A Fat Bride Survival Guide

Guest post by Natalie Perkins
fat bride survival guide on offbeat bride alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photo of Natalie and Nick by Kate O'Brien. You can see all the pictures from their wedding here.

When I got married I was a fat bride.

In fact, I was fat when I got engaged – I was even *gasp* fat when Nick and I met!

Despite having a well-established, recognized, and loved body shape before getting married, I copped a huge amount of pressure to lose weight in the lead-up to the wedding.

For some reason, I had it in my head that my wedding day would be a celebration of love and happiness between Nick and I however it seemed that foolish me had little idea of the true wedding agenda – basically some kind of reality tv show where the ugly duckling turns gorgeous siren.

There would be no end of helpful clicks and tuts on hand to whip me into shape (I maintain that rectangular with bumps is a shape, dammit) for my reveal, wait, wedding day. My hairdresser at the time barely let her congratulations fly past her lips before she'd cornered me and asked how much weight I was losing. She lost the job.

Bridal stores have ALL KINDS of euphemisms for asking about your weight loss plans. My favourite was the ever so polite “Now, are we planning on losing or gaining any weight for the big day?” Not to mention the hushed murmurings of “big girl”, “solid build”, “flattering” and “voluptuous”.

You know what? I walked out of all of those places. I wanted a bunch of supportive people helping me look even more fancy on my wedding day, not a wake of frowny-faced vultures picking over the fat girl.

I wanted to share a few things that helped me survive as a fat bride, because if you're not used to speaking up it really can be intimidating and upsetting.

I had a crystalline vision of how I wanted to look on my wedding day and I wasn't ashamed of my body, nor did I have plans to change it consciously before the date.

Being somewhat blunt and quite confident, I had few real issues with the barrage of concerned but unhelpful people who just wanted me to look fabulous when I got married. I understood that they were coming from a mindset held by most brides, a world where a slimmer bride must be the more beautiful bride, but I was not convinced of that.

  1. Come out as fat to all of the people involved in your wedding party.

    Lay down some ground rules when it comes to your body – i.e.: it's none of your business. I also told my bridesmaids that I would not entertain negative body talk during the fittings. If they waited until I was out of the room, that was fine but I didn't want dress fittings to be railroaded by unproductive and negative discussion!

  2. Look at some real life weddings.

    Offbeat Bride is still one of my favourite wedding sites because there are so many different bodies all happy, celebrating and looking great! Glossy magazines are fine, but if you don't want to have a traditional western wedding you'll be left feeling empty! There are heaps of wedding blogs out there to help you with ideas for garments, decorations, themes and locations.

  3. Talk about your ideas with your wedding party.

    This is especially important when it comes to garments. Different bodies like to wear different things!

  4. Bridal stores generally carry two sizes in “try on” dresses – 10 and 18.

    I think I only went to one store, where I definitely did not fit in the 18. I figured that if they were going to assume that they could just grade a smaller sized pattern up to “fit” me, then they could go jump.

  5. Investigate a dressmaker.

    This is what I did – my mother and I asked an assistant at a  local fabric shop for her recommendations and she gave us the phone number of the amazing Gloria, a couture seamstress and pattern designer. Gloria only took petite and plus sized clients, and had incredible pattern drafting skills which she used to outfit women who didn't fit within mainstream sizing. Instant brownie points! Working with Gloria was a great experience – I had designed my dress but with her guidance we made it epic! We also designed the bridesmaid dresses in such a way that the design would be adapted for each of the girls' personalised slopers (a sloper is like a basic pattern created to fit your measurements). I wanted my sisters and my friend to feel special on the day, with a gorgeous dress that they felt great in.

  6. If a vendor bothers you about losing weight, drop them.

    If you feel up to it, you can always say something like “I'm not planning on losing weight for my wedding”. You don't need to  sass them back, or come back with a quip that will make them regret ever saying anything to you. You don't have time for that, and you'll feel rotten afterwards. Focus on your main goal – getting this theatrical monster of a wedding on the road.

  7. Listen to people, but don't forget that you are the authority on your body.

    Plenty of bridal (and plain old everyday fashion) assistants have plenty of things to say on what's “flattering” or “suitable”. There seems to be a metric buttload of rules and regulations and if you bother following all of them you'll basically wave goodbye to any sense of individuality. If you really want to wear a dress that's cut a certain way, ask the assistant or the dressmaker if there's something close if they absolutely veto your first choice (or, dump them). Tell them why you want your neckline just like so. Be assertive and use “I statements” – “I feel confident when I have cap sleeves” or “I feel really gorgeous in a strapless dress”. Push for what you want, or else you're having someone else's wedding.

