While there’s still a tradition among brides to embark on a punishing pre-wedding diet to ‘look their best’ on the big day, many others are taking a more realistic view and are choosing to get married looking like they do on every other day of the year. I can only approve: I think it makes a certain sense to make a commitment to your life partner in your more natural state, whether others may consider that to be ‘overweight’ or not.
If you are naturally on the bigger side, this is bound to affect your decision on dress-style. Some choices are obvious: don’t wear a shorter skirt if you hate your ankles, for example. But there are loads of other tricks to slimming the figure that can be achieved with smart choices.
Follow the jump to see our guidelines for more curvy brides!
A major challenge for anyone with an all-round fuller figure is creating contrast, with the traditional aim being to create an ‘hour glass’ figure. Corsets are a good way to achieve this and can work absolute wonders for larger ladies, because they enhance curves in a very flattering way, pulling in the waist and raising the bust.
When I interviewed corsetiere extraordinnaire Velda Lauder, she told me in no uncertain terms that it’s her larger clients that benefit the most from corsetry, as the have more to work with, resulting in more dramatic curves. Her own bridal corsets are incredible, but there are plenty of other suppliers to choose from. Check out Curve Couture for a great service in lavish bespoke corsetry or Fairygothmother for a dizzying off-the-peg selection. Alternatively, many dedicated bridal designers include corsetry in their gowns.
If the very idea of a corset makes you feel uncomfortable — either because you don’t like the sensation of being ‘nipped in’ or because you prefer are more muted look and feel the effect is too ‘full on’ for your personality — then there are loads of designers who specialise in designing for the non-skinny bride. Styles that are often said to be flattering to the fuller figure include:
• A-Line dresses (see left), which are close-fitting at the shoulders and gently flare away from the bodice to create a long, flowing line. This style of dress skims curves rather than clinging to them, so is great if you want to avoid accentuating bulges.
• Wrap-style dresses can be very flattering: they gather at the side and drape across the body (usually from under the bust line) and slim the flgure by drawing the eye up and down rather than horizontally across the body.
• If you hate your arms, you’ll already be well aware of the traumas posed by eveningwear, particularly with the current trend for daring strapless numbers, which is even more pronounced in bridalwear. However, you only need to look at our no more strapless gallery to see that there are plenty of stunning dresses to choose from that don’t involve bare arms.
On the plus size…
Finally, if you’re outside the tradionally-stocked size 16 and below, finding a stockist can be a bit of a pain. But there are plenty of retailers and designers specialised in plus-sized bridalwear design. Here’s just a small selection based in the UK:
Stockists of plus-sized bridalwear
Big Dreams – Northampton based bridal studio offering wedding dresses in size 18-34. Call to book a private consultation.
Big Beautiful Brides – Well-stocked online store (with friendly chat forum) selling dresses from sizes 16 to 32 alongside plus size accessories and plenty of shoes, veils, bags, tiaras and more. Their store and showroom is in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset.
Evans Bridal – from the high street specialist, a small and affordable collection of fun and flattering bridalwear including prom dresses and separates. Prices range from £120 to £150.
Heavenly Bodies Bridal – London based plus-sized bridalwear stockist with over 100 dresses available online.
Amoré Plus – Bridalwear shop offering off-the-peg and bespoke plus-sized bridalwear in Rugby, Warwickshire.
Designers with plus-sized ranges
Alfred Angelo – stylish and contemporary bridal design with many styles available up to size 22
Bara Luxe – collection of stylish and fashionable plus-sized wedding dresses.
Charles & Patricia Lester – couture plus-size bridal collection with a concession at Harrods.
Disney Bridal – the fairytale dress specialist caters to bigger brides, too! Ideal for those looking for a flattering ‘Princess’ style.
Sacha James – petite to plus sized wedding dresses in top quality fabrics.