Focus on Plus-sized Brides

I’ve never let a lack of cooking ability stop me from posting about food and recipes, so it seems perfectly fine to post about being a plus-sized bride despite never having been a bride.

While I don’t get the whole “this-is-the-most-important-day-of-my-life-so-it’s-okay-to-spend-a-year’s-worth-of-mortgage-payments-on-a-dress” phenomenon, I grudgingly accept that many (most?) other women do place great importance on such things and get hyper-stressed over the selection of said dress. I’ve served as a crying shoulder to numerous friend-brides and, nowadays, mothers-of-the-bride to know this firsthand, but if I hadn’t, I could just tune in to shows like Say Yes to the Dress, TLC’s weekly peek into the drama associated with finding The Perfect Dress. And there’s lots and lots of drama.

Somewhere along the way, someone at TLC realized that the plus-size bride frequently has drama-plus. Not only does she face the typical bridal stresses (self-induced or not), but she also faces a different set of issues related to her size. To demonstrate these frustrations, TLC will broadcast six episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss which will focus on larger-sized brides and the problems they encounter in their search for The Dress. The series-within-a-series starts this Friday, October 1st. TLC also offers a variety of tips and articles for plus-sized brides HERE.

Other resources for the plus-size bride:
Kleinfeld (the wedding gown people from Say Yes to the Dress! offers Tips and Ideas for Plus-Size Brides (They’re supposedly pro-plus-size, but I haven’t seen any curvy models in their site photos. Of course, I only looked at one page. :))

Plumage – a blog with fashion and beauty tips for the plus-size bride. Not a weight loss forum; instead, it focuses on “being comfortable in your own skin now“.

Interesting Article: Online Marketing and the Plus-Size Bride

I understand that every bride wants her guests to think she looks beautiful on her wedding day, but to me the more important thing is that she feels beautiful and that the man (or woman) she’s marrying sees her beauty. Those two things alone make for a magical wedding. *happy sigh*

To be honest, I’ve never seen a bride who didn’t look beautiful, but in almost every case, it’s been a direct result of the happiness radiating from within, not from an over-priced dress. (In a few cases, the difference between the aisle march and the bride’s “everyday look” was amazing simply for the brilliance of her smile and the elegance of her posture.)

Were/Are you a plus-sized bride? What was your experience? Any regrets? (With the wedding, not the marriage. That’s a whole different topic. :) )

20 thoughts on “Focus on Plus-sized Brides

  1. So interesting that you posted this! I just saw the commercial and was thinking about my own wedding, in fact my 26th anniversary is next week!

    I was a size 12 when I got married. In 1984 that made me a plus size bride. Yes. When I went to try on dresses, all they had were size 4-6. It was humiliating. The bridal shops were staffed by women who seemed intent on shaming me for my size, my budget and the short time before my date (3 months.) My mom and I ended up making my dress. I did not especailly like it. It wasn’t my dream dress and it wasn’t perfect, and yet I survived, the wedding went on, we had a great time and survived.

    I am glad that the bridal industry has wised up and started to make samples in much larger sizes. Now if they would please make some options with sleeves, that would make the plus size brides look even better.

    I have watched those shows with my daughters and we have all agreed that those brides are nuts to expect “perfection” and for putting so much emotion (not to mention money) into this illusion of one perfect day.

  2. I was a plus-size bride, heavy on the plus part 3 years ago when we got married. I don’t think I had any problems that other brides didn’t have. I found my dress relatively fast as the bridal store I went to had a large selection of plus size dresses.

    I wished I had been thinner when we got married, but in the end, it didn’t matter. We still had a lovely wedding that our friends and family look back on fondly.

  3. You and I watch a lot of the same shows! I think I like that one because I never picked out my dress; I wore my mother’s. The style was not what I would have chosen but I loved the sentimentality of it all. I was a very thin bride. I was pretty small when I got engaged and then my dad died and for the first time in my life I didn’t eat when stressed, so got even thinner. I started gaining it back, a few pounds at a time, on the honeymoon. Sigh.

  4. I watch that show too! Like the Kleinfeld one over the Atlanta show….

    I was not a plus sized bride but in my mind, I felt like one… we never thing we look good enough & actually back then, I was heavier in terms of body fat….. but not heavy by any means….

    As for the drama on the shows.. craziness! And the prices people pay for a wedding dress.. holy crap!

