8 body-positive tips for plus size brides

Guest post by Golda Poretsky, HHC

8 body-positive tips for plus size brides

Just a few short months ago I got married to my longtime honey. Our wedding was fun, special, and beautiful and I actually got to enjoy it. However, weddings (and preparing for weddings) can be a time of lots of stress and pressure, especially when you're plus-sized.

Being plus-sized (or fat — I like the word fat) can add an extra layer of pressure onto the normally stressful stuff of life. Anyone who's ever been on a job interview while fat, seen a doctor while fat, purchased clothing while fat, navigated theatre seating while fat, etc… knows that the stress of dealing with other people's expectations of you because you're fat can make a tough experience overwhelming.

But let's lay all of that stuff out on the line right here and now. I want to give you my body-positive plus size bride advice. These eight tips will save you tons of stress and help to make your special day actually special instead of stressful…

1. You do not have to lose weight

Say it with me three times, “I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding.”

You really, really don't.

There are a gazillion reasons not to lose weight intentionally (for 25 really good ones, check this out), but one of the biggies is that it will increase your stress and agitation (and possibly, the cost of dress alterations) leading up to your wedding. You don't have to change yourself to meet some expectation of what a bride should look like. You are going to be the bride, so why not just be you in your current, wonderful body?

2. Practice enjoying being the center of attention

When you first get engaged, things can feel very weird. All of a sudden, random acquaintances are yelling, “Let me see the ring!” and doling out advice about what your wedding colors should be and where you should go on your honeymoon. People who seemingly had little interest in you suddenly want to know details about a wedding that you hadn't even thought about. Closer friends and family are excited for you too and may already be thinking about your engagement party, shower, and bachelorette party. (Not that you have to do any of that, but you may feel pressure to do all of it.)

So here's what I recommend: Enjoy it. Let people make a big deal over you. Soak it up. Because when you go with it, it's really quite fun. And honestly, it's good practice for being the center of attention on your wedding day. (But we'll get to that later.)

3. Try David's Bridal

Unless you're lucky enough to live near a plus size bridal boutique, I really recommend David's Bridal. In regular clothes, I'm a 24/26 on top, and I was able to try dress after dress during my appointment. I experienced no body shaming at all, and I was surrounded by lots of other plus-sized brides. I walked away with a dress that I could actually afford that looked great on me.

4. Get a wedding mentor

When I first got engaged, I made the mistake of mentioning wedding planning on my Facebook page. I say “mistake” because, for me, it felt overwhelming to get a gazillion different opinions on decisions I was struggling with. I mentioned this overwhelm to my younger sister, who had gotten married the year before. She told me she learned early on to never post about her wedding planning on facebook.

Instead, I started to use her as a sort of wedding mentor. I would ask her everything from how many thank you notes she ordered to what to do about undergarments to how many bouquets to order. She was invaluable, and she allowed me to ask her “dumb” questions without feeling too dumb. I really recommend finding a wedding mentor — someone close to you who was recently married and won't mind fielding your questions.

If you don't have anyone like this available, consider a small Facebook group who might give you good advice. I really like the folks in the Wide Bride group on Facebook.

My awesome fat cake topper!
My awesome fat cake topper!

5. Splurge on stuff you care about

I mostly didn't sweat a lot of the details, which is one of the reasons why I picked a catering hall venue that took care of the food, the set up, the cake etc. But for some reason I really wanted a cake topper with a fat couple on it. I looked online and found nothing I liked. Then, one day, I was scrolling through the Wide Bride group on facebook and one of its members posted a picture of a cake topper that she made out of clay. I LOVED it, so I messaged her and paid her to make one for me.

There was a part of me that thought this was so silly. The florist we used included flowers to decorate the cake. I could have just gone with that. But I wanted that darn cake topper, so I splurged. It's now on a bookshelf in our living room and it makes me happy every time I see it. In the end, the little splurge was so worth it.

6. Looking fat in your wedding pictures is no biggie

I look totally fat in my pictures!

Looking fat in your wedding pictures is no biggie

And, like, so what? I'm fat in my pictures. I look exactly like myself, just in a mildly poofy dress and better makeup and hair. I'm so glad I didn't starve myself just to look a little thinner in my pictures.

If you need to get okay with being fat in photographs, my biggest recommedation is to take more photos!

7. Set boundaries

Getting married is like an adventure in boundary-setting. You may need to set boundaries with friends, relatives, vendors, etc. about your weight, your time, and a gazillion other things.

It's really okay to say to people in your life that they can't talk about your weight. It's really okay to say to your mother-in-law-to-be, for example, that you're not losing weight for the wedding and that you don't want to discuss it with her. It's really okay to tell your bridal gown vendor that you want your gown to be comfortable and that you need her to order a size bigger (if possible) rather than smaller, just in case. It's okay to tell your make-up person, if you have one, that you don't need your double chin contoured (unless you want to). All of it is really okay.

8. Relinquish control and go with the flow

Or rather, nothing is ever perfect, but it can be great!

Stuff is going to go wrong at your wedding. People who are supposed to be early will be late. The cake might sag. You might pop a button. You might spill wine on your dress. But, you know what will also happen? You're going to have fun. You're going to see a few people you love or many people you love. You're going to marry the person you're really excited to marry. Focus on the good. Focus on enjoying yourself. During the preparation process and at the wedding, focus on fun and you will have fun no matter what.

