Plus-Size Wedding Gowns: Advice for 3 Body Types
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
Many women have worked as wedding consultants. Many have been in weddings. I, for better or worse, have been a bride several times.
Tip: Don't go on a strict diet before your wedding.
It’s no fun to starve yourself for five months before the big day, so make sure you get a dress that will fit your true size, not your starved size. You should take your measurements on a normal day, when you are eating normally. If you go on a diet before being measured, you will be hungry, stressed, and cranky when you walk down the aisle. So, I implore you to look for a plus-size wedding gown that is easy to wear while sitting down, dancing around, drinking up, and eating all kinds of goodies.
Yes, my motto is “Always a bride. Never a bridesmaid.” I guess it's easier to find husbands than to find close friends. Anyway, let me tell you what I know about bridal gowns.
Know What Looks Good on You
Here are the rules for second time brides:
You are the bride. It's your wedding. Wear whatever color you want. Wear whatever dress you want. If you are a rebellious chick, have a wild, indie wedding. If you are low key and artsy, have a quiet, elegant wedding. Do everything you can to create a wedding that's fun for you. And, remember:
- It's your body, you have a right to have any body shape that God gave you.
- If your inner voice ever says anything negative about your body shape, tell your inner voice to, "Piss off."
In my three weddings, I have found that the two most important parts of a wedding dress are the neckline and the backside. I don’t mean to imply anything about the size or shape of your butt. However, in traditional services, you will be facing the altar, so the back of your dress is what your friends and enemies will be staring at while you say your vows.
And, when posing for photographs, your veil (or bridal hat) and your neckline will be the key to the correct framing of your face. Usually, the best neckline for a topheavy gal is a V-neck, sweetheart, square-necked, or deep U-shaped neckline.
Best Necklines for Plus-Size Brides:
I don't always agree with traditional advice, but here it is, so go ahead and follow this advice or ignore it.
- V-Neck: Good for lengthening the neck and for breaking up a large chest, broad shoulders, or a wide upper-arm area.
- Sweetheart Neckline: Good for large chests. Flattering to most women. Bad for narrow, sloping shoulders.
- Boatneck: Good for balancing pear-shaped bodies. Bad for wide shoulders, unless very you're tall.
- Halter Neck: Good for broad shoulders. Bad for fat arms. (Good for sex appeal.)
- Square Neckline: Bad for narrow shoulders. Good for broad shoulders.
- Strapless Gown: Strapless dresses can be good or bad. (Add a bolero or jacket if you want, but I wore a strapless gown with my fat arms and it was fine.)
I have not been heavy all my life, but I do have very broad shoulders, so I was born shaped like Spongebob Squarepants... and the result in the camera is the same as being fat, fat, fat... no matter how skinny I am. I have worn a square-necked wedding gown, a V-necked wedding dress, and a strapless wedding gown. And, they all photographed well on my apple body.
Wedding Gown Shapes for 3 Body Types
You, most certainly, know by now that there are many different types of curvy "body types". And, there are "rules" or suggestions about what is supposed to look good on different types of bodies, but you should try on various silhouettes because you might be the exception to the rule:
Plus-Size Hourglass Shape: You want to accentuate your waist, so a Cinderella-style ball gown might look great if you are tall. If you are short, don’t break up your line, but add some detail at your waist.
Plus-Size Apple Shape: Break up your upper body (chest and shoulders) with a sweetheart, square, or V-shaped neckline. An Empire-waist gown or a two-piece tunic and long skirt may be your best bets. The correct Empire waist gown will make you look taller.
Plus-Size Pear Shape: Accentuate your small waist. You will probably want a fitted bodice and an A-line skirt with a bit of flare at the bottom. Or, try a ballgown... because it will hide everything underneath.
If you don’t know where to start, most women look good in princess-shaped dresses and A-line shaped gowns.
Sleeves or Sleeveless
If you don’t like your upper arms, you might want sleeves; but if you are top heavy, the worst thing you can wear is a bodice with short sleeves. If you want long sleeves, make sure they are not so tight that you can't dance. Renaissance sleeves or flowing lace sleeves are my favorites, but 3/4 sleeves are also extremely flattering.
Try on Regular Party Dresses
My second "bridal gown" was not a "real" wedding dress at all. It was an off-white, floaty, tea-length designer dress with purple accents in all the right places. So, you might want to check out regular party dresses... especially if you're running off to Vegas and you're short on time. Wearing a veil, pinning some flowers to your hair, or adding a wedding hat to almost any dress will usually make the ensemble look like a proper wedding outfit.
So, march yourself down to the nearest bridal shop or department store and experiment with different styles. You don't have to choose the first dress that looks half-way decent. But, once you find a dress you love, crank up "The Hustle" on your iPod and shake, shake, shake your bootie. That bootie may be big, but it's all yours... and plus-size girls rock.
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Photo Credits: prshots.com.
- Main Photo: Monsoon.
- All Other Photos: Mouse over photos for credit info.
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