  8. Wear comfortable shoes that fit you correctly.

    Most wedding days go on for 12 hours – you don't want to be wearing unsupportive shoes that make you snarl. Alternatively, take your damn shoes off. I did that, because my gorgeous Italian sling backs kept slipping off! Unfortunately I also stood in dog poo, but uh… what can you do when you can't see your feet let alone half a metre in front of you?

  9. You don't have to wear the garter belt.

    I really did not want Nick to dig through my skirts and pull a rotten scrunchy off my thigh, only to throw it to his mates. The whole idea grossed me out. What I did was arrange to slip it to him with my magical sleight of hand during the whole garter toss show. I was going to pin it inside my skirt, but I didn't get a chance! Of course, if you hate this part of the reception  – nix it. You're not really beholden to anyone to include anything on your wedding day besides the bits required by law during your ceremony!

  10. Have fun!

    After months of planning, your wedding day should be when you take the pressure down. If you've been true to yourself and your relationship, you should be feeling completely at ease – surrounded by all the people who love you and wish you well.

Do any other fat brides (nay, fat grooms!) have tips? I'd love to read them – post a comment!

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Comments on A Fat Bride Survival Guide

  1. Here here, if anyone dared to even hint that I had to alter myself just to be getting married they weren't getting any of my money.

  2. As a former sales girl in a bridal salon, they should NEVER ask you how much weight you plan on losing, no matter your size. A good shop will insist on order a gown in the size you are now. If you loose weight it can always be taken in, but if you don't loose weight it can be a nightmare to let it out. In fact I had several brides (oddly enough never anyone above size 10), who wanted me to order them dresses 1-3 sizes smaller because they inisisted they were going to loose weight. I refused for the reason above.

  3. I love this! I lucked out and found an amazing bridal shop on my first try. My mother was the one who mentioned losing weight and the owner of the shop quickly said, “We can take dresses in up to four sizes. We can only let them out one.” It’s ridiculous that brides of any size should have to be subjected to scrutiny about how they choose to look on such a joyous occasion!

  4. Wonderfully inspiring post, and might I say, that woman looks ravishing in her wedding photo.

  5. I had the same kind of problem when I went to davidsbridal….. they were so afraid to ask me what size gown am I looking for and I told them they looked at me. I bet they were thinking are you sure your that size ?? I looked at my daughter and she was like mom lets just get out of here. So I just tried on my dream dress but needless to say the sales lady wasnt really very helpful so I left the store with out my dream dress. I know so many stores have such attitude of how people should look when they are shopping or how to act. I hope I made sense in what I was saying here. Turns out I found a great dream dress online on ebay so luckly I lucked out on a good deal on a designer gown for much less.

    • I went to davids bridal myself and all she put me in was a-line not whati wanted told her mermaid but the consultant would not listen so i left without a dress.

  6. At first I was thinking, "tons of women modify their body in some way for weddings – diets, exercise, or even [yikes] implants – what's the big deal about a sales clerk asking about your plans, if she does it tactfully?" but then I was reminded by the other comments that you really can't let a dress out, but you can always take it in. Consider me edumacated 😉

  7. Love it, love it, love it!!! I would so be instantly gone if some skinny vendor took it upon herself to comment on my weight. Yay for Natalie!

  8. that whole article is made of win. i'm quite bony, but i find the pervading theme of "your body is no one else's business" to be so on point for anyone. right on.

  9. A friend of mine told me years ago when she got married that she was buying a dress that fit her, not the other way around. I stand by that. I am exactly what I am, and that is exactly what he wants to marry. Our friends love us just like we are, our family loves us just like we are. I see no reason to present them with anything else on our wedding day.

  10. Good for you, Natalie! Re: #7: I agree that there are styles that flatter certain body types (I, example, look terrible in a high-necked top. V-neck? Fab!) But "suitable"? Feh! It's how you feel in the garment that really shows through in the end.

  11. Thank you thank you thank you!!! There's nothing quite like standing around in your underwear in front of a complete stranger (or even your mother for that matter) and have to be squeezed into dresses meant for the "average" size woman when you ARE the average sized woman (5'4", 155lbs, size 14-16). Even though I'm generally pretty selfconfident having one sales woman remind me repeatedly that "nothing's going to fit you in here honey" while then commenting on how "much smaller" I looked in certain dresses totally distroyed me for a couple of days. Even my very weight concious mother was offended by her. Needless to say I didn't get my dress there. The wedding industry sure is a weird one. I stated from day one to all my family and friends that my weight was the last thing I was going to focus on during the wedding planning process and would not tolerate any further conversation on the matter. It's such a sad thing I had to say it but it stopped that train before it left the gate.