Plus-sized brides: What are you favorite body-positive tips?

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Comments on 8 body-positive tips for plus size brides

  1. Thank you for this! Wonderful advice for everyone, not just the bigger girls. 🙂

  2. omg, I MUST know how that fat cake topper came to be. Did you make it yourself? If not, where’d you buy it?

  3. Congratulations! You are beaming and beautiful! I envy your photo confidence. I never let people take my picture because I’m so overwhelmed by the idea of not looking my best. When I say that, people usually respond, “But you look so [insert positive description here] on [insert social media where pics are posted]!” And I have to admit to them that the one image they see is actually one of 50 that were taken. So, [LIGHTBULB!] You are so right! Take MORE pictures! Fantastic advice, lady!

    • I spent a good ten years of my life hiding from the camera. Therefore I became more uncomfortable in front of the camera, and looked worse in the candid shots that were taken of me! I used the “more pictures” method described here, but I started out taking lots of selfies. That allowed me to get comfortable in front of the camera by myself before opening myself up for other people to take pictures of me. It is so liberataing to not be hiding from the camera anymore!

      • Same here. I’ve spent many years hiding from cameras, and now I’m incredibly awkward around them…which is not awesome when you’re about to get married, and you actually want to have decent wedding pictures of yourself. We did an engagement shoot, and I liked the pictures well enough, but I was still anxious. Our amazing wedding photographer recently suggested doing a “lifestyle shoot” a couple of months before the wedding, and taking pictures in a lot of places that we are going to take pictures on our wedding day. So, for example, we are getting ready for the wedding at home, so we’ll take some pictures around our house; and we’re doing our formal shots in a park near the house, so we are going to walk over there and take some pictures.

        I am really hoping this helps me get more comfortable. Practice makes…not terrible?

  4. Thank you for the good advice/pep talking here! There was a lot that this fat bride needed to hear.
    I did want to say, I had a terrible experience with sizing at David’s Bridal as a fat maid of honor a few years back and wanted to give a friendly word of advice.

    I tried on multiple sample skirts and tops in person for the elegant monstrosity my friend’s mom picked out and in the store they all fit fine. The top was a little loose and the skirt was even looser but I like to be comfortable so NDB and I ordered both the separates in a size 24 in the required color/fabric. It never occurred to me that multiple women trying the samples on again and again might have stretched them.
    Fast forward 2 months to when I receive the pieces. The top is at least 2 sizes too small while still being labeled a 24. I spent a frantic few weeks and much money having gathers removed from the skirt so the tailor could build an extra back panel for the top that basically acted as a corset the entire day.

    My TL;DR is: order really early and/or order a size up from David’s Bridal.

  5. Thank you, I just retried my dress on and it didn’t zip….so I cried. A lot. I’m going to try really hard to not stress on this, thank you.

    • It will be okay. If you can afford it, go to a seamstress. Mine was able to do wonders.

    • This might be the perfect time to rip out that zipper and add a corset styled closure with a ribbon/lace or go crazy with beads and maybe try those weird curtain rope and tassels (not going to lie, I totally used one of those for a costume and it actually worked and didn’t look like what it was). A good Seamstress should have many more ideas as well (probably- well, definitely better ones than mine. You got this 🙂

  6. Just like the first poster said this is great advice for *everyone* and has really given me a lot to think about (positively) with regards to my own confidence, to having photos taken and being the centre of attention. Thanks a lot, really well written xxx

  7. This is the most helpful amazing articles ever! it is so easy to get lost in all of the stupid Body type BULLSHIT! you go girl you are seriously stunningly beautiful and I feel lucky to have been able to read your awesome article!

  8. Love your advice!
    I am not exactly a “fat bride” in the States, but where I am originally from, they call me chubby with a size 12. I already had 3 people from over there ask me, if I will lose weight for my wedding… how rude! People, stop it!
    My reasons for not losing weight: I don’t want to look at pictures of my wedding and be depressed because I couldn’t hold that weight. Or even worse, have rude people comment on them and say “oh, someone got the marriage fat!”.
    And most of all, I want to be me! I was never size zero, so why should I be that for one day?! Also for my fiancé’s sake, I want to be a happy me and not a food deprived crappy bitch!

  9. Great advice. Getting married in about 6 weeks time & I am definitely a curvey bride. I am not wearing a traditional wedding dress either. It’s going to show off my fabulous chest and my arms… We all deserve to have a fantastic day and feel special. Bring it on, so what if I don’t look like petite princess of the traditional wedding magazines. I will look like me and that’s all that matters.


  11. “It’s really okay to say to people in your life that they can’t talk about your weight.”

    I’m not even getting married, I just want to figure out how to do this! My mom always wants to talk about it. Every time I visit, she tells me how worried she is about my size. If I try and say anything, she says its not about how I look, it’s about my health, she’s just worried about me, etc.

    I have tried explaining that these conversations upset me (and that being upset doesn’t make me want to eat veggies or run around!). I’ve said that I’m trying to look after my mental and emotional health, trying to love myself more, fix my f-ed up self-esteem. And none of it seems to go through. Various versions of ‘when you say these things it hurts me’ have zero effect. It really feels like she doesn’t care, but I know she does – she just thinks the long-term gain is worth the short-term pain, or whatever.

    Suffice to say I disagree. What do I do? Just walk out the room when she starts saying this stuff? I dread to think how much worse it’ll get if I do get married…

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