This week we are talking about the top five questions you need to ask when you are a plus-sized bride shopping for your wedding dress. These questions are good for any bride to ask while they are researching what bridal shops they would like to visit. As a plus-size bride, there is unfortunately a little bit more work to be done as you prepare to start shopping for your wedding dress, but we want all brides to be informed and ready to shop with no surprises and no stress. We want every bride shopping for their wedding dress to be confident and ready to find their dream wedding gown.
Pre Shopping Research
We highly recommend all brides do a bit of pre-shopping research on bridal stores before booking any appointments to try on wedding dresses. You want to figure out which bridal salons are going to be the best fit for you and so you need to sort of interview the salons to narrow down which stores you want to shop at for your bridal gown.
Wedding planning is already very time-consuming, so you don’t want to waste your time going from bridal store to bridal store. We typically recommend brides to select three bridal dress stores that they feel suit their personal style, feature the designers that they're interested in and, of course, have the selection of wedding dresses that they want to shop. Visiting many bridal stores is not ideal when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress. The more dresses you see, the more overwhelming it can be, so you really want to do the research and refine your store selection.
For more on finding the right wedding dress stores to consider, be sure to read our post on How To Pick The Right Wedding Dress Store or Boutique To Shop.
Top 5 Questions To Ask As A Plus Size Bride
Without further ado, we are going to give you the top five questions for plus-size brides to ask bridal stores while researching and booking wedding dress shopping appointments to make sure that they are a good fit for you.
Question 1: What Sizes Do You Offer In Your Sample Selection?
Wedding dress shopping can be nerve-wracking for any bride, but it can make plus-size and curvy brides especially nervous as wedding dresses sizes are not the same as everyday attire. Bridal stores have sample wedding gowns for brides to try on, and as a plus-size bride, you don’t know how many sample gowns a store will have in your size. That is why the first important question to ask a bridal store when you want to make an appointment is to ask what sizes they offer in their sample gown selection.
Bridal dress sizing does run differently from everyday street clothes sizing, so if you are concerned about what wedding dress sample sizes are going to fit you, let the bridal store know what size you wear in regular clothing so they can guide you and let you know if the sample bridal dress sizes they have in store will accommodate your body.
It is important to know if a certain bridal store will have sample wedding gowns for you to try on before you show up for a wedding dress shopping appointment. Now, all brides should know that sample wedding gowns are not going to perfectly fit anybody. Many sample gowns may be too big on you, but your bridal stylist will clamp or expand the sample bridal gown in the back to get a better fit. So don’t be scared off if the sizes are larger than what you need. Your wedding dress will be ordered for you based on your body measurements.
For any bride that is new to the wedding dress shopping process, here is a quick tip on sample wedding dresses:
Most designers provide certain sizes as samples and bridal stores clamp them or have expanders to help hold the dress in from a distance of the zipper if the dress is not able to be zipped all the way up. So go into your dress shopping appointments knowing that the sample sizes might be too small or too big on your body. But your bridal stylist will have all the tips, tricks, and tools to help you visualize what the wedding dress will look like on you on your wedding day.
We know that this is not exactly ideal, but a bridal store just can’t have every size in their inventory so you may have to use your imagination a bit. Plus, we've talked before about the importance of wedding dress alterations in the wedding dress ordering process.
Question 2: How Much Selection Do You Have In My Size?
After you understand what sizes the bridal store offers, your next question to ask is how much selection does the store have in your size. Meaning how many different sample styles of wedding dresses in your preferred sample size do they have in stock for you to try on?
At Lovella, we have our Lovella Bridal gowns and then we have our Lovella Plus wedding gowns. We do have less wedding gowns in the plus section than we do in our Lovella Bridal section. This is because many of the wedding dresses that we carry are not available in plus size. This disparity between sample wedding dress sizing is something we are constantly working on. We want our brides to have a larger selection of plus size and full figure wedding dresses because it's something that we feel very strongly about. We want to showcase as many dresses for our brides to shop as possible, no matter your size.
Before you head to a bridal shop to try on wedding dresses, you definitely want to check what the quantity of their sample dress inventory is.
We also want to point out that you shouldn’t judge a bridal dress store or completely write them off based on their sample dress quantity, because it's oftentimes not about quantity, it's about quality. There may be fewer plus-sized options at a particular store, but they likely have amazing options in what inventory they do have. At Lovella in particular, we have exclusive plus size dresses that we bring in to our store that are not available anywhere else.
Be sure to give their selection a try and in addition to calling ahead, even look at the store’s website or social media to view their plus-size collection.
VIDEO: Top 5 Questions To Ask As a Plus Size Bride When Wedding Dress Shopping
In case you prefer to get you wedding fashion and wedding dress shopping advice in video form, be sure to check out this week's advice video to learn the 5 important questions brides should ask when wedding dress shopping.
Question 3: What Is The Price Range?
Now that you are familiar with what sizes and the number of options a store can offer you, the next important thing to know is about pricing. Wedding dresses come in a large price range and one bridal shop can stock wedding gowns in many different price brackets. It is important to know what prices are featured at a store you are interested in shopping. Wedding dress pricing and budget is an important factor for a bride of any size to consider.
At Lovella, we feature as many wedding dresses as we possibly can on our website and we are constantly updating as we sell sample gowns and get new dresses in stock. Under each designer, we feature the price range of each collection so that brides can easily determine if a certain designer or certain designer collection fits their budget or not. We try to make it as easy as possible for brides to get a great preview of what inventory we have in store as well as what price range we offer in store. We highly recommend doing some research on the bridal shop’s website or calling and asking what price ranges they offer for their wedding dress selection.
