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Plus-Size Brides, Part III | Manolo for the Big Girl

Plus-Size Brides, Part III

Dear Francesca,

I’m getting married and need to find a wedding dress. I am a 22 on top, 24 on the bottom in regular off-the-rack clothes, which I assume means I could potentially be anything from a 26 to a 32 in bridal sizes. I’m really not looking to spend much more than $600. I am 5’8″ and pear shaped.

The one dress I’ve really liked so far is this one from Kiyonna:


but my mom says the pattern of the lace is embiggening and the back is not interesting enough (she has a point there).

Just looking at dresses is freaking me out–everything looks so generic, plus I don’t think any of it will fit! Also, I’m nervous the ladies at bridal boutiques will be mean to me because I’m not a sample size. If you have ANY guidance at all I’d take it–where to look, how to make the experience less scary. Even if it’s just, “Chill out, even in an ugly dress all brides are beautiful.” :-)

Thank you,


Dearest Allison,

Before going on to the dresses, Francesca first wishes to say:

Chill out! Even in an ugly dress all brides are beautiful.

The most important thing is that you are beautiful to yourself. And the second most important thing is that you are beautiful to your groom. Presumably, he finds you quite attractive, since he wishes to share bathroom counter space with you for the rest of his life.

So you see, you are doing fine.

Second, do not worry about the ladies at the boutiques. If they are at all experienced, they will know from looking at you whether they have something in your size. If they do not, then they will say “We’re sorry, we don’t carry plus-sizes; we wish we could help you.” If they do not have anything in your size, it is still in their best interest to be polite to everyone who walks through their door. And if they do have anything in your size, it especially behooves them to be polite. It does not hurt to ask. Them saying “we’re sorry, we can’t help you” is not the same as being mean, and if many, many plus-size brides are forced to walk away from the store empty-handed, perhaps they will consider catering to the plus-size market. Because, you know, Big Girls are attractive to men and do get married. 

(If any sales person should be mean to you, whether you are a bride or not, definitely write a letter of complaint to the manager! You are a person and your voice must be heard!)

Anyhow. To the dresses. Francesca must be honest, she almost despaired of finding a dress similar to the Kiyonna model you provided. You seem to have a penchant for lace and vintage styles, and unless one wishes to have a renaissance-inspired dress custom-made, it is difficult to find the vintage styles in plus-sizes.

But Allison is in luck, because while researching one of the two previous questions, she found these two beautiful dresses at Plus Size Bridal, which also meet your budget requirement!

Style 1755, available with long sleeves,

or (Francesca’s preference) short sleeves,

(and both look gorgeous from the back as well as the front).

If you can spend a little bit more than $600, you might also like Style #7409, which is adorned with crystals, beads and sequins both in front and back:


Francesca says: It is not difficult to find vendors of plus-size wedding dresses on the internet. Just use Google wisely, and always check return policies before ordering. Also, remember that quality may vary. This may matter to you, if you are spending much money. Or may not matter to you at all, if you see this as a dress you will wear only once. But be conscious of your choices, that is what Francesca says!

If you are ordering from Kiyonna Bridal (dress above, or a shorter version for $288) or Torrid Bridal (dresses for $140-220) please click through from the ads which appear on our site, on the right, for some savings.

Happy, happy wedding and marriage!


12 Responses to “Plus-Size Brides, Part III”

  1. sara June 13, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    As a recent plus-size bride (sz 26 on top, 28 on bottom in real life), I’ve got some tips:

    A lot of the designers that design specifically for plus-size do not inflate the sizes. I was worried about that as well, but my dress was a size 28.

    I ended up buying my dress from these guys: http://www.jaysbridal.com/
    I was trolling on the internet, figuring I’d have to buy one that way, and realized that Jay’s was right where I was living, which was tres convenient.

    I had my heart set on this dress: http://www.jaysbridal.net/store/Aurora-D-Paradiso-Style-5025-Wedding-Dress-Wedding-Dresses-pr-379.html (which I think may be similar to what you’re looking for.

    I’d been looking on the internet for months and when I went to Jay’s I not only found out that they carried that line I also found out that that line was manufactured only about 3 hours away. They did not have a sample of that dress in the store but my saleslady managed to convince her boss to buy a sample in a size 24, so at least I could try it on and hold it closed, etc.