  12. Thank you thank you thank you!!! There's nothing quite like standing around in your underwear in front of a complete stranger (or even your mother for that matter) and have to be squeezed into dresses meant for the "average" size woman when you ARE the average sized woman (5'4", 155lbs, size 14-16). Even though I'm generally pretty selfconfident having one sales woman remind me repeatedly that "nothing's going to fit you in here honey" while then commenting on how "much smaller" I looked in certain dresses totally distroyed me for a couple of days. Even my very weight concious mother was offended by her. Needless to say I didn't get my dress there. The wedding industry sure is a weird one. I stated from day one to all my family and friends that my weight was the last thing I was going to focus on during the wedding planning process and would not tolerate any further conversation on the matter. It's such a sad thing I had to say it but it stopped that train before it left the gate.

  13. Lastly I'd like to add that this advise applies to fat grooms as well. I am the proud fat wife of a fat husband who also heard some negitivity about his size before the wedding. I feel most of the time people are so much more accepting of fat men but boy did he get some questions about his weight loss plans. It's important to remember that the boys want to and deserve to look just as good as the girls, as well as feel just as awesome about themselves.

  14. Lastly I'd like to add that this advise applies to fat grooms as well. I am the proud fat wife of a fat husband who also heard some negitivity about his size before the wedding. I feel most of the time people are so much more accepting of fat men but boy did he get some questions about his weight loss plans. It's important to remember that the boys want to and deserve to look just as good as the girls, as well as feel just as awesome about themselves.

  15. it is an excellent blog, which reminds me of comments made during my wedding preparations – “i have 2 dresses in your size – see what you think of them”(regardless of course as to whether i would like them..) – “of course these dresses are available in ‘plus sizes'”, “childbearing figure” was a new one on me….

    We argued with a stupid woman in a chain dress store after she insulted my friends figure and only allowed her to try on dresses she thought would suit her…. not her style at all of course!

    Whatever happened to buying a dress which worked with your body, rather than the other way around?? And why doesn’t the industry view it in the same way? Stopping the wildly varying (15-30% ?) excess charges for ‘plus sizes’ would be a good start – give over – they’re making enough profit already!

    *phew* rant over….

  16. What’s funny is I went to David’s Bridal for my dress and they were VERY professional. I ordered the dress in my current size and they never mentioned my weight or anything. I’m not obese but im not perfect either. I was suprised at how professional they were.

    • It always depends on the people working at the place as opposd to the place itself. Around here we have a lot of very mmm well lets just put it not so nice kids? working at most of the stores so its like being in highschool when you go to get a dress … or anything else for that matter.

    • “I’m not obese but im not perfect either.” So people who are obese are less perfect than those who aren’t?

      • I think that she meant “perfect” by Hollywood/societal standards. Meaning she isn’t a “starlet” body type but more average even if she isn’t in the obese category on the BMI. I’m guessing she doesn’t personally feel that obese people are less attractive or less perfect just that society tends to tell us Big Women (myself included) that we aren’t the ideal “look”. 🙂

      • Yeah, I thought the same thing. I’m guessing it is a poor choice in words, hopefully not her outlook.

  17. I think that natalie’s blog is good not just for brides who love their bodies, but anyone who does.

  18. I, too, had a bad experience at a bridal shop. I'm a 12-14, but all the sample sizes were 10 max, and even though the saleswoman was pretty professional I felt incredibly self-conscious trying to squeeze into dresses that were simply not right for my body. I ended up buying a very simple white dress off the rack at Bloomingdales instead that was actually my size as well as my style, and I feel like a million bucks in it. It's worth looking outside of traditional bridal shops sometimes, because you never know where you might find your dream dress.