  5. I was totally a plus sized bride when I got married in 2005. An old bride too at 40! I found my dress pretty easily. Online, in fact. And the thing was, it was so much cheaper than what I might have found otherwise. I thnk it was around $200. I never, in my wildest dreams thought that I would still be fat when I got married, but there I was and he was determined to love me anyway. And I was so beautiful that day! The photos are amazing. It’s totally bride magic. I felt like a goddess and so I emanated like one. Maybe I should post some of those pics on my site…. hmmmm….

  6. How times change.

    My wedding was more elaborate than my mother’s but by today’s standards it was almost out of the poor house.

    We made all our own dresses and they were beautiful and original. We did have professional caterers, florist and photographer and went to the hairdresser but make-up and nails were our own work. The photographer came to my parents house and took pre-wedding photos in the garden. None of those blow by blow getting ready photos. We bought our own plain album and Dad even supplied some of the food to the caterer.We used family cars. The best man and my husband hired suits but only because they never wore suits in their everyday lives. A friend took a movie which I don’t think I’ve ever seen because we’ve never had the right viewer. We are still saying that one day we’ll take it to someone who can format it onto a DVD, (previously it would have been a video cassette). I guess we’r a little old fashioned. *smile*

    It still cost a few dollars but nothing like the gargantuan amounts I see being spent today. It was a wonderful day and our marriage is 47 years old so proves you don’t need a celebrity style wedding to make it last.

    And Brides don’t need as many beauty aides as they think. Being in love carries it’s own special glow that is more beautiful than any make-up artist can accomplish.

    I admire the women who buck the trend and have simple weddings. It is often the most significant day in a couple’s life but the angst that goes into a super duper production is just not worth it.

  7. Ugh, there’s so much STRESS involved in planning a wedding! Even if I believed in getting married (which I don’t – what’s the point in signing a contract if 2/3 of people just end up getting divorced anyway? Common law all the way!), I don’t think I’d bother with having a wedding. I’d get someone to marry myself and my fiance, preferably wearing my favourite pair of jeans, and I’d have one witness. Ah bliss. No wedding dress woes around here!

    …that being said, I’m the maid of honour for my friend, and it’s been interesting going dress shopping with her. Dress sizes and prices are ridiculous. It’s also ridiculous that we’re getting fitted for dresses NOW, when her wedding is going to be in the spring. Boggles the mind the way that weddings need to be planned so far in advance!

  8. So much pressure on women to be thin for their wedding that I guess a lot just lose weight to get into the dress and then pile it on afterwards – plus size honeymooners!

  9. Yep – I was a plus-sized bride. I weighed about 220 when I got married. I went dress shopping, and it was really difficult because sample sizes were just not big enough for me to even try on, let alone even close to my budget.

    I ended up going to a bridal consignment shop and found a dress that just about fit perfect and had a beautiful train and lots of beads. It was only $180, too. I got that one and was quite happy with my decision 😀

  10. I was a plus size bride twice… back in the 70s and 80s. The choices were crappy, and turned my dream day into nightmares. The second wedding I didn’t even bother getting a wedding dress, just a gown, which was a little easier, but why do bridal shops make their sample sizes “8” ? Let’s face it, there are a lot more of us who are NOT 8.

    These days I see a lot more gowns available for larger women, and samples up to a size 16 or 18 most places. Darn well about time! Now I have the opposite problem, because my daughter-in-law to be is a 4/6.

    Anyway, I’m GLAD to see some attention being paid to the plus size bride. Brides don’t just come in three sizes, and yes, women who are plus sized are so often told that they are NOT beautiful… and so many think they have to lose weight before their wedding… that it’s something really special to find THE dress.

  11. Interesting post. You are so right, Cammy, that a radiant smile is the most important accessory to the wedding outfit. My father took most of the photographs at our wedding and he said he almost didn’t need any extra lighting because our smiles lit up the church! I thought I was big, but I wore a size 8 dress. (with size inflation over the years, probably a 10 or 12 these days) I was in college and just biked over to Macy’s and went to the bridal department. I think I tried on three dresses. I used a credit card and remember calling home to alert them that I’d spent $250! Our daughter wore a size 8 dress (but couldn’t fit into my dress) and bought the floor sample for half price ($450). I think it’s INSANE to as much as I read about people spending these days on a wedding .