    I ordered it and, instead of getting there in the normal 13-16 weeks was there in THREE. Since we were living in Florida but getting married in Wisconsin I had the store ship it to my parents and had it tailored up there. I got the larger size (28) and had it taken in on top – that’s probably what they’ll recommend you do as well.

    Good luck!!! I had a really positive experience so please know that it is possible, no matter what size you are.

  2. Charlotte June 13, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    I just wanted to say that when I was dress shopping, I found that all the boutiques here had at least a few dresses in decent sample sizes (22) and they were all nice enough even though I live someplace that has only a single lane bryant and hundreds of small size stores.

    I ended up going to NYC for my dress to RK Bridal (no affliation) and having a wonderful experience. They had racks of dresses in plus sample sizes so I didn’t have to hold a size 10 up to me and guess how it would look.

  3. Becky June 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    The Kiyonna dress is returnable, so you should order it and try it on before dismissing it. Also remember, it’s your wedding, not your mom’s, if you like it it doesn’t matter what she thinks!

  4. Sarah June 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Also, don’t forget that Lane Bryant has a bridal dept. Although they don’t have a lot of styles to choose from they do have a two piece that can be ordered in seperate sizes.

  5. Sunshinesare June 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned David’s Bridal as an option for both for the beautifully inexpensive and wide variety of sizes. Remember that you can always order your dress (rather than buy it off the rack) and I had a wonderful sales lady who was gracious to me and tried ever so hard to find a non foofy wedding dress for me. You can always alter it to make it your own if you find thier dresses too cookie-cutter.

  6. Karen June 13, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    I’m wedding dress shopping myself, and definitely encourage you to try the stores if you’re not entirely certain that something you found online is what you want. You can call ahead and ask if they have samples close to your size if you’re concerned about that. I’m a size 22 and was able to try on at least a few things in every store I tried, except for the consignment shops where it’s luck of the draw (and there the salespeople said they didn’t have that size because it is so popular right now!) Just keep in mind that if you’re trying on samples they’ll squeeze you into anything that they can. They got me into a 16, at least into it enough to get the idea of what it’d look like.

    I particularly encourage trying things on because you might be surprised at what you’ll like on you. One style that I thought I’d like made me look like an exploding mushroom. The one that I’ve fallen in love with isn’t at all what I expected to want. But when I put it on, the stars align! (It’s here: http://tiny.cc/g0bfP – I’m going to add shoulder straps and flowy, semitransparent sleeves. At $1000 it’s more than I wanted to pay, but who am I to question wedding dress fate?)

  7. Allison June 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    I’m the Allison who wrote the email–okay, you want to hear something crazy? I wrote that note to Francesca and Plumcake a couple of months ago, got a really nice note from Francesca, and went out looking. And the dress I wound up with is IDENTICAL to the first one in this entry. No kidding! So, excellent choice, Francesca!

    And thank you to everyone who commented on this post and the two before–I really hope other plus-sized brides find these entries, because there’s not a whole lot of advice out there other than “All plus-sized brides should wear A-line dresses! They’re slimming!” :-)

  8. pelican June 13, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    Several years ago, I went shopping for a bridal gown for a friend who’s a size 26 as her body double (I was a 12). Most shops had a few things in her size, but just about everything in mine. She and I are of very similar height, coloring, and build, but she is just much lusher than I am. Anyway, it helped her to be able to see things on someone and everything could be ordered in her size. She ended up with a dress she loved, although she got it a size larger at the saleswoman’s recommendation and it was tailored down to her- it fit like a glove and looked like it had been made just for her. And, it was super fun for both of us- we were very well treated everywhere we went, as it should be. Another possibility for people who live in small towns and don’t have access to a David’s …

  9. class-factotum June 13, 2008 at 11:40 pm #

    “I am a 22 on top, 24 on the bottom in regular off-the-rack clothes, which I assume means I could potentially be anything from a 26 to a 32 in bridal sizes.”

    If any market begs for vanity sizing, shouldn’t it be wedding dresses? Forcing someone to go up a few sizes for a wedding dress — that’s just wrong.

  10. HW June 16, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    At least that first dress is Alfred Angelo, who has a whole plus-sized collection of beautiful dresses up to size 28.

    David’s Bridal stores have dresses to try on in a wide array of styles and sizes. The dresses seem to even run big. I usually wear a 24, and my dress from David’s was a 20 :)

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