    • im with you on this one, i couldnt find anything that i really ft like i rocked in, but 2 weeks before my wedding i walked into a Rosses and found this georgous white dress. t fit great and only cost me 22$! wedding dresses certianly dont have to come from bridal shops. (thank god lol) freakin love this blog

  19. I had a shockingly good experience at David's Bridal too. There was definitely some squeezing into things, but she pulled a lot of different dresses for me to try on…all of which could be ordered in my size. In the end, I went to a different location & bought my dress off the rack. I loved it & it was reasonably priced to boot.
    I must confess I was too chicken to go into any other bridal salon…because I already knew nothing would fit me. I hated feeling like that.
    On a side note, it was difficult to find that many pictures of plus sized brides in gowns (kudos to offbeat bride for always having a nice selection of photos to peruse & david's bridal showed most of its plus size gowns on women).
    I knew from the start that I wasn't going to starve myself to fit into a dress. Wedding day shmedding day…I was going to be chubby happy self. However, if I could take a pill to be 2 inches taller…I'd do it in a heart beat 😉

    • David’s Bridal was a nightmare for me…not because of my size, but because of my credit rating….They had my ideal dress…and they were having their annual $99 sale…but-my figure needed that one little letter W. That tiny difference from 18 to 18W meant $1500 more…WTF. One small change=big $$$. The only thing I ended up getting there was my shoes. But only because the ones we ordered online 3 months ahead of time-never arrived. Ok-sorry, rant over. You may return to your regularly scheduled wedding talk.

  20. Seeing all the beautiful brides on Offbeat Bride in all their diversity has been really important for me in becoming much more accepting of my body and believing that there might be a man who will find me attractive – I've been a bridesmaid a couple of times in the last few years and surrounded by 'normal' bridal magazines which only show slender 'real' brides, to the point where I subconsciously started believing than only women who looked like that fall in love and get married. Which of course, is objectively ridiculous. So thank you for sharing your wedding – and I only wish your dressmaker was still in business for if and when I get married (I live in Brisbane.)

  21. It's totally offensive on so many levels. I'm a runner and just got engaged and it's astonishing to me to read all these mainstream bridal plans/websites/books that say things like, "6 months before the wedding: start your workout plan!" I already try to work out and keep fit, why would I start and end just for a wedding? I don't plan to change the amount of time I spend running or working out at all.
    It seems like a terribly unhealthy idea to base a fitness plan or diet around a wedding (and solely around the motivation of losing weight!!) – you could increase your risk of injury by starting too fast, or pushing yourself to hard, or make yourself sick crash dieting. A workout plan should start and begin at a much slower pace and because of the motivations the person has (health, stress relief), not from any outside ideals of what a bride "should" look like. If anything, a good time to start a workout plan would be AFTER the wedding when you have more time to relax and settle in with your new spouse : D

    • "If anything, a good time to start a workout plan would be AFTER the wedding when you have more time to relax and settle in with your new spouse"

      Totally agreed, Anne! I think I've mentioned this before, but Andreas and I both got in better shape in the years AFTER our wedding, not because we had some SPECIAL DAY!!! to strive for, but because we wanted to commit to our ongoing shared health and happiness.

  22. I understand wanting to lose weight or be in better physical shape, and I think if a wedding helps you actualize that, that's a good thing.

    1) The goal should be better overall health, not trying to fit into a dress 5 sizes smaller.
    2) exercising should make you feel better about your body.
    3) when considering weight loss, you shouldn't plan to lose a large amount of weight in a small amount of time.
    4) The exercise should help you de-stress from wedding planning, rather than becoming an issue itself.

    As to being overweight or obese: the health issues shouldn't be overlooked. If your doctor is concerned with your weight, you should be too. But I think it's more important for people to be fit and health- conscious than to try and stuff themselves in a dress.

    • What do the "health issues" have to do with the topic at hand? It kills me when interlopers on "fat lady" subjects make comments on the health issues, as if fat women have no idea about the "risks" that come from being a certain size. We're fat, not stupid, and most of us know more about exercise and dieting than thin people. In short, let's stay on-topic.

      I'm engaged myself…was big when I met my fiance, big when I got engaged, and I'm big now. I've been big pretty much my entire life. Losing weight just for a wedding isn't going to happen. I'd like tighter arms 🙂 but I'm not going to add "lose weight" to the long list of things to do before the wedding just to please other people…I like myself and my fiance likes what he sees, so who else matters? Now I do exercise and look to eat relatively healthy (not specifically for weight loss, one can be fat and fit), but it's for the long haul. Loving my body starts now, not "ohh whenever I get thin." Anyway, I loved the article, and I loved the premise of it.

      • I think talking about health is legitimate! I’m using my wedding day to motivate myself to lose a few pounds. I hate it when people say it’s stupid to lose some weight before a wedding, because I’ve been wanting to do it anyway and the wedding gives me good motivation. It’s nice to hear some encouragement.

