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The Plus Size Bride’s Dress Shopping Guide

As soon as I got engaged, I could not wait to start dress shopping. Like so many girls, I’ve dreamed about my wedding gown since I was young but little did I know how daunting it would feel to get ready for my first appointment. While every bride has anxieties when they are looking for their gown, it can be especially true for a plus size bride. Online bridal catalogues, magazines, and Pinterest often portray wedding gowns on models who, chances are, do not have the same body shape/size as you making it hard to envision yourself wearing it.

Before my first dress shopping experience I worried that the shops wouldn’t have a sample size I could fit into and the small sizes wouldn’t give me an accurate depiction of what the dress would look like. Those anxieties were short lived and I quickly found out that dress shopping is not something to be stressed over, but should be a fun part of your wedding planning experience. Here are some tips to make sure it is:

The wedding dress shop you choose makes a difference!

Like any shopping experience, you want to make sure the customer service is up to par. Before you make appointments, read reviews online and get referrals from friends and your wedding planner. In my experience, most of the consultants you meet will be very professional and helpful. Consultants are also trained to be knowledgeable about fabrics and shapes that suit every body type.

Don’t be afraid to start at box stores like David’s Bridal. They can be great places to figure out what you like and don’t like and they often have just about every size in store!

You can call ahead to see what sizes they carry.

Most bridal shops carry two samples of each dress, one in a smaller size and one in a larger size. This isn’t always the case but you can call to make sure they will have some that you can try on. Chances are, no matter what your size, the dresses will not fit just right. Consultants will be able to clip them to give you the best view of what it will look like. Sometimes you might have to use a little imagination.

Don’t worry about the size!

Don’t be alarmed if your wedding gown ends up being a few sizes larger than your normal dress size. Dress shops order the size that matches your largest measurement and wedding gowns often run small. So don’t beat yourself up for the number on the tag – no one will know, they’ll just know you look beautiful!

Don’t be afraid to try different styles and materials.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can only pull off an A-line dress or a ball gown. Try on different styles and shapes and decide which one YOU like best. Choose a dress that matches your style and personality. You may think you can’t pull off a trumpet silhouette but depending on the structure of the gown, the same silhouette in a different gown can look completely different. You can always have a custom gown made or add straps/sleeves to a strapless dress!

Arrive at your appointment prepared.

At your appointment, you will be stripping down to your skivvies so make sure to wear underwear that you feel good in. Wear something similar to what you plan to wear under your wedding dress (i.e. if you plan to wear a strapless bra and spanx, wear that). Most importantly, make sure you eat beforehand and take some water to your appointment. There’s nothing worse than being hangry and dehydrated!

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Wedding dress shopping should be one of the fun parts of planning your big day, no matter what size you are! Go with an open mind, try different things, and take people you love and have fun with. Remember, you’re getting MARRIED!!


So where did I find the wedding dress of my dreams? I had the most fabulous experience at Gown Boutique of Charleston!! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend visiting their shop. All of the ladies that work there are so friendly and genuinely want to help you find THE dress. They had plenty of dresses I could try on and I never once felt insecure. I was only there for about 15 minutes before I had champagne in my hand and had signed on the dotted line. I can’t wait to wear my gorgeous Stella York gown! 😍


So, don’t be insecure girl!

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cameron, owner of Photography By Cameron, wedding photographer in Charleston, SC



Hey there! I’m Cameron, a wedding photographer based in Charleston, SC. Here on the blog you can see my latest weddings and portrait sessions, read the sweetest wedding day stories, and get all of my best tips for the wedding day and beyond. Grab a coffee and enjoy!   

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