Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

June 12, 2008

Congratulations to the Plus-Size Brides!

Filed under: What Should I Wear?,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 1:53 pm

Francesca has received not one, not two, but three cries for help from brides-to-be! There must be something in the air! Francesca knows what it is, too: love, and the scarcity of plus-size wedding gowns in traditional bridal boutiques. But she comes to the rescue! Here is the first of the letters, from an internet friend in Phoenix, Arizona:

Dear Francesca,

I recently got engaged and have an issue I am hoping you can help with. We are planning a wedding for Summer ’09 and I started looking at gowns. We are on a budget, and I am trying to spend less than $500. At the same time, I really want to feel like a princess and am drawn to ball gown style dresses- my price and ball gown style do not seem exactly compatible.

However, my question is this. There are some great on-line retailers out there, but I found all my flattering and super-fantastic clothes through trying them on. A lot of the on-line retailers do not allow returns. How do I find a super-fantastic wedding gown in my budget when there are so few opportunities for a woman of size to try them on? I know a few things to avoid from my everyday clothes- like halters do not work for me- but I really feel like it is hard to make such an expensive commitment without knowing for sure.

My measurements are 46-40-48, I’m 5’6″ with a small bust, large back and shoulders – but I’m not afraid of sleeveless.

Thank you!

Dear Internet Friend in Sunny Phoenix,

Francesca’s heartiest congratulations on your engagement!

Indeed, the inability to return items is a big problem when it comes to pricier items such as satin-and-lace wedding dresses. It is Francesca’s only bone to pick with Sydney’s Closet, who otherwise have so many beautiful gowns for the big day!

It is for this reason that God created Plus Size Bridal, and other vendors who do allow returns on wedding gowns –though usually with restrictions. It means that one can try different sizes and styles with little financial risk, as long as one is careful to return unused dresses within the return period and to follow all the instructions carefully.

Here are two princess-making, ball gown-style, halterless dreses for under $500, available in your size (in this case, a 20W) at Plus Size Bridal:

Style #1783W, with the pretty band which will “feminize” the bust area and may help balance the shoulders – one must try it on to find out! The detailing is available in different colors, including “same color as the dress.” (See also style #1516W, which, at $505, is only a smidgen past your budget.)

Style #1963, with the pick-up skirt which is so in style right now:

More wedding questions and dresses to come tomorrow!



  1. I love Plus Size Bridal! I ordered my dress from them the summer before last, and had a great experience. I only paid about $300, and it was PERFECT for our garden wedding in Cape Cod. Great site, great dresses!

    Comment by Max — June 12, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  2. My advice: go to a theatrical costumer or other excellent seamstress and have her/him make it for you. I had a fabulous lady do mine, which required a bunch of boning and a custom removable train thingy, and it was something like $300. Granted, YMMV, but think how great it’ll be to get exactly what you want and not worry about the online stuff.

    Comment by Susannah — June 12, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  3. Also, when budgeting, don’t forget to allow for things like the floofy crinoline thingies that go under some ball gown type dressed to help them keep their shape! Between that and hosiery and bras and other under-type things, and also if you add on accessories like gloves or veils, it adds up rather quickly. Best of luck finding your perfect dress, and I wish you a very happy future!

    Comment by Elaine — June 12, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  4. Just so you know…the reason most Bridal dress retailers don’t allow returns is this-there are some unscrupulous brides out there (not your fabulous readers, they are of course, too superfantastic to stoop so low!) who will happily order a dress, wear it, then return it. Or worse, wear it, ‘damage’ it, then return it for a full refund. Trust me on this, it’s why I sold my wedding dress business.

    Comment by Madame Suggia — June 12, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  5. Also, you might want to budget tailoring. Sometimes you fall in love with an almost-just-right dress & having it tailored magically turns it into the perfect dress.

    I am seriously considering having mine custom made.

    Comment by Miss Laura Mars — June 12, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  6. Don’t forget the local stores either.

    I got my gown from Alfred Angelo for $250 out the door (dress & crinoline. I did not need alternations). Every dress there can be ordered up to a 26 or 28 (I don’t recall which, it’s been two years since I bought mine). And they’ve got plenty of gowns under 500. (Plus, it seems every other month, they have a sale, I picked the dress and then waited for the sale.)

    Comment by Meg — June 12, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  7. First off, CONGRATS! Since you are on a budget, I know IGIGI offers some awesome gowns for under $300 in sizes 12-32 – you should check out their website, The wedding options are a little more sleek than the huge ball gown you are wishing for, but I think they’re are very beautiful. Didn’t get my wedding dress there (yet!) but I know all their other clothes are fabulous and great quality. Plus the prices give you room in the budget for tailoring and accessories.

    Customer service is really helpful and you can even return things!

    Best of luck on your big day!

    Comment by Kat — June 13, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  8. Can I just say that while it may not be exactly designer, I found my dream dress at David’s Bridal for something like $300. They’re always having the sales. I was able to try on a size 22 straight off the rack, and it wasn’t one of those weird wedding dress size dilemmas…I wear a size 22 dress if I’m buying work clothes at Lane Bryant! I ended up with a princessy number similar to this one, complete with the red trim and lace-up back, but minus the froofy layers…

    They don’t offer my exact style anymore. Guess it’s soooo 2 years ago.

    Comment by Hannah — June 15, 2008 @ 1:50 am

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