        I think it should go both ways: you can lose weight or not, but don’t bash either side. 🙂

    • OP: You cannot judge the health of another person by looking at them. What makes you think a fat person wants “health” and dieting advice from a perfect stranger simply because they’re fat? Do you not think fat people hear this kind of “advice” enough? There are a lot of “shoulds” in your post, and it comes off as pedantic and smug rather than helpful.

  23. My younger sister is size 0-2 (me, I’m a happy-to-be-chubby chef!). She was living in England with her lover (now husband) and had no friends or family to go shopping with her. The first THREE shops took one look at her boney body (sometimes thyroids go the other way..) and declared her to NEVER fit into what they carried..far too big! She was sobbing when she called me..

    I have no idea why the wedding industry–or the fashion industry–can be so MEAN, but I do know that snarkiness carries across dress sizes..and it makes me want to beat someone up! grrrrr

    • Really? I come from this far off land called England, and there are a LOT of fat people here too- so much so that childhood obesity is an EPIDEMIC that the government is trying to tackle, can I ask which shops your size 6 (by UK sizes) sister went into? I’m very curious. My sister is a size 6, and she has trouble because all the clothes are too BIG for her.

      • Imagine that thing are different in two completely different countries who’d have thunk it?

  24. Natalie is a massive inspiration to me – I had admired some of her pictures on here in passing, but didn’t realise it the woman I’ve been following on blogs and Twitter until this post!

    Dress shopping is one of the things I’m most nervous about, but Natalie’s attitude towards it has me ready to flick anyone who doesn’t support me and my desire to be beautiful for my soon-to-be hubby on our special day – just the way I am.

  25. I think that a woman has every right to whatever she wants to do with her body.Wanting to lose weight is good,depending on the motivation.If your motivation is good health,then so be it.But if your motivation is to please other people, like just before a wedding,then that pretty much turns things around.I think that bridal salons should be more sensitive to their guests and not ask stupid questions like “Are we planning on losing or gaining weight for the wedding?”It’s rude and downright unacceptable!!!

  26. This story really made me feel so much better about shopping for a wedding gown. I actually started a blog about my experiance as a plus size bride due to some horrible things I have heard while shopping from sales people and my own family. I have already exchanged two dresses because of people saying I was “too Fat” or that I need a dress to fit my “body type”. It is a horrible feeling and then one sales woman said to me “this is your body, own it! Plus size or not you are going to be a beautiful bride”. Thank you for sharing this with us

  27. I totally got this too! It was already bad enough that their sample size was a petite size 10 dress that couldn’t get over my head. They refused to let me even see other dresses telling me that they don’t carry dresses that big. I sympathize.

  28. Loving this post. Another thing that I personally find offensive is that if you tell them that you WANT something that looks sliming (or at least will get rid of the curves/bumps in the WRONG places (like along the back or arms) that they start bringing out what I like to term granny gowns, because usualy its the style that you see on a majority of older ladies. Ie. long dress, no curves, a bit of detail at the top maybe, and jackets, oh boy dothey love jackets. I want something thats gonna go with my age, not make me older.

  29. “Flattering” = the worst. I want to look gorgeous, dammit. If a dress can only be described as “flattering,” then it’s not the right dress.

    Three bridal appointments in, my favourite by far was the one with the non-pushy salesperson who didn’t mention weight once and just helped me in and out of dresses.

    • I loved this article! I recently got engaged and was worried about finding my dress in my size. David’s Bridal was nice; no asking me about my weight, just want style or fabric I liked. Then I went to Alfred Angelo. That changed everything. Not only did they have my size, but they didn’t pressure me at all, and I felt the dresses there were more what I had invisioned for my big day. Two whole days of dress shopping and not a single person asked about my weight goals or anything!

  30. I just wanted to comment that the beautiful bride in the pictures (I’m assuming it’s the author) looks so much like Inara Serra (from Firefly), especially in that stunning red gown! I’m in awe over her radiant beauty.

  31. YES! You go girl! I wish I would have seen this before my big day. I didn’t change for those vultures, but I did let them fight over my depressed carcass. I should have spoken up and I am ashamed of myself that I didn’t. Others, do not make my mistake! You are beautiful! Let YOUR beauty reflect in your wedding, not someone else’s idea of beauty.