  12. I looked at that first website (Kleinfeld) and couldn’t believe that I was unable to post a comment unless I wanted to open an account! So here’s what I wanted to write:
    = = = =
    I have been married 3 years. I scoured all kinds of places looking for something appropriate for me and in my budget of $600 (for the entire wedding). I was a plus size then and although I’m losing, I’m a plus-size now. But of all the dresses I see on this blog posting/article, not ONE model is a plus-size. NOT ONE. Is there a problem finding real life models to fit in the dresses you’re recommending?
    = = = =
    I was 43 when I got married this time. We had a very small wedding; my best friend flew in to be the maid of honor and together we prepared all the food and decorated the meeting room in our apartment building. I ended up finding a beautiful purple skirt and top set that was fancy and fun and set just the right tone for our wedding. No regrets about that part at all.

    Vee at

  13. I bought my dress on ebay. Hee hee.

    My only thing is that I wish I’d had some sort of sleeve or strap on my dress. Let’s just say that, at the reception, more people got introduced to more of my breasts than I would have ever wanted.

  14. Funny – I’m not engaged, nor have I ever been married, and as much as I can’t stand the thought of spending heaps on a dress I’ll wear once, I really want to get married and I want that day to be AMAZING. (On the cheap, but amazing all the same). Part of that is looking/feeling amazing and always looking back at the gorgeous photos and thinking how perfect it was and what a blissfully happy day it was. I don’t want to look back and think “Eep. Who invited that second chin!?!”

    I also don’t want to spend the months/weeks leading up to the wedding stressing about my weight, going to the gym like a mad person and having my dress refitted multiple times. I figure there’ll be plenty of other things to worry about.

    Every now and then I think about how I want to look on my wedding day (whenever that is!) and use that as a little boost of motivation to get in that shape NOW so I won’t have to think about it THEN. I also figure the happier I am with my body, the easier it will be to find a dress because I won’t have any worries about hiding any bulging back fat or rolls or little pouches/dimples/ripples/etc.

    (This is actually the first time I’ve ever admitted I think about my “someday” wedding in relation to my current body/weight. I’m pretty sure most people would say I’m crazy but I think if it’s a motivation to me – and I’m not obsessive about it – why not?)

  15. First wedding, I had my dress made….LOVED it and it was the thing that cost the least…

    I am currently engaged and as far as the dress, I will probably have that one made too! Just makes it much easier!

  16. I had no idea there was such a show – Say Yes to the Dress. I am so out of the TV loop. We got married just 2 months after Paul proposed so it was a quick-find-a-dress kinda thing. No drama. 😉

  17. I was an average sized bride – I gained my weight after getting married. I can’t imagine spending the money on dresses like they do on those shows – but I enjoy watching Say Yes to the Dress. I wish I had it to do over again (with the same guy) – because I’d want a fancier dress!

  18. I think my bridal gown was a 12 or a 14, and sizes ran a lot smaller back in the day.

    You didn’t ask, but I will tell you that I bought the first dress I tried on. There were others, but I liked it the best and went back to it. It cost $500, which seemed like a lot then. These days, I know that bridesmaids can easily spend that much.

    The Bridezillas on “Say Yes” are something else. How self-indulgent can some of them be? Ugghhhh…..

  19. I was a plus sized bride.

    I was a bride in Paris, land of thin small women.

    In the end, I had my dress custom made – thereby avoiding a lot of nightmares in fitting rooms.

    I did find that David’s bridal in the US had a lot of workable options – none of them particularly gorgeous, but there were some simple and passable – but your point of “does the bride feel beautiful” and “does the groom find the bride beautiful” were essentially what pushed me to spend the money on custom – he loved the dress, I loved the dress. I didnt feel that way about any of the “passable” options…

  20. I was so lucky. I was only a size 8 when we got married (many pounds as well as years ago) but because I am and always have been “bigger” up top and shorter than 6 feet tall, it was almost impossible to find a dress that fit properly. On top of $3000 for a dress, they wanted another $150 PER alteration – meaning, right sleeve to long, $150…Left sleeve to long, $150…get the picture?

    I was soooo lucky because I also have a cousin who at the time of my engagement was a seamstress who worked for a well known Canadian designer. She became pregnant and returned to our home province and designed a dress to suit my body type AND did all the sewing as well.

    Cost for me? Fabric and lace, buttons and thread – which I found all at a closing out sale for a total of $200.

    I know exactly how lucky I was to have this option and while I was no where near as “plus” as I am now, I also find it ridiculous that anyone of NORMAL size is considered fat when they go to a bridal shop.

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