Often we hear that brides have put a specific price point on how much they want to spend on their wedding dress without really realizing what the dollar buys. A wedding gown is so different from any other article of clothing you’ve purchased. You want to be prepared to know what you are spending your money on. We encourage you to do your research and understand what the dollar buys you and what wedding dresses cost on average before you set a firm budget or price on how much you want to spend on your wedding dress.
Another good tip is to try on different dresses at different price points so you can really understand the fit, the fabric, and the quality to understand why there is that price difference in different wedding dress styles.
Question 4: What Are Your Delivery Dates?
The next important question to ask while researching bridal stores in is regards to what happens after you place your wedding gown order. You need to know the approximate delivery timeline and dates for the manufacturers that the store features. This is another important question for all brides to consider when wedding dress shopping, but is especially important for plus-size brides as these orders can have a longer manufacturing time.
On average, most manufacturers range anywhere from a six to eight-month delivery window, so ideally, in a perfect world, you should be ordering your wedding dress around one year before your wedding. You want to allow for some wiggle room as shipping timelines are approximate- things can come early, things can come late, so give yourself some cushion so you aren’t stressed out if things run behind schedule.
This is especially true as we are still experiencing supply chain delays, and the bridal fashion industry is not excluded from this. In addition to production and shipping time, you will also want to leave two months for alterations. One year before your wedding is ideal to place your bridal gown order. Ask the store just to make sure so that you're aware and your timing for wedding dress shopping, purchasing, and alterations all align beautifully and there's no stress or additional rush fees that you need to pay.
For more be sure to read our post on Stress-Free Weddin Dress Shopping During Post Pandemic & Supply Chain Delays.
Question 5: What Does The Alterations Process Look Like?
This leads us to our last important question for brides to ask before wedding dress shopping. After you know about sizing and inventory options, as well as price ranges and delivery timelines, you should ask what the alterations process looks like at your particular bridal salon. You want to be fully prepared for your alterations once you've purchased your dream wedding dress. All wedding gowns are going to need some type of alterations, whether that is to add a wedding dress bustle or sleeves or straps to a gown, or maybe you need to take in the waist, or have the dress hemmed.
For example, before having any alterations done, you definitely need to have your wedding day shoes selected so that your seamstress can properly determine the height of your dress. Once you say 'yes to the dress,' you want to prepare with your shoes.
Be sure to ask the bridal store if they provide alterations there in-house, or if they have a list of seamstresses that you can call, interview, and book ahead of time so you will be prepared once your wedding dress arrives in store. Know that generally alterations appointments usually happen two months ahead of the wedding, then one month ahead of the wedding day, and a final fitting the week of the wedding. Ask your bridal consultant and seamstress if your particular wedding dress is going to require additional work or extra appointments so that you are fully prepared for the process.
Bonus Tip: Shapewear
One last bonus tip and piece of advice we want to give brides before they begin wedding dress shopping, is to go to your appointment wearing shapewear. Our Wedding Fashion Expert recommends a shapewear brand called Commando, particularly the high-waisted control shorts.
The biggest reason why we recommend wearing shapewear to your wedding dress appointments is that as you're trying on wedding dresses, you get really sweaty and hot. Everyone does, unfortunately, but it makes it so much easier for these dresses to slide up on you when you have that material as a barrier between your skin and the dress. Most shapewear is super thin so it will not add any volume to the wedding dresses you are trying on.
Also, if you happen to be shy, shapewear shorts are a great alternative to being in your underwear in front of your bridal stylist.
More Wedding Dress Shopping Advice
These are the top five things that we want all brides, especially plus-size brides, to know so that you are preparing yourself for success and to take the stress off your shoulders while wedding dress shopping. We hope you have found these top questions to ask bridal stores helpful to you as you begin your wedding dress shopping journey.
For even more wedding dress shopping tips & insight, be sure to check out these past advice posts:
- What To Expect When Shopping For Plus Size Wedding Dresses
- Bridal Store Etiquette: The Dos And Don'ts Of Wedding Dress Shopping
- How To Determine What Style Wedding Dress You Want
- What Should I Expect When Wedding Dress Shopping For The First Time
- How To Pick The Right Wedding Dress Store or Boutique To Shop
If you're shopping for your perfect wedding dress, come visit us at Lovella Bridal in Glendale, CA. We carry wedding dresses in all sizes and styles, including plus-size bridal gowns and a full selection of veils and accessories. Lovella Bridal is the premier, luxury bridal wedding dress shopping boutique located in Los Angeles, California. Lovella features couture, feminine, modern and chic bridal gowns in all sizes from the best wedding dress designers. Schedule an appointment to find the wedding dress of your dreams at Lovella Bridal. We can't wait to help you!
About Wedding Fashion Expert
Our wedding dress shopping tips and advice are from Nayri, Lovella's own, in-house wedding fashion expert. Nayri is truly the expert when it comes to bridal fashion and wedding style. As the Wedding Fashion Expert, Nayri is the top bridal fashion stylist and the best-selling author of the book "I'm Getting Married And I Have Nothing To Wear," the ultimate guide to helping brides find their wedding day style and their perfect wedding dress. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel or listen to her podcast for more helpful and practical advice on wedding dress shopping.