  32. I knew trying on wedding dresses would be my least favorite part of wedding planning. I knew I was going to be picky and I knew I was going to be categorized as plus size. I tried going to a traditional bridal salon and I essentially was fat-shamed into trying on only the plus size dresses they had in stock, rather than the styles I was interested in. Because the sample sizes “wouldn’t fit me” and maybe I should try on more princess gowns and less mermaid styles. Bear in mind, I’m a freaking size 12.

    So after my trauma, I researched alternative options. I found a plus size bridal salon one state away from me and made a Saturday appointment. The drive was completely worth it. The consultants were so helpful, they didn’t ask me about any weight loss plans or suggest styles of dresses. I was pleased to find that EVERYTHING FIT, every freaking dress in the salon. Do you know how great that felt? They treated me like a bride, not a size. And really, every bride deserves that.

    So be warned brides, there are a lot of stereotypes out there for how a bride should look and it’s bullshit. It’s your dress and it’s your wedding, don’t let anyone take that away from you.

    • Women who work in this industry and other fashion related industries seem to have a remarkably skewed understanding of women’s bodies and sizes. It’s as if if you’re over size 6 you’re somehow already in plus sizing. NOT, I have to make clear, that there is anything at all wrong with being fat, or plus sized, I’m just always astounded at how narrow their view of beauty can often seem to be. And also seriously. Real talk. Sample dresses almost never ever fit you no matter what your size. That’s why they use those clips (if they’re too small, they clip the dress to your bustier or other undergarment!) I’m really, really sorry you had that experience.

      I’m also a street size 12, and I did go to a more traditional salon as they had a great bargain section. Although they didn’t give me the shit they gave you, when the consultant asked me what I thought my current size was, and I said 12, the first thing out of her mouth was “oh don’t worry, size is just a number,” of course the implicature being that because I am a size large and a big number, I automatically need condolences. The assumption being that I worry about my size and the size of my number. Boy, did she ever get an earful of Body Posi politics, and she didn’t say another word the entire appointment. Like, no words. I think I intimidated her a little, and I was all right with that.

      I love the idea of going to a plus salon in the future. Thanks for the tip; I might not have thought if it because 12 isn’t a plus size, and I wouldn’t have thought there would be anything there that fit me. Is it that they have some overlap in sizes? The salon where you went, did their dresses tend to run small like most wedding dresses do?

      • Thank you for sharing, Julianna Louise. I feel there will always be the people who imply, ‘You look great, but you could also lose weight, but you look great anyways, but you could look better?’ Its an unfair judgment call.
        The place I went specialized in plus size dresses, but served any size woman. It was a couture salon with larger sample sizes, most of the dresses catered to larger sizes. While I was there, I experienced a women who was a size 24 and then met a lady who was a size 8. It was really refreshing to see such an eclectic range of ladies feeling comfortable and beautiful in their wedding dresses.
        The salon is called Luxe Bridal in Minneapolis and they are really great.

        • While I live nowhere near the Twin Cities, I will look for a plus size salon in my area when I go dress trying on again. And wouldn’t it be lovely to see a range of sizes all being treated with respect! And maybe a consultant who understands that just because I don’t like crystals doesn’t mean I want a “simple” gown ;] Thanks for the info!

  33. I love this! I think it’s important to be yourself on your wedding day no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s YOUR day, not theirs! I had similar experiences at bridal shops and I’m a size 4. I’ve always been thin and small and instead of them helping me find a dress I liked it was all “oh you’ll look great in everything!” and that’s not helpful at all. Some of the dresses were awful and they were still insisting that they looked good (the price tags weren’t good either!). Just because I’m smaller doesn’t mean that I don’t have insecurities about different parts of my body (hello I’d love to have boobs!) and some of the sales people just didn’t get it. It’s important to find a dress YOU love with people that love YOU. I went with a few of my bridesmaids because I knew they’d be honest about what looked good on me, not what my body looked good in. A local shop helped me find the perfect dress and the size and alterations never mattered to them so they also didn’t matter to me. That’s what every bride needs to feel beautiful. Keep being you!

  34. My his article is fantastic, and doesn’t matter whether the bride featured was a size 2 or size 20 — it reinforces OBB’s “authentic to oneself” battle call.

    However, with my first bridal salon appointment coming up this Saturday I am now terrified of being discriminated against for my size (16.) I don’t want to walk in there with hackles raised, but I just don’t even know what to expect. I don’t want to feel bad about something so momentous.

  35. First, great post overall.

    But as someone who worked in a bridal shop for several years, I do have a couple of points:

    1. We are required to ask if you are trying to lose weight because it will affect the fit of the gown and the alterations required. Because of the pressure, there are lots of brides who do loose a lot of weight and the $100 alteration quotes has now tripled and they freak out. Now, the other “commentary” was outrageous and you were right to walk out.

