We’re no stranger to the topic of dress shopping on this blog. But I think it’s important to showcase MULTIPLE views on how to go dress shopping for your wedding (or like me, you could opt to not dress shop at all, and just have your mother in law make your dress – cheap AND easy). Because it really is a difference experience for different people and I can tell you with 100% confidence that not everyone’s experience is the way the portray it on TV. I can also tell you that not every one looks forward to this part of wedding planning – some might even dread it. AND THAT’S OK. You know are only rule here: there are no rules.
So we have Becca back today, to talk about HER experience with dress shopping, with an average woman’s body type. Take it away Becca!
Wedding Dress Shopping for the Normal, Everyday Woman | By: Becca
Alright, readers, it is time to get REAL. I was not one of those brides-to-be who was excited about dress shopping. Even though this was the aspect most exciting for many of my friends (and my mother and sister/MOH, who are devoted Say Yes to the Dress viewers), I had a lot of trouble finding enthusiasm for the idea of the wedding dress. Why? Because I have a secret.
Are you ready? I am shaped like an actual normal woman.
In fact, I fall just about where the average American woman does for weight – although I’m considerably shorter than average, just to make this endeavor even more fun! I have boobs. I have a belly, mostly thanks to the fact that D.C. has an incredible craft beer scene. But honestly, I look nothing like the tall, slender models who showcase wedding dresses on websites, magazines, and Pinterest. It seemed impossible that there would be a dress out there for my body.
Don’t worry – this blog post has a happy ending! It turns out, bridal dress shopping is a little weird for everyone regardless of body type but it can feel especially odd if your body happens to not be sample size. I have a few tips to share for dress shopping, particularly for our curvier brides. Full disclosure: I did my dress shopping in my hometown of Houston, TX, so my family could be involved, so please leave your favorite dress shops in the comments!
- Be honest with your consultant. Your consultant is your friend – they want you to look great and feel great so you will find your dress and they will make a sale. When you book your appointment, don’t be afraid to share your size/body type in advance. Both consultants I worked with (I visited two stores total) mentioned how helpful it can be knowing a bride’s shape in advance. The more information they are working with in terms of the fit you are looking for, the better! If you are considering shopping at a consignment or boutique store, this can be especially important as they may not have the range of options that your David’s Bridal might have.
- Wedding dress sizing is weird. Do NOT worry about the number on the tag. You know how you might wear different size jeans based on the store you shop with? It is a thousand times worse with wedding gowns. Every store/designer/line has different sizing and it may be wildly different from your street size. Trust your consultant – what matters is how it looks on you, not what the listed size is. Also, it’s likely you won’t be trying on your dress in your size. Many boutiques and stores only keep a handful of sample sizes to try on – your consultant will use clips and other tricks to show you how the dress you order will look. Again, calling ahead and finding out what options they have in your size can save you some headache in advance.
- Be open-minded. As a curvier body type, I was really concerned that anything outside of a very plain, simple dress would add bulk and draw unwanted attention to certain parts of my body. It turns out wedding dresses are actually built and conceived to make you look great – which means you may find the best cut or style simply by trying on something outside of your comfort zone. Experiment with different silhouettes and styles – even if you think you’ll hate it. Again, trust your consultant – they have seen these dresses on every body type imaginable and they know what’s going to work.
- Alterations are your friend. There is a good chance, regardless of your body type, that you will need to make alterations to your dress (unless you are getting a custom gown, which in that case, go on, girl.) Be sure to factor in adjustments for what the dress will look will be after alterations are done.
- Bring your cheerleaders. Even the most confident gals can be overwhelmed wedding dress shopping. Be sure to bring along your self-esteem squad. You want a team with you who will be honest and supportive but who will also recognize when you look HOT.
Finally, even if you were like me – totally DREADING the idea and convinced you wouldn’t find a thing – there is a hope. A couple great consultants, a few hours of trial and error, and an awesome cheering section can result in a pretty fun experience. (Oh, and readers, I did find THE dress!)