The Best Plus Size Wedding Dresses (and Where to Find Them)

David's Bridal, Style #9V3665

Considering how difficult it is to actually find photos of plus size models wearing plus size wedding dresses to post in this feature, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to actually find one to try on! Which is why for the past week I’ve been calling wedding dress boutiques, designer flagships and chain retail stores attempting to find out who carries plus sizes. The results? I’m not going to sugarcoat it…they’re not awesome.

As a size 6 I have to admit the experience was both intimidating and humbling. While I’ve always had a hard time finding certain clothes (like jeans) that fit considering my height (6′ 1″), I’ve never NOT been able to at least try something on to get a sense of what something might look like (even if it did make me look like Forrest Gump). Since wedding dress sample sizes are typically 6, 8, or 10 (and wedding dresses tend to run a size small…which means they’ll most likely only fit if your regular dress size is 2, 4, or 6), I honestly never gave it a second thought. But after speaking to a plethora of wedding dress retailers this past week as an undercover bride in search of a size 16, I was truly surprised at how few of them carried plus size samples (anything over size 12, 14, or 16 depending on the designer/store) to try on. Every time a store had to sadly tell me “no,” this problem became more and more evident.

While a lot of couture wedding dress designers WILL go up to a size 14, 16, 18, or 20, the problem is actually finding a store that stocks one of those sizes to try on. And who wants to buy a wedding dress they can’t try on (especially one that is non-returnable)? So my search began…

I started in New York City, where most of the couture designers have stores. I spoke to a SUPER nice associate at the Reem Acra boutique (more on their plus size endeavors, below) who informed me they typically only stock sizes 6 or 8 (which she said is a problem for girls looking for smaller sizes as well). While you can order up to a size 20, again, trying it on is going to be an issue. A call to Vera Wang’s boutique resulted in a somewhat confused conversation with an associate who told me they DO carry sizes 8, 12, and 16 in-store (after initially telling me they didn’t), and that they can also order dresses up to a size 20. That seemed like somewhat of a silver lining if you’re looking for a couture wedding dress, or specifically a Vera Wang wedding dress. But what if you want to try on a wide range of wedding dress designers? Here’s where it starts to really suck…

Most local wedding boutiques and mass retail stores where a bride would typically go to try on an array of designers (like Saks and Nordstrom) won’t typically carry a wide selection of plus size samples for you to try on, either. One Saks I called had nothing larger than an 8, while a Nordstrom associate I spoke to told me they had one designer who offered dresses in size 20 and up, but that the rest of their samples were only up to sizes 10 and 12. (I was, however, actually told by a sales associate at a competitive store that Macy’s Bridal Salons tend to have a larger selection of plus size wedding dresses, which seemed worth noting.)

While not every local bridal boutique or store carries a wide range of plus size wedding dress samples to try on, there is still a chance that one in your area will. I would definitely set some time aside to call as many stores as you can to find out if they carry plus size wedding dresses that you can try on, and if not can they recommend any other place that would? (I found that the majority of sales associates I spoke to were extremely nice in guiding me to a different store that might be able to help.) One important thing to note is that even if you DO find a plus size wedding dress at a boutique that you really like, ordering a larger size MIGHT cost you anywhere from 10, 15, or 20% more. Sigh.

Just when it’s starting to feel like it’s time to pour another glass of wine, the news gets a little better: There are several EXCLUSIVELY plus-size wedding dress boutiques that if you’re lucky enough to live around you should definitely check out. It’s really sad how few of these are out there, but hopefully more and more designers and boutiques will follow suit! Curvaceous Couture is in the Baltimore/D.C. area and is the first plus-size wedding dress boutique to feature a complete collection of full-figured and one-of-a-kind wedding gowns. They currently carry bridal sizes 12-44, and one of my favorite wedding dress designers Reem Acra launched an exclusive collaboration with them in 2010. Haute & Co. is a luxury bridal boutique in Chicago specializing in sizes bridal sizes 12 to 28, and they offer great wedding dress designers such as Lea-Ann Belter, Pronovias and Essense of Australia.

You’re probably like…great, Lindsay. I don’t live in Chicago or Baltimore. Now what? I spoke to an extremely nice associate at a high-end bridal boutique in California (who also told me she was a size 16) and she recommended going to David’s Bridal to not only look at their collection of plus size wedding dresses to see if you find anything you love, but to also get a sense of which style you prefer (such as A-line, Mermaid, etc.). They also have their own line of plus size wedding dresses called David’s Bridal Woman (which comes in sizes 14W-26W), as well as other designer dresses (such as Melissa Sweet and Oleg Cassini) that go up to size 14. (For one woman’s take on the difference between “W” and non “W” sizes, read this.)

And David’s Bridal is by no means your only option. There are other bridal stores (typically larger ones or those with multiple locations) that will offer a somewhat decent collection of plus size wedding dresses to try on. If you live in New York (or need an excuse to take a trip out there) Kleinfeld has what they claim is the “largest selection of designer plus-size samples.” (An online search showed 90 plus-size samples in stock!) Other stores like Panache in California offer a nice collection of plus size wedding dresses as well. I found out the BHLDN bridal shop in Los Angeles carries some size 12’s, but for a 14 and 16 you would have to buy online (and take advantage of their 30-day return policy if it doesn’t fit).

