5 tips for plus size wedding dress shopping

Loving your curves and your wedding dress For today's Wedding Wednesday we have a post about the all important wedding dress, with a twist, and the clue is in the title. The wedding industry often alienates on a variety of different levels and size is most definitely one of them. I don't recall seeing any curvier models in the wedding magazines and that's why I am really pleased to welcome Kemi, a plus size wedding dress designer, to the pages of BelleNoirBride

Over to you Kemi.

When it comes to finding the wedding dress of your dreams it can be stressful for the best of brides and whilst shopping is always fun, plus size bridal shopping can often be quite a daunting task – I know from experience!

So as a plus size designer here are my top tips on finding your perfect wedding dress.

1. Set a budget. I have put this first as it is so important to keep to budget and look for various options within your bracket. When visiting shops, boutiques and designers inform them of your budget early on so that they can best advise you, this saves time and ensures that you don’t fall in love with a dress that you can't afford.

2. Know your silhouette. The design that best flatters you will depend on your silhouette and shape. Most designers and boutiques will offer a style assessment service. If at all possible try not to get distracted by current trends but rather focus on shapes and styles that are flattering to you. The design is the foundation, so take your time and get it right, after that its easy to work on the finishing and details. Try new styles but not too many dresses! Some styles that you may not have considered may turn out to be flattering, but if you try on lots of dresses in the same style it will just leave you overwhelmed. My advice is to pick three different styles and try 3 dresses per style; anything more will be confusing rather than helpful.

3. Time is of the essence. Especially if you want a bespoke dress as it will take approximately 6-8 months to design and create, for off the peg dresses purchased from a boutique you need to leave 3-6 months although they can often accommodate you in shorter time if need be. Ideally start shopping at least 9 months in advance and don't forget to check out the sample sales.

4. Don’t change. Sometimes ladies tell me they love a dress but just want to lose some weight for the day, I never recommend this. Firstly your husband proposed to you as you are now so why change just for a day? Secondly yo-yo diets are not good for your health and you are more likely to end up heavier than you started. If you choose to make healthy lifestyle changes that is very different, just remember that your dress is either made to your measurements or altered, either way if your weight is fluctuating it will have an impact on your dress.

5. Don't panic if you don't find the one. Not every bride is going to have a moment when she puts on 'the one' and falls into a flood of tears, it may happen for you it might not, for me the moment didn't come when I chose my dress or even tried it on for the first time but it happened as I walked down the aisle and saw the look in my husband’s eyes. Also once you have decided on your dress, stop looking, it only creates confusion and wastes time.

Bespoke or Retail? There are advantages to both, especially for plus size brides. Bespoke will allow you to spend time with the designer creating your ultimate a gown and of course you are guaranteed a truly unique look from head to toe. Likewise retail is an option and a good boutique will also be able to offer you advice, just make sure you do your research and look for a shop that stocks plus size dresses.

When I was getting married I found that there were limited choices for plus size boutiques and I even had some unpleasant experiences.  However, I am glad to see that there is an ever-growing number of plus size bridal outlets emerging so make sure you look out for them. Whichever route you take, your wedding dress is inevitably going to be a big part of the day (and those wedding pictures!) so take the time to get it right, you will only wear it once but remember it forever.

Thanks so much for such insightful advice Kemi. My favourite bit, 'don't change'! Check out Kemi Boutique online and you can also get in touch with her on 07830 236 223.