic idea and why aren’t there more!!
The Plus size fashion industry has come a long way in the past few years with women being able to follow fashion easily and feel comfortable doing it– but sadly I feel like this cannot be said for the bridal wear market. It’s not even so much the styles of dresses, as any woman should be able to wear what style of dress she wants no matter what her size – it’s the stigma that goes with being plus size and shopping for a wedding dress – as I found during my experience.
Choosing your wedding dress should be one of the happiest and memorable experiences of your life and although I can say I have fond memories, there are moments of it that I would rather forget – here are just a few of them.
There is not a great range of sample sizes
One thing that really upset me was that out of the 6 or so bridal shops that I visited most only sample dresses around a size 12-14. This meant that I was trying on gowns at least 2-3 sizes too small (maybe four if you count the room I needed for my assets) How are you supposed to be sure if that dress is for you? Just because they can leave the corset back undone does not mean that it gives an accurate reflection of how the dress will look and feel on the day. What happens if you buy it and go to a fitting – and end up hating it? Why should you have to parade around in front of your friends and family with a gaping hole in the back of the dress?
Out of all the bridal shops I visited, I think there was one where the sizes were big enough to gain an accurate insight into what the dress would have looked like on the day. That’s why I think this shop is a great idea! Plus size sample dresses seem hard to come by, at least women can feel like they deserve without having the embarrassment of what others may be thinking when they have to try on a dress that is too small for them.
The Wedding dress diet
This kind of links into point one, what is it with the world’s obsession with this?! It was everywhere, and I mean everywhere, when I was getting married. In every wedding/lifestyle magazine I picked up for inspiration there it was. For women who are conscious about their weight and maybe haven’t accepted that it is ok to be whatever size you feel comfortable, it’s promoting the fact that you cannot be a bride if you are plus size – which to me is ridiculous!
At the time I did kind of think “hmmm what are my guests going to think of me being a fat bride” but I quickly got over that when I thought about the man that I was marrying and how beautiful he truly made me feel.
This was the worst part for me (not all were awful, but here are just a few instances which made me make this generalisation)
I had my heart set on a fifties style dress, with a sweetheart style neckline in Ivory. I wanted a lace overlay around the top of the dress with three quarter length sleeves, then lashings of baby pink petticoats underneath (I am such a Girly Girl at heart) That was my idea of the perfect wedding dress. That’s what I had wanted from the day that James proposed. And although I got what I wanted in the end – it was hard to get there.
The first bridal shop I went in had some beautiful gowns, none of them tea length or any other length apart from “princess” I spoke to the assistant and I explained what I wanted – she proceeded to try to tell me that the shape I wanted was “no good for my figure” and that it would not “flatter my shape or my height” (excuse me). I was a newly engaged woman, so excited to come dress shopping, only to have my confidence shattered by a stuck up shop assistant who constantly looked down her nose at me. Who was she to tell me that I could not wear the dress of my dreams because I was bigger in size and happen to be vertically challenged? Already being in the shop I bit my tongue and tried on a few of her “recommendations”
The first dress was a long and figure-hugging gown with a long train and sparkles all over the bodice. I remember standing there looking in the mirror admiring my curves (because I am proud of them) but just thinking I don’t feel comfortable. It was a flattering dress but it wasn’t me. I wear heels hardly ever, so all I could think about was tripping up whilst walking down the aisle. The dress just was not what I wanted, not what I felt comfortable wearing.
The second dress I tried on was a big princess number which drowned me because of my height (like I had already thought about, but the assistant had had the nerve to say I was too short for a short gown!!) It was awful on me. I felt like a toilet brush holder (and the dress was only a size 14 I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have looked like in a size 18 or 20)
I left with the notion that the style I wanted was definitely the right decision affirmed in my mind.
At the next place I visited there were literally hundreds of gowns. The assistant told me to have a browse and she would be with me soon. I had chosen a few dresses to try when the assistant declared that I hadn’t to pay too much attention to the prices of the dresses I had chosen as I may end up paying more for material! Then when I decided to check the sale rail (bride on a budget and all that) and I was told that none of them were in my size.
In the end I decided to only try one of the gowns on – making an excuse that they were all the same style in order to leave as soon as possible.
I gave up, I felt so humiliated.
So what next? The Internet was my Saviour
Why does everyone always say “never buy your dress off the internet” as long as you are not buying on ebay from china where they difference in quality is noticeable, I don’t see a problem because that’s what I did.
After the nightmare I had dress shopping, I found an online store called Honey Pie Boutique who specialise in Vintage style wedding dresses. I had my heart set on the “Grace”. You can either order a specified size or get them made to measure, which was perfect for me after I hadn’t wanted to trawl the shops again after being made to feel so silly last time!
After a spot of googling I found an absolutely lovely lady who was selling THAT dress in MY size, she had bought it as her second dress to change into in the evening and then never did. She also sold me a gorgeous lace overlay with three quarter length sleeves. She was so lovely; she restored my faith that I could be a beautiful bride in the style of dress that I wanted. My petticoats came from Hell Bunny and my sash I picked up on Ebay.
My wedding day came and went without a hitch – and I can honestly say that I felt so beautiful. I just wanted to share my experience. I can look back now and laugh because I was made to feel silly, but as I said before it is supposed to be one of the happiest experiences of your life, it’s part of getting married and you remember it for the rest of your life. That’s why I think that this shop is a positive step into the future for plus size brides.
Remember, when shopping for your wedding dress, you deserve to feel special no matter what size you are 🙂