Finding the perfect wedding dress can be overwhelming for any bride, but for the plus-size shopper, it can be extra challenging. From limited sizes in dress shops to judgmental assistants, there are plenty of horror stories that can make a joyful experience upsetting.

Fortunately, as the body-positive movement continues to grow, there are more and more plus-size wedding dresses available—and more bridal boutiques and designers that understand the importance of finding the perfect dress for every size and shape. Check out our top tips for finding the right gown for your big day!

Make an appointment

Instead of just dropping into a shop to try on dresses, call ahead and make an appointment. Since many shops may stock just a few sizes for sample dresses, it’s important to let them know your size and when you will be arriving to give the shop a chance to have plenty of dresses on hand in sizes closer to your own.

Ignore the numbers

Designer brands tend to use “couture” sizing, which means your normal dress size will probably be much smaller in a wedding gown. Don’t stress—this is totally normal. Just be prepared to see a larger number on the gowns you try on. Or, if you can, don’t look at the size at all and pay attention to how the dress fits and how you feel in it. After all, if you find a gown you absolutely adore, then who cares what size it is?

Be open-minded

You may have a specific style of dress in mind, but be open to trying on gowns outside of your comfort zone. If your bridal stylist recommends a style or fit that may not be the one you had in mind, don’t be afraid to give it a try. She’s the expert, and it’s her job to make you look and feel amazing, so trust her advice. The worst-case scenario is just that you don’t like it, so it can’t hurt to try something different.

Don’t wait until the last minute

Even if you are planning on losing weight before your wedding day, you should still start looking for your dress as early as possible. Many dresses have to be special ordered and then tailored when they arrive, a process that can take several months, so the sooner you can order your dress, the better.

Remember that details can be added

Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a dress, but it’s more low-cut than you would like. Or maybe it’s sleeveless, and you would prefer to have a sleeve. Fortunately, your dress can be altered to meet your specific needs and desires, whether that’s adding a cap sleeve, adjusting the fit, or providing more built-in support. If your ideal dress just needs a few detail changes, talk to the shop about alterations and customization options.

Prioritize comfort

You will likely be wearing this dress all day, so don’t opt for a gown that’s uncomfortable, no matter how beautiful it may be. It’s important to get the fit right and to choose a dress that feels good as well as looks stunning. You want to be able to dance the night away at the reception, right?

Give chain stores a chance

Even if you don’t find your dream dress at a chain store, it’s a good place to start looking. Chain stores tend to have more size options than boutiques and are a great place to get a better understanding of fabrics and styles so you have a better grasp of what you want in a wedding dress.

Shopping for plus-sized dresses doesn’t have to be frustrating. Take time to figure out what you want and say “Later!” to any salesperson who makes you feel bad about your size. Every bride deserves to feel gorgeous on her wedding day and wear the dress of her dreams!

To see full galleries, click HERE

I believe in documenting your wedding as it is happening and not telling you how it should be; so, everything you see is real moments! I want you to remember those moments and all the feelings you had as you look back at your photos. “I feel like I am reliving my day and I love it, even the parts I didn’t get to see.” Brittani Whipple

I am a St Augustine wedding photographer; however, I also offer wedding videography too!  I also travel and even have been to Mexico to shoot a wedding!

I love photography because it has the power to freeze time, creating memories that will last for generations to come.