What to Expect When Shopping For Plus Size Wedding Dresses

What to Expect When Shopping For Plus Size Wedding Dresses

What to Expect When Shopping For Plus Size Wedding Dresses. Mobile Image

Jul 11, 2022

We are back this week with more wedding dress shopping advice and tips to help prepare brides to shop confidently and find their dream wedding dress. Today, we are talking to all of our plus-size brides, curvy and full-figure brides, and giving tips to help you learn what to expect when you are shopping for plus-size wedding dresses. If you're a plus-size bride-to-be and you're shopping for your wedding dress, you're in the right place, we have all of the advice for you on what to expect when bridal dress shopping to make your bridal gown shopping experience stress-free. 


At Lovella Bridal, we know that body shapes and clothing sizes are such a personal subject matter. Our goal is to make all of our brides comfortable and at ease during their bridal gown shopping appointments, and happy at the end once they've found their dream wedding dress. We know that trying on wedding dresses can be an emotional experience and we are here for all our brides to help them through this emotional and often overwhelming time. Our bridal stylists are here to guide you on your bridal dress shopping experience and make you feel beautiful and confident. 


How Sizing Works


Much like the fashion industry, the wedding dress industry is still working on being more accommodating to plus-size brides and plus-size bridal gowns sizes and designs. Keep in mind that even “standard” wedding dress sizes are not the same in everyday clothes as they are for wedding dresses. With wedding dresses, we will be working off of your body measurements and not a size number to order your wedding gown.


For more on wedding dress sizing, be sure to check out our post on how to measure yourself for your wedding dress. 


Follow along with us as we give you all the tips you need before shopping for your plus-size wedding dress. 


VIDEO: What to Expect in Bridal Stores When Shopping For Plus Size Wedding Dresses


Before we dive into the rest of this week's advice on plus-size bridal gowns, be sure to watch our advice video on What to Expect in Bridal Stores When Shopping for Plus Size Wedding Dresses.




How Sample Wedding Dresses Work


Before we talk about wedding dress shopping as a plus-size bride, we need to talk about how the whole dress shopping process works and how measurements are taken.


When it comes to shopping for your wedding dress, you don't typically go into a store, try it on and take it home with you that day. Instead, you are trying on sample wedding gowns and then placing an order based on your body dimensions for the wedding dress that you love. These wedding dress body dimensions are typically your bust, waist, and hip measurement. From there, we line those numbers up to a size chart from the wedding dress manufacturer and will order the size that accommodates your measurements as closely as possible. Once your wedding dress arrives in the store, you’ll have alterations done to more closely match your body. 


The sample wedding gowns that you try on in the store are all done by special order with the wedding gown manufacturer. Even pre-pandemic, there are long lead times in the wedding fashion industry in order to obtain sample wedding dresses to have in your store available for brides to try on.


Brides want to order their wedding dress 6 to 8 months before the wedding day. With production delays and supply chain delays caused by the pandemic, lead times are more in the 9 to 12-month range. Then you also need to allow a couple of months for the wedding dress alterations process. We are encouraging all brides who are planning their wedding to order their wedding gown at least one year before their wedding date. 


For more on stress-free wedding dress ordering during supply chain delays and pandemic recovery, be sure to read our post about when brides need to order their wedding dresses. 


In order to get sample bridal gowns into bridal stores as quickly as possible, many wedding dress designers require the stores to order a sample wedding gown in the middle of the size chart. This is done so that they can cut the same amount of fabric numerous times and get the sample bridal dresses produced as quickly as possible for their bridal dress stores. This means that the majority of sample wedding dresses available to try on in bridal salons are going to be a size 10 or 12. Keep in mind that a 10 or 12 in bridal dress sizing is not the same as everyday clothing sizes. A size 10 or 12 in bridal dress sizing is more equivalent to a size 6 or 8 in regular clothing. 


Sample Dress Sizing


Wedding dress size charts also vary slightly from bridal dress designer to designer. Some wedding dress sizes may run a little bigger or a little smaller, but they will all be in about the same average range. 


Bridal stores have to purchase their own wedding sample dress inventory, so it is not realistic for stores to have a sample wedding gown in every single size. This would be very expensive and would take a lot of storage space. If sample wedding gowns are ordered in a size other than the standard 10 or 12, this wedding dress sample will take longer to produce because it’s considered a custom order at that point. 


At Lovella Bridal, we are always striving to make our brides happy. We never want them to leave disappointed that they could not fit into our sample wedding gowns. We know that changes need to be made in the wedding fashion industry. We are partnering with many bridal gown designers to be able to offer a plus-size collection in-store. We are growing our plus-size sample wedding dress collection.


While it may be happening slowly due to production delays and long lead times, we are always looking to add to our sample wedding dress sizes in our store. For our plus-size wedding sample dress collection, we have bridal sizes 18 to 28. You can see the full range of plus-size wedding dress designers that we carry at Lovella. 


As a plus-size bride, when you are going out shopping for your wedding dress, you should be prepared to know that not all of the sample wedding gowns are going to fit, or the sample wedding dress may fit you as a plus-size bride, but the samples may be very snug. We know that can be discouraging when a sample wedding dress doesn't fit your body or is too snug to make you feel comfortable. We want all our brides to look and feel beautiful and confident.


It’s a slow change, but the bridal industry is working to shift wedding dress and sample wedding dress sizing to be more inclusive of all shapes and sizes of brides. 


Research Your Options


No matter what size you are, but especially for our plus-size brides, we would encourage you to check out a bridal store’s inventory online before calling to schedule a wedding dress shopping appointment to try on bridal dresses. Most bridal dress salons will have their plus-size wedding dress collection posted online so you can see sample photos and get a sense of the number of plus-size wedding dress styles they have to offer for you to try on. This will help manage your expectations in the bridal dress store as well. 


It’s a great idea to call bridal dress stores ahead of time to make sure that they have a selection of sample plus-size wedding dresses for you to choose from within your size. At Lovella, we get calls all the time from brides saying this is my sizing, this is the style of wedding dress that I’m looking for and I want to know if you're going to have sample bridal dresses within my size, style, and price point available for me to try on. Calling ahead and doing the research before your go wedding dress shopping will just help set you up for success and avoid any disappointment or frustration at your wedding shopping appointment. It will also ensure that you are productive with your time and going to the right bridal dress stores. 


Know that as bridal stylists, we also have tips and tricks on how to get our brides into some of the sample wedding dresses that can really help you envision what your custom wedding order would look like.


We also want to remind you that no matter what size you are, every bride is buying a wedding dress based on a sample gown that doesn't fit them properly. So to some degree, every bride has to use a little bit of imagination when trying on sample wedding dresses, because what you're trying on in the bridal dress store is not going to be your brand new dress in your size and then altered down to fit you.


More Helpful Wedding Dress Shopping Advice


Our goal is to make the wedding dress shopping experience fun and easy for all brides. From knowing what to expect before your first appointment to figuring out what silhouette or style you like, we are here to guide you on this exciting journey. Here are a few more resources and blog posts to help you prepare for shopping for your wedding dress:

We hope you found these tips helpful to prepare you for your wedding dress shopping experience. 



About Lovella


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.