If you're shopping for a wedding dress or a bridesmaid dress and you have all the questions about sizing and how the dress sizing process works, you're in the right place. In today's helpful wedding shopping advice post and video, we're sharing everything brides and bridesmaids need to know about the sizing of dresses. We're going to explain how it all works and answer some of your biggest questions, like why plus size wedding dresses might cost extra.
Shopping for a wedding dress can be really confusing and stressful, we completely understand. At Lovella, our goal is to not only help you find the wedding dress of your dreams that makes you feel beautiful and confident, but we also want to help make this a stress free process. We want to guide you and support you. Planning a wedding can be hard and overwhelming, especially since this is most likely your first time doing it, and we want you to know that we're here for you.
We have many tips and advice here on the blog about wedding dresses and finding the right one. We also have a YouTube channel from our Wedding Fashion Expert with even more advice and videos about all things wedding dresses and the whole experience of finding your bridal style for wedding day. If you have any questions, please let us know. Your question could be our next blog post or video!
Dress Sizing Explained
The biggest concern that many brides and bridesmaids have is about the sizes of dress. Specifically, they're concerned about the size number.
Why are the wedding dress and bridesmaid dress numbers so big?
I'm a bit worried, why is my wedding dress size not the size I was expecting?
Why do I need to be measured for a wedding dress? Why can't just order the size that I'm normally in my regular, every day clothes?
Do those questions sound familiar? Have you wondering the same things about wedding dress sizes? We completely understand and your questions and concerns are very common. For those brides and bridesmaid concerned, let's talk about how wedding dress sizing works.
The main thing that brides need to know is that the size numbers for a wedding dress or a bridesmaid dress are not the same size numbers on regular clothes or every day, street clothing. This can be very uncomfortable for many brides because, often times their wedding dress size is a size or two or three larger than their regular every day clothing size.
For example, a bride might be a size 4 in regular clothing, but in bridal or wedding dress size, she might be a size 8, 10 or 12, depending on the dress designer. A wedding dress size that is several sizes larger than your regular dress size is very normal and common with most brides and bridesmaids. But, it can still be a little concerning or uncomfortable to see a larger dress size that you maybe weren't expecting.
In addition to the wedding dress sizes being different than regular stress clothing sizes, wedding dress sizes vary between dress designers and many dress designers have different sizes. What is size 8 with one designer, might be a size 4 or a size12 with another designer.
Why Custom Sizing Doesn't Work For Wedding Dresses
Because of the concern over the difference in regular dress sizes and wedding dress sizes, many brides feel that they will need to be custom measured for their wedding dress. They feel that they cannot wear a standard wedding dress size from a dress designer. They feel that the dress must be made to fit their body exactly and therefore they need custom measurements.
We do not recommend custom sizing or custom measurements for wedding dresses.
First, because bodies change. Your body will change from the time that your are custom measured to the time that your wedding dress is made and it arrives in the bridal dress shop for you. If your dress is made to an exact size, you will leave yourself no room for the inevitable change that your body will have from day to day and month to month. (This is a large part of the reason why wedding dress alterations are done very close to your wedding date.)
Second, having a dress designer make a dress for you in a custom size will slow down the production process and further add to the wait time for your wedding dress. It can take 6 to 8 months or even up to a year for a standard size wedding dress to arrive in the shop after it is ordered. Many brides don't have any extra time add to the dress ordering process.
If you have any questions about your body and wedding dresses, you might love our post on tips for wedding dress shopping while you're loosing weight and this post on how to find the perfect wedding dress when your self conscious about your arms and stomach.
All Dresses Are Altered
Whether it is a small nip in at the waist and bust, or a slight hem to the bottom, all wedding dresses will need to be altered or adjusted by a professional. The goal is for your wedding dress to fit you perfectly just as you are. Therefore, all wedding dresses will need to be altered or adjusted. At Lovella, it is very, very rare that we'll find a wedding dress that doesn't need to be altered in some way to fit a bride perfectly.
The reason that all wedding dresses generally need to be altered is because the standard dress size that you ordered from the dress designer will not fit you exactly, perfectly in all of the right places. It might fit yon in one or two spots, but not all of the spots from head to toe. Your dress ordered before alterations will mostly likely be larger all over to account for certain parts of your body that may be wider than other parts. Your alterations will be the key factor is ensuring your dress fits you perfectly.
