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Congratulations! You're engaged! Now the fun of planning a wedding begins..... While plus-size bridal boutiques are beginning to spring up in major cities across the country, they are still very rare.  On-line resources for both the full-figured bride and the wedding party are much better, especially for destination, themed, and less formal weddings.  The good news is that order times for most are much quicker than a traditional bridal shop leaving plenty of time for alterations, or even a quick wedding.



Although Elegant Plus earns a small fee on all purchases made through the shopping recommendations below, it is a completely free shopping resource for the consumer, and many times we are able to provide links that offer consumer discounts and free shipping offers upon landing on the partner retailer's site. All selections are available at time of posting and purchases can be made directly from the retailer on the associated shopping link. All of the shopping guides include designer selections which are noted with the designer's name in descriptions.


Many a curvy bride quickly discovers that finding a dress in her size is even more difficult than anticipated.  Moreover, even when one can be special ordered, she is usually left holding the store sample up to her body and guessing how it might look, rather than being able to try it on.  The whole special ordering process, followed by fittings can take months to complete.  Most internet orders, especially less elaborate ready made dresses and gowns purchased directly off department store and reputable e-commerce retailer racks, ship almost immediately.

Sizing and Fit

Sizing at the department stores and plus-specialty designers are the typical women's plus sizes that most know.  Some formal shops, however, size in straight misses sizes.  These run quite small, and it is not unusual to have to go up one, two, even three sizes from your usual size.  If the size number is followed by a "W" it is women's plus sizing.  If the W is missing, this is extended misses sizing. The best rule of thumb is to have someone help to measure you and carefully compare to size charts. Pay the most attention to the measurements where the gown style is closest to the body.  Other areas can be altered in a fitting with a tailor after arrival.  Most reputable retailers will take returns for sizing reason unless marked down on final clearance. 

Shopping for Plus-Size Wedding Gowns and Bridesmaid Dresses

Some brides also like to have a shorter, more comfortable dress to wear to the reception.  These can be formal, tea length numbers or something shorter and sexier.  Brides often choose white dresses, but other colors are also becoming popular.

Department stores are increasingly offering less formal wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses for immediate delivery, as well. Nordstrom's Wedding Shop frequently has options in silk chiffon in sizes up to 16/18, and tinted bridesmaid dresses up to size 24W that may be good choices for less traditional brides.  Neiman Marcus has an even more upscale formal dress collection with options from high end designers such as Theia, Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose, and Carolina Herrera in sizes up to 16/18 with the occasional 20 turning up. 

The Nordstrom plus-size dress collection racked separately can have some good finds from designers such as Tadashi Shoji, and less formal white cocktail dress for the reception in sizes up to 24W.   Dillard's stocks a growing collection of upscale designer formalwear labels in extended sizes, many with sleeves.  Look for labels such as Mac Duggal, Tadashi Shoji, Terani Couture and others.  Many of these will feel more appropriate for the mother-of-the-bride and other important wedding guests.

 Reminiscent of the era of the Titanic and Downton Abbey these dresses are gorgeous.   ModCloth has begun including vintage style tea length and sometimes floor length dresses and gowns in laces and tulles with a retro mid twentieth century vibe.  Sizing here runs from XS to 4X.  Unique Vintage carries 1950's tulle tea length dresses and Gatsby style flapper dresses up to size 4X that make wonderful options for more theme oriented weddings. The Unique Vintage Formalwear section also carries an unusual and extensive collection of formal gowns appropriate for brides, bridesmaids and guests at more formal weddings with sizes as large as 5X.  Plus specialty designer Kiyonna also designs a lovely lace wedding dress collection with vintage overtones in both ivory and white.  Both long and short styles are available in sizes 10 to 32W.

The internet has opened up more opportunities, including direct from manufacturer gowns at a fraction of full retail price which are delivered much more quickly than most boutiques.  These sites can also make it easy to get matching bridesmaid dresses for the entire wedding party with numerous color options in sizes 2 through plus, and custom length and tailoring options.  Here is where the latest gown trends are most likely to be available to curvy brides.  Some good ones to try include Light in the Box and TB Dress.   Another affordable spot is Target which added a bridesmaid dress collection in 2015.  

Finally, a semi-custom dress collection at eShakti is well worth the visit.  Check both the main collection and the Wedding and Special Occasions tab for dresses suitable for both the bride and bridesmaids.  Simple, lovely silk dresses turn up here in addition to organza, lace, and less dressy cottons.  Everything is available from size 0 to 36W with hem lengths adjusted by height.  Furthermore for a small fee many dresses can have sleeves and neckline styles altered to suit individual taste.




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Plus-size wedding gowns for full-figured women size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, L, XL, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X