How to find the perfect plus-sized wedding dress

You deserve to wear something that makes you look and feel great.

Finding the perfect wedding dress is one of the highlights of the planning process for many brides-to-be. But if you’re a plus-sized woman, it can seem like an intimidating experience. A lack of plus-size models in bridal magazines; struggling to find sample dresses in your size; your girlfriends seeming to have all the luck (and the options!) in the world; it can make you want to throw your hands in the air.

But here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. You deserve to wear something that makes you look and feel great so we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you Kiwi brides find the perfect plus-sized wedding dress.

Call ahead

Pick up the phone and call ahead to see if your chosen store carries larger sample sizes. They’ll normally only stock one or two sample sizes of a dress so you may find that they don’t have your size, but don’t fret – it’s not the end of the world. If a sample dress is too small, stores have ways of clipping a dress to demonstrate how it would look on your body shape. And don’t feel bad about needing this done – all brides go through this process.

Keep your options open

You’ve spent hours trawling through magazines, websites, and Pinterest boards narrowing down dress options and in your mind you have a clear picture of what you want. Most brides have an idea of the dress they’d like to purchase before they hit the shops, but it’s important you don’t dismiss other styles. All brides – plus-sized or not – can be surprised by a dress that turns out to be more flattering than they had anticipated. Remember, dresses can look totally different on the hanger so try them on before ruling them out.

Bring a good shopping buddy

Wedding dress shopping is so much more fun with company. Just make sure that your shopping buddy is someone who will be fun and supportive, but will keep you honest. Nobody wants their feelings hurt with harsh feedback, but you also don’t want to look back at your photos and wish that your best friends had told you the truth.

Be prepared

Start your dress hunt in a good mood, and go prepared for the variety of dresses you’re about to try on. Wear that sexy underwear – a strapless bra is useful in case you want to try on a strapless dress. If you’re thinking about wearing shapewear on your wedding day, throw it in your bag. And don’t forget your wedding shoes if you already have them.

Made to measure

Having trouble finding something you like? Why not get a custom dress made just for you. Be sure to do your research and find a dressmaker who knows how to work with a curvy figure. Remember to choose your fabric wisely; chiffons will move with you, while thicker fabrics like taffeta will help smooth out any lumps and bumps.

You can also customise an off-the-shelf number. Love that strapless dress but would like it even more with sleeves added? Get it done. Wish that gorgeous lace gown had more support? Ask to have it added. It’s your day, it’s your dress, and you should have it exactly how you want.

Get shopping

Feeling ready to shop but not sure where to start? Here are a few of our favourite stores that stock plus-sized wedding gowns:

To Cherish – Christchurch
Offers over 180 styles of bridal gowns including a full line catering to sizes 18 and over.

Brides of Merivale – Christchurch
With a unique personal experience, they have an extensive range of bridal gowns, including plus sizing

Astra Bridal – Auckland, North Shore, Hamilton, Wellington
Offering a range of gowns in larger sizes, ideal for any woman who wears a size 18 or over

Bridal Brilliance – Auckland
Specialising in a wonderfully varied range of plus-size designer wedding gowns

Venus Gowns – various stockists across New Zealand
Flattering, feminine bridal gowns for curvy figures up to size 32



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