Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping, Amanda Swiger Photography

Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping | Swiger Photography

***Today’s blog post was written by one of our contributing Vendor Members, Amanda Swiger of Swiger Photography. Amanda is a Philadelphia based Wedding & Boudoir photographer who is passionate about her LGBTQ+ community and educating other photographers on how to be more inclusive***

Despite the fact that it was almost five years ago that I was shopping for a wedding gown, I remember the panic I felt in every dressing room like it was yesterday.  For those of us who have big bootys, bellies, broad shoulders, thick thighs, and every fruit shape you can imagine, finding your perfect wedding dress can be an overwhelming process of being told “no we can squeeze you into this” only to not be able to fit into the tiny sample size 6 most dress shops offer.  And I know it isn’t just me who has had panic attacks in dressing rooms or made apologizes to the staff of a bridal salon that “you’re so sorry, this just won’t fit me.” I have heard it from so many friends, brides of mine, and read it all over the internet and it breaks my heart that anyone would have anything but a joyful, happy experience when trying on wedding gowns!  

Well, there are definitely a few things you can do when starting the wedding dress shopping experience to help you avoid those dressing room fears and have the experience be exactly what you want it to be!  I have put together 4 of my top tips for finding the dress of your dreams without the panic + also have a list of designers and stores you should check out as they offer a wide variety of styles and sizes to fit any body type!  

Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping, Amanda Swiger Photography
Image by Swiger Photography

Dress Shopping Tip Number One: Ask questions when you call to make your appointment!  

When you call the store to make an appointment ask about the size ranges of gowns they have!  Wedding sizes are a bit different than street sizes and will run about 2 sizes smaller, so ask about what they carry in the range from your street size to two or three sizes larger.  Many stores will try and put you in small gowns and leave the back open so you can get an idea of the fit, but if you are especially interested in more fitted gowns, make sure they carry some in sizes close to what you are!  

Dress Shopping Tip Number Two: Try on as many different styles as you can!

This might sound counterproductive but I have found that many plus size or larger bodied folks get pushed toward particular styles because they are the most “flattering” which is the industries way of saying they make you look smaller.  And to hell with that! Wear what you want! You probably have never tried on any of these style gowns before so don’t get boxed into a particular style just because you have big boobs or wide hips or a small waist. Try on a bunch of different styles and fits and see what makes your eyes light up and you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself.  It might take more than one store or trip but there is a perfect dress for everyone, just don’t be afraid to try something different to find it!

Dress Shopping Tip Number Three: Breakup with your consult if they aren’t getting you

Consults, like anyone in the wedding industry, are there to help you make decisions and sell you on a dress.  They can make or break your appointment and more often than not, I have heard stories of consults making things worse or just being unkind.  Advocate for yourself and if you are someone who struggles with that, bring a friend or family member who will speak up if you consult isn’t doing their job.  And by their job, I mean doing anything that makes you feel less than the incredible person you are. And if need be, break up with that consultant and ask for another one!  They are there to help you, not make you feel bad, uncomfortable or say anything less than exuberant about how beautiful you are. And sadly, some folks just aren’t cut out for that job!  So be willing to ask for someone new or just head to a different shop, but know that about them being bad at their job, not any reflection on you.

Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping, Amanda Swiger Photography
Image by Swiger Photography

Dress Shopping Tip Number Four: Research what designers you like and who make inclusive sizes before you go shopping and find shops that sell those lines

There are many designers who will only create gowns for up to size 18, sometimes even 16, which is a size 14 or 12 in street clothes and there is nothing worse than falling in love with a dress you can’t have because the designer doesn’t make inclusive sizes.  Certain designers will make select dresses in larger sizes but not their entire collection, other designers will make their whole lines in inclusive sizes, others make separate lines for larger sizes. It totally varies per designer, so a little front-end research can help make things a little less stressful on shopping day!  Below I have compiled a list that while not exhaustive, might give you a place to start of designers that offer any of the above options!

Christina Wu Love  – I love her for their attention to details, color options, for being available up to a size 28

Mon Cheri Bridal – I love them for their more affordable price point (a lot of her dress are less than $2400!) gorgeous laces and wide selection!

Essense of Australia – I love that they offer up to size 32 standard and will customize to fit any size beyond that.  I am also in love with their vintage-inspired styles that have a nod to the past while still being oh so classic!

Julietta Collection by Mori Lee – If embellished lace or full skirts are your thing, you have to check out this gorgeous collection of plus size wedding gowns.  Many of their styles are under $2500 too!

Danielle Caprese – I love her for her pretty feminine designs that are full of lace and gorgeous trains.  Her entire line is available in size 2-32 but they are a bit pricey starting at $2700 and is exclusive to Kleinfelds

Allure Women – I love this line because of the price point and the options!  All dresses are between $600 and $2400 with most of their popular designs being around $1400!

Pnina Tonai – If you want a show-stopping gown with lots of bling and unique details, the Pnina is your girl.  Made famous by Say Yes To The Dress, this designer is also exclusive to Kleinfeld’s and all of her gowns are available in size 2 to 32!

Roz La Kelin – I just recently was introduced to this incredible designer and if you are looking for something super unique but still bridal, you have to check them out!  Can I just say that the Prima Dress had me totally swooning!

Justin Alexander – His latest show featured 6 (out of 15) dresses that were designed exclusively for sizes 18-32 and they are gorgeous!

Plus Size Wedding Dress Shops

The Curvy Bride – Manalapan Township, New Jersey   Phone: (732) 536-6100
Curvaceous Couture – Columbia, Maryland.  Phone: (410) 740-7052
Ivory Bridal – Atlanta, Georgia.  Phone: (470) 343-2951
Gown Boutique of Charlestown – Charlestown, South Carolina.  Phone: (843) 856-2682
All Brides Beautiful – Hudson, Ohio.  Phone: (330) 655-1339
Olivia’s Bridal House – Houston, Texas.  Phone: (281) 741-0249
Della Curva – Tarzana, California.  Phone: (818) 344-1444
Sparkle Bridal – Sacramento, California.  Phone: (916) 538-6615
Bombshell Bridal – St Clair Shores, Michigan  Phone: (586) 294-7280

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