Wedding dress measuring takes into account three different areas, including bust, waist and hips. For example, if you're bust and waist are one size and your hips are one size larger than your bust and waist, your dress shop will order you a size based on your largest size, the size of your hips. Ordering a dress based on your largest size or measurement area, will ensure that the dress will fit you all over. If they order you a size based on your smallest parts, your bust or hips, your dress would not fit over your hips.
It is much easier for a wedding dress to be taken in, or reduced in size, than for a dress to be let out, or for size to be added. Material can be taken out of a wedding dress easily. It is much, much harder for material to be added to a dress.
Bridal dress shops order you the larger size based on your largest measurement area because it is easier to take a dress in than to let a dress out. Once your dress arrives into shop, you will come in to try it on. It will then be altered in all of the areas that might not fit you, including the hips, waist or bust. This is why alterations are so, so important and you should not skimp on alterations. We always say at Lovella that the alternations will make or break a wedding dress.
3 Steps To Measure For Your Wedding Dress
Step 1: Measure The Bust
Your bust is measured typically with a bra on to hold your bust in while measuring. You start in the middle of your chest, right where your nipples line up, and you then measure around to the same exact spot on the flat of your back, so it is perfectly in middle. You'll want the measuring tape to fit snug, not super loose and not so tight that it's digging into your skin, but just snug enough where you can barely wiggle it side to side.
Step 2: Measure The Waist
Your waist measurement is taken where that crease is at your waist when you bend to the side. The snugness of the measuring tape is the same as for the bust. You want it snug, but not too tight.
Step 3: Measure The Hip
For your hip measurement, stand with your feet close together with your feet side by side, next to each other, touching. Take the measurement at the thickest part of the bottom or booty in the middle. Again, you want it to be snug, but not too tight.
You will take those three numbers and line them up with size chart for the wedding dress designer that you're ordering. It is very common that your bust, waist and hip measurements will not be the same. Depending on the style of dress you are ordering, you should always order the larger measurement to accommodate for larger parts of your body.
About Wedding Dress Length
Most wedding dresses come in a standard length. You will order your dress based on your measurements and it will arrive in a standard length and then the dress will be altered or hemmed to fit your perfectly lengthwise based on the bridal shoes your'e wearing on your wedding day.
If you're on the taller size and you'll need extra length, you'll need to take note of that with the sample size as you are trying on the dresses. Most wedding dress designers allow extra length to be added to the standard length. You'll need to note that in the ordering process.
What Is Hallow-To-Hem Measurement?
Know as "hallow-to-hem," this is a type of dress measurement that goes from top to bottom or head to toe, instead of side to side as we've described above with the bust, waist and hip measurements.
Your hollow is considered where your collarbone dents or dips in a little bit in the center of your body. The hem is considered the ground or the floor. Therefore, a hallow-to-hem measurement is from your collarbone area all the way to the floor or ground.
We do not recommend hallow-to-hem measurements for wedding dresses, because much like the custom measurements, you don't get an accurate picture of your size. A waist, hip and bust measurement is a much safer, more reliable wedding dress measurement option.
Why Do Plus Size Wedding Dresses Cost More?
Many plus size wedding dresses for curvy brides do cost more than smaller wedding dresses. Not all wedding dress designers charge extra for plus sizes, but some do charge an extra fee for a plus size wedding dress past a certain size. The reason that plus size wedding dresses may cost more is because there is more fabric and additional construction needed for larger size gowns.
More material in a plus size wedding dress could be extra satin, lace and beading, or extra boning in the corset. In addition to the material, there are extra labor costs for the designer to construct or add in those additional elements necessary for a plus size wedding dress.
Video: Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Dress Sizes & How To Measure
You know that we love our helpful videos at Lovella. Our Wedding Fashion Expert has another great video explaining everything that we talked about here in this blog post. This video explains all about wedding dress sizing and specific steps for how to measure for your wedding dress. She also discussed why plus size wedding dresses cost extra.
We hope that today's wedding dress sizing advice was helpful and that you learned all about how to measure for your wedding dress. Most importantly, we hope that you learned that it is completely normal for wedding dress sizes to be much larger than your regular clothing size. This is done to help you out and might save you money in the long run by avoiding difficult wedding dress alterations.
Remember, if you have any questions about the wedding dress shopping experience, let us know. We'd love to hear from you and answer your questions.
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 bridal fashion podcast for more helpful and practical advice on wedding dress shopping.