    2. Unless the store requests otherwise, manufacturers will only send dresses in those two sizes (and mostly in size 10). A sign of a good store is that they have variety of styles in a variety of sizes because it means the owner took the extra time to request it.

    3. Actually, they do exactly plan to “size up” that dress. Wedding dresses aren’t designed like street clothes, its assumed they will be altered to fit the person wearing them. The dresses themselves have generous seams that can be let up to 1 1/2-2 inches each, for up 9-12 in total. If they need to go beyond that, the store can order extra fabric and add panels.

  36. Wow – you look stunning and that dress is amazing.
    I’ve always been really supportive of brides of all sizes enjoying their wedding day and wearing whatever they want without going on some mad dash to lose a bunch of weight just to impress people at their wedding. At the same time, it can be hard to look at traditional magazines and feel good about myself, even though I have no desire to lose weight in real life (I’m a health size 8-10 at 5’7″). There’s this enormous pressure put on women to fit the stereotypical image of some young, blushing, ethereal, skinny, Caucasian bride in white (which is not a color that flatters everyone). It’s great to see someone buck tradition and come out looking so obviously fabulous. It just shows that if you carry yourself with dignity and self-love, you’ll look amazing at any size, and that the standards that magazines set up for women are ridiculous.

  37. This is a great article! You look absolutely stunning and you are totally rocking that red! Personally, I did actually end up buying a dress off the rack at a bridal store (75% off y’all!) even though I wasn’t planning to. I walked in there planning on trying maybe two things to make my mom happy and ended up loving what the saleswoman suggested. She totally pulled my dream dress out of my brain without me even knowing it! Plus she was also a generously curved woman so I knew that she knew what would work 🙂 Although to be honest I could be a size two and still feel completely awkward just chilling my my underroos with a stranger haha

  38. I have been dress shopping twice. Both times have not been easy for me. I have chronic pain issues so I gain and lose weight all the time,I also have social anxiety issues. Im 5’1 260 lbs. Since 99% of the time I’m in pjs or sweats I have no idea what size street clothes I wear. My first experience was.at Davids Bridal. It was horrible, the girl acted pissed off because it took me so long to get in and out of dresses, every dress I did manage to get on I didn’t feel good in yet she pushed for the sale.All the.stress triggered one of migraines so I just gave up. Second time was at alfred Angelo. It was a little bit better but the girl kept asking if I was going to wear sleeves or a jacket to cover up all my bruises. ( I have IVs alot so I have constant bruises) Also my fiancee and I are paying for our wedding ourselves and it has been dificult to find a.dress in size 28 that doesn’t make me look frumpy or thats in our price range.

  39. On the issue of being asked by your dress consultant if you are planning to gain or loose weight- My daugher is dancer/model slim and was asked the same question. I am sure there are a lot of snide dress consultants out there but this is an important question for determining the dress size to order. I think you made the best choice by going with a seemstress, you definitely wound up with an incredeble dress and you look so beautiful and happy.

  40. I work at a plus size ONLY bridal salon. I love my job, I love helping brides, I love how exciting it is when I put them in a dress that is TOO BIG, instead of saying “just imagine how it will fit!” and holding it up to them (which I did at my previous employer). I think what sets us apart is my boss orders NORMAL dresses in plus sizes, she doesn’t order “fat girl dresses”.

      • Just outside of Detroit. There are about 7 plus size shops on the US. Where are you from? I can guide you to one close to you if your not close to Detroit.

  41. This article is great! I’m a fat person and getting married this fall. I’m okay with how I look and I wish some people would just let me be about it. Thank you for writing this

  42. So maybe I take it too much to heart to consider plus size and petite “not mainstream.” I’m hardly mainstream, in fact how many times do dresses come in long lengths? Much less common than finding petite or plus sized clothing. And for goodness sakes I can’t even find a bra. Band size 28, cup size…F or G? Try fitting that into a mainstream dress.

    • What exactly is your point in posting on this article telling us that plus sized is more mainstream than whatever you are? If you’re not plus sized why are you even reading the article? That’s like going onto a dwarf site and saying “oh you think YOU have it hard…?” What is the endgame in that?

