plus-size woman in a wedding dress holding bouquet
Photo: Miriam Salgado

Shopping for a wedding dress is an experience that should be uplifting and enjoyable for all women. Sometimes, plus-sized brides feel disadvantaged, but following some tips can make dress shopping relaxing and pleasant.

  • #1. Research the Store

Before going to any store, brides should ensure that the shop carries plus-size wedding dresses. Find out what sizes the shop carries and if samples are available in various sizes. Some stores have designers that offer plus sizes but lack samples in larger sizes. If shoppers cannot get a direct answer before going to the store, they can check out the line of designers that the boutique carries. Designer websites typically list information about the sizes that are available for ordering. Reading reviews of the store from other plus-sized brides can help women decide where to shop.

  • #2. Demand Respect

A woman should never be made to feel bad about her body. If shoppers go to a store and are treated poorly or dismissed due to their sizes, they should not give their business to that store. This experience can feel demeaning and make women think they don't deserve their dream dress. 

Remember that there are plenty of shops where the attendants are compassionate and understanding. Plus-sized brides should shop at stores that make them feel like their beauty queens.

  • #3. Bring Trusted Companions

Every body type is going to look better in some dresses than others. Plus-sized women need to bring along relatives and friends who are going to give their honest opinions. Keep in mind that having too many opinions can be confusing, though. Two or three trusted loved ones typically make for a good shopping group. 

Some brides may want to go to the stores by themselves at first. Then, they can narrow down the options with help from a shop attendant. At this point, shoppers can return to the store with the bridal party or with the moms to make the final selection.

  • #4. Wear the Right Undergarments

While women might not have their bridal undergarments purchased just yet, they should still wear bras, underwear, and stockings similar to what they plan to dress on the day of the wedding. Without the proper undergarments, dresses can look misshapen or unsightly on any body type. Many women choose to buy shapewear for their wedding days. Bringing shapewear along when trying on wedding dresses can give brides a clearer vision of what the dress will look like on the big day. A strapless bra can also change the appearance of a dress.

a pair of wedding heels close to the rings
Photo: Melike Benli

  • #5. Have the Shoes

Ordering a wedding dress also means brides must know how high their heels will be on the wedding day. Even if women don't yet have their shoes by the time they order their dresses, they do have to tell the sales attendant how high of a heel they are planning to wear. Brides over a certain height generally need to order extra lengths for their dresses.

  • #6. Try the Dress on

If the store does not have a sample in the right size, brides might decide to go ahead and order their dream dress anyway. While this option can have a positive outcome, it is essential to try on a dress before purchasing it. Shoppers and sales attendants might need to get creative. Even if the sample is a few sizes too small, women may be able to try the dress on without zipping or buttoning it up. Some brides might want to order the dress in their size, try it on only at that time, and then decide. 

Remember that wedding dresses can take months to come to the store. This method might mean the bride is left without a dress for her wedding day.

  • #7. Order the Right Size

Some women want to lose weight before their wedding days. Therefore, they order their wedding dresses in a smaller size than their measurements suggest they should. Remember that a wedding dress can be taken in if it is too big. Only so many alterations can be made to a dress, and a dress that is too small might not work out. Brides could end up without enough time to order another dress before the big day.

  • #9. Buy Extra Fabric

Sometimes, women will fall in love with a wedding dress that does not come in their size. One option might be to order extra fabric and tailor the dress to fit. This process involves working with a seamstress who is highly skilled in altering wedding dresses and has previously customized these garments. Brides must ask seamstresses how much extra fabric to buy.

  • #10. Expect Alterations

Many women struggle with body image. Plus-sized women might be afraid their dresses will not fit properly when the garments arrive in the store. Having alterations to a wedding dress is normal. Weight fluctuations can happen. Also, it is common for gowns to fit perfectly in one area, such as the hips, and to be a bit too big or small in another area, such as the chest.


Once the final fitting is complete, brides need to maintain their weight as best as possible. A couple of pounds in one direction or another is unlikely to make a massive difference in how the dress fits, but more significant increases or decreases could. Brides should speak with seamstresses about how far in advance to book the final fitting. Going for the last fitting the right amount of time before the wedding is essential in terms of how the dress fits.

Beautiful women of all sizes deserve to walk down the aisle in the dresses of their dreams. The process of shopping, buying, and tailoring a dress can feel uncomfortable at times. However, following some strategies specifically for plus-sized women can make a significant difference.

Lots of love,