Plus-Size Wedding Gowns 101

Caution: Curves Ahead

Every bride, whether she’s a size two or a size 20, dreams of looking absolutely stunning on her wedding day. And when it comes to shopping for a jaw-dropping dress, the basic rules are the same, no matter your size.

On behalf of full-figured, curvy women the world over, we spoke to Kleinfeld Fashion Director Terry Hall for expert tips and gown-shopping secrets to help get you one step closer to the wedding-day confection that will have you looking—and feeling—breathtakingly gorgeous.


A shopping trip starts off best when you’re prepared with the correct undergarments. While many bridal salons have pairs available to borrow during your appointment, it is “much easier and faster when wearing undergarments that you are comfortable in,” says Terry. Depending on the shape and style of the dresses you’re trying, you’ll want to be prepared with a good bra, Spanx or a girdle and shoes with a heel height similar to what you’ll be wearing on your wedding day. Terry also says to “be prepared to pin your hair up as necessary. Often the fitter will need a full view of your neckline, front and back, to properly fit the gown.” 


Having a fuller figure is no reason to hide. Pick what you consider your best assets and look for dress styles that will show them off. As Terry says, “I am a firm believer that a bride should wear whatever silhouette she has always wanted and makes her feel fabulous. If she feels fabulous she will look fabulous.”

Looking to flatter a small waist? An A-line silhouette will elegantly draw the focus to your waist and then flare out and over the hips. Love your shoulders and décolletage? A sweetheart top, whether strapless or with cap sleeves, will beautifully show off what you’ve got. And if you’re hoping to show some skin without being too revealing, Terry recommends an illusion back, sleeve or neckline. A bolero is another great way to add a little more coverage to your dress.

No matter your size, pleats are a detail to be used wisely. While they can add texture and intricacy to a gown, pleats can be unflattering “if it hits you in areas of your body that you are trying to minimize, i.e. the waist.”

Two details that are universally figure-friendly? Ruching and corset backs. “Ruching can really be a bride’s friend in any size or shape as it helps minimize attention to less flattering areas,” says Terry. It is a great way to cover fuller midsections or hips while still flattering your shape. Terry also leans toward corset backs, which are flattering on almost any plus-size shape. A corset back “really brings in the waist and makes for a cleanly fitting bodice.”

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