Being a plus size bridesmaid for the first time can be scary. For me, it was! You’re certainly honored to have been asked and wouldn’t miss the opportunity for anything in the world. And while you smilingly agree to participate in the joyous occasion, the reality of dressing your plus size body, in bridal garb can terrify you. The thought of alterations and being seen by hundreds of people, post-appointment, for me, is crippling.
I know this to be true because it happened to me last year.
My mind immediately considered if Vera Wang made dresses that support bodies like mine. After two fittings and costly alterations, I learned that she did but it wasn’t as easy to find, but when a beautiful skin-complimenting dress has deep pockets, you pick your battles.
Nonetheless, I was vigilant in observing the differences between plus and non-plus dresses and documenting my experience, which consisted of minimal heavy boob support and uncomfortable shoes. As a first time plus size bridesmaid, there are a myriad of things you should know and prepare for in advance. In this list, I’ve included 10 must-know tips to guide your body, feet and bank account peacefully to the Big Day.
10 No-Fail Tips for the First Time Plus Size Bridesmaid
Get Your Money Together
Unless your bridesmaid dress comes from a plus size vendor, your chances of needing alterations are high. This will cost you! The moment you agree to your bridesmaid duties, research estimated prices for bridal alterations. Even if the bride isn’t sure where the dresses will come from, you can still walk into your local bridal shop for estimates and general questions. Let them help you get your money right!
Shop around for alterations
A good seamstress knows what s/he’s doing regardless of where they work. That aside, sometimes even the pros might not understand your body and comfort level. A friend of mine and fellow bridesmaid found a seamstress much cheaper than the David’s Bridal staff. Her results were amazing – her dress wasn’t ill fitting or shifty like mine was.
Even better? She supported a local minority business in the process with her order.
Pay for the breast cups
The designated breast area on my Vera Wang bridesmaid dress was very constricted. Read: it had no give or love for my full H cups. Additionally, wearing a half bra (that I didn’t own) seemed difficult, so I was at the mercy of cloth breast cups. They were an added expense and weren’t the best fit I could have gotten, but I felt more confident once they were sewn in. If you don’t own or want to buy a half bra and feel uncomfortable going braless, this will be a great option for you.
Shop around for shapewear
Bridal shops sell these things at exorbitant price points. Worse, they might not carry your size or preferred brand. Consider your options at stores like Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart or even Spanx.com! If you have been on TCF, then you should also check out this handy roundup of plus size shapewear!
Keep clips, pins and tape handy
Full disclosure: My breasts are heavy, full and one is noticeably larger than the other. Of course nipping and tucking that dress would have been my plight! But you know what else I wish I would have had at the ready?
A clip, pin or stick of adhesive body tape to double tuck the girls. I found myself embarrassingly readjusting my boobs (and nipples) throughout the day in spite of the added halter hooks that poked my neck. Agony!
Order one size up
With this being my first wedding, I had no idea that bridal dresses could run small. News flash, they do! My normal size 18 fit but not like an off the rack dress would. The small breast area was even smaller in that size, so for the sake of my boobs – and because I enjoy breathing freely – I ordered one size up and made alterations.
Bring a backup pair of shoes
…in the right bridal colors. Due to the length of my dress, I wore 5-inch stilettos underneath. My feet begged for mercy after standing and posing for hours in them. By the time we got to the reception, those heels found a corner while a fresh pair of flats graced my feet.
Bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes that will compliment your dress to wear at the reception.
Wear comfortable clothing before and after the ceremony
Once your flowy gown and makeup are applied, you will look and feel like a goddess. But girl, that comes at a cost – to your waistline, spine and feet. Do yourself a favor and wear loose fitting clothes until the moment you have to change into wedding attire.
By the time your group arrives at the ceremony locale, you might have already spent hours on dressing, skin care and makeup, tons of photos in front of various backdrops, and lots of sucking in. The walking, posing, and traveling only continues to the ceremony, reception and another round of perfect photos. Pack a light bag with self-loving necessities so you can change when the day is over.
Pack a lunch…or snacks
Another thing I didn’t consider was that these dresses might come with pockets. What a great holding place for snacks! With such a long day ahead, it will be in your best interest to bring a small bag of your favorite snacks like gummies or almonds. Snack in between tasks because your meal will come much, much later.
Stay cool and hydrated
With a long day ahead, it is important to keep your body as cool and hydrated as possible. Take quick breaks for rest and water when you can. After all, you’re in this to honor your friend and make her day as special as possible. That all starts with taking care of you first.
More of my favorite people.
What do you think? Do these tips help you out? Which ones did we miss? How did you navigate being a plus size bridesmaid? Let’s discuss below!
If you are looking for more plus size bridal finds, designers, and retailers, make sure you check out our roundup and our other Plus Bridal Week posts!