  43. I’m 20kg overweight. I heard some comments, though none from vendors. Because I’m small, the dresses on the bridal shops usually fit (though much too long in size) so no difficulties there.
    My husband is 60kg overweight and quite tall. He had a lot of trouble finding a suit to get wed in and payed much more than he would have for the same suit in regular size. However, not one comment was made on if he planned to lose weight.
    How’s that for a sexist society?

  44. I just want to say you look absolutely gorgeous! I just love love that dress on you!!! I hope I can look half as beautiful as you as there is only half as much of me…

  45. Love your post! I believe loving your body, no matter what size or shape, is the most important part. I am getting hitched in 2 weeks. I found a dress I love after trying on 3. I am a bit muscular just by nature (I lift a lot of heavy stuff working as a baker), and was a bit embarrassed of my muscular shoulder, back, and arms. They didn’t seem to work well with wedding gown. But everyday lately, I keep reminding myself that this is who I am. I don’t want to be dainty just to look like someone else. My fiancé loves me, not a dainty me.

  46. That really is the best way to be, just be yourself ! Regardless of what size or shape anyone is, life is about being true to yourself, what ever that truth may be… it’s not about popping yourself into the pretzel machine of life and contorting yourself into a version you think is more acceptable to others. Grab that Wedding by the Horns and wear the dress of your dreams, regardless of what size it was ordered / made to!

  47. Thank you, been dealing with this myself. Most days I love my body more now than I did when I was skinny (it was hard I went from size 1-3 to floating in the 8-13 range) I know logically I’m not unhealthy (I am actually much healthier now, I’m in reasonable athletic shape, I eat healthy, even if I indulge a little, I drink much less), I know I am happy with me, I know my fiance (there’s that wierd word again) loves my curves and soft places. But I have still been getting a lot of presure about loosing weight for the wedding, family mostly who I think have had a much harder time with the changes in me.
    I got my corset that i ordered for my dress in the mail last week, Eddie helped me try it on and the look on his face was all i needed.
    This week though, especially with all the other stress I have right now I needed to hear again that it’s okay to no loose the muffin top and mommy jiggle before the big day.

  48. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m a plus sized bride to be, and while i was planning to loose a little bit of weight, I know I probably wont have a chance. By the time my wedding rolls around next year in October, I’ll have a 10 month old. I’ll be lucky to shift any babyweight! Thank you for putting it in perspective for me. If people wont love me as I am, I don’t want them at my special day. Also, your dress is absolutely gorgeous.

  49. Thank you for posting this! I’m getting married next weekend, so I’m a little late to this party BUT it was super relatable. One of my in-laws is getting married this fall as well and I remember LAST thanksgiving, she was standing there with plate with perfectly exacted portions and denying desserts in preparation for her wedding day the following year – meanwhile I’m doing Thanksgiving the way it should be done. That was the first moment I felt the pressure. Since then, I’ve sort of stumbled down the path of avoidance of mainstream anything. Got a dress made that fits my plus size and under 5 foot body perfectly! It has been so hard coping with the pressure and anxiety of the people around me who are more mainstream. I’m somewhere in the middle where we have some more traditional things but without most of the rules of today. But reading your post was so affirming in this week leading up – to quash my anxieties about worrying what people think about my unconventional ways. So thank you!!

  50. Great attitude! I was engaged 11 years ago, then a size 16, and my dad bought me a dress that I simply LOVED from a David’s in Dallas, where I will say that the saleswoman was also a bigger gal and was most helpful. In fact, we didn’t buy the first day I tried on, but made sure she was working when we went back so that she would get the sale. Well, that wedding never happened, but I loved the dress so much, and the experience of my dad taking me shopping for it was so special, I kept it in the back of my closet for “someday,” believing in my heart of hearts that it IS the dress I was meant to get married in, the dress my daddy bought me.

    So now I’m engaged again, and wear an 18 to a 20. I took the dress to David’s (in Topeka, KS) to see if they could alter it to make it fit, and was open to shopping their big sale if they couldn’t. From the moment they unzipped my dress bag, my own dress took my breath away and was more beautiful than I had remembered! I REALLY hoped they could work some magic. I tried it on, and I shit you not, the top of the zipper had an 8 inch gap. But their alterations team are truly miracle workers. With the addition of a corset back and letting out the side seams (the dress had previously had no alterations, so there was plenty of seam allowance to do this), my dress not only fits me perfectly, it looks even more beautiful than it did off the rack, which I didn’t think was possible, and you would never know that it was altered. It is truly the most gorgeous garment I’ve ever put on. I can’t wait for my fiance to see me in all my curvy glory in it!!

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