If you’re looking for specific designers, all Watters and Wtoo wedding dresses are available in sizes 0-24, and Wtoo also has their Curve Plus bridal line (as does Mori Lee with their Julietta collection). Allure Bridal dresses come in sizes 2 – 32, and their “plus size” wedding dresses are available in sizes 16W – 32W (bridesmaids dresses are also available in sizes 2 – 28). Alfred Angelo wedding dresses also come in 16W to 26W at no extra charge, and Australia is kicking butt in the wedding dress department yet again with designer Roz la Kelin’s pretty Glamour Plus collection. You can also try speciality stores such as IGIGI and Sydney’s Closet, who offer their own custom selection of plus size wedding dresses, although they are a bit more limited.

If you’re not finding anything you love, another option is to look for a custom-made bridal boutique, like Grace Bridal Couture in Los Angeles. Price points for a custom-made wedding dress typically start at $2,500 and go up from there. If you have the budget I would definitely think about going that route to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want (and what you feel is custom made for YOU).

This list of where to start your plus size wedding dress search is by no means definitive. I honestly feel like I’m just getting started in terms of research for this. So if you’re a retailer, boutique and designer who offers a great selection of plus size wedding dresses and I’ve left you out, let me know! And hopefully more and more designers (and actors! Melissa McCarthy is debuting her plus size fashion line this fall) will start creating/stocking more sample sizes to make your wedding dress search as fun as it should be.

In the meantime, I did a little plus size wedding dress shopping and came up with a few favorites below. I’d also love to hear your feedback in terms of where you found your wedding dress and/or what your experience looking for a plus size wedding dress was like. Talk to me in the comments section, below!

Wtoo 'Pallas' dress

Wtoo ‘Pallas’ dress

David's Bridal Style #9WG36843

David’s Bridal Style #9WG36843

Wtoo 'Camilla' dress

Wtoo ‘Camilla’ dress

David's Bridal Style #9WG3721

David’s Bridal Style #9WG3721

Roz la Kelin's 'Blossom' dress

Roz la Kelin’s ‘Blossom’ dress

Wtoo 'Allegra' dress

Wtoo ‘Allegra’ dress

Roz la Kelin's 'Estherset' dress

Roz la Kelin’s ‘Estherset’ dress

David's Bridal, Style #9V3665

David’s Bridal, Style #9V3665

Wtoo 'Cristiana' Gown

Wtoo ‘Cristiana’ Gown

 

Listen to The Woman Getting Married Podcast!

While we only link to products and services we think you will love, some of the links on our site are monetized. If you click on the link and make a purchase we may receive a commission, which helps us keep bringing great content to you! All opinions are our own.

14 Comments

  • Lauren Pfaff says:

    Hi Lindsey!

    I want to share our specialty salons with you, Brides by Young Size 14 & Up located in Indianapolis, IN and Schaumburg, IL! We carry over 350+ styles in each location and pride ourselves in styling the most beautiful brides in the country! With 20+ Brand Collections in store, we truly have a look for each and every bride to feel her absolute best for her special day, no matter size or style! We carry brands ranging from our own Exclusive Brides by Young Private Collection, to Essense of Australia, Four different collections of Pronovias, Blush by Hayley Paige, Eddy K, Ashley & Justin, and so so many more! We carry the most plus size samples in the world! Family owned and operated, it is our mission to bring brides of every shape and size the most updated, fashion forward, flattering styles to make your day memorable!

  • Christine says:

    I shopped at davids bridal I bought a plus size 28w the same day I went shopping. I usually wear a size 22-24 jean pant.They had a white version of the dress I bought to try on in my size and they had several dresses I was able to try on in my size. I ordered my dress in ivory and I love it. I do wish I could have seen it in ivory but they actually had all the sample sizes in white. I could not be happier with my experience. I did call around before shopping and I was told most of the smaller shops did not have larger sizes available to try on this can be very discouraging.

  • Barbara Antonacci says:

    Hi Lindsey!
    Thank you for writing this article, and creating a resource to help curvy brides find their perfect dress. My name is Barbara, and I own Marry & Tux Bridal (marryandtuxbridal.com) located in Nashua NH – just 40 minutes north of Boston. On average we always stock between 125-175 wedding dresses for the curvy bride to be, in sizes from 16 – 32 available for same-day purchase or special order. My vision has always been to cater to brides of all sizes, and that every bride should have an amazing experience while shopping for their wedding gown. Check out our website, and you’ll see why brides from all over tell us, “it’s worth the drive!”.

  • Michelle Falco says:

    I am a plus size bride and trying to find places in california for plus size wedding dresses and bridal party dresses. I’m having a hard time finding places that have selections I like or styles. I’m even down to rent all of our dresses but having a hard time finding places in southern california that do that also. I hope like you said actors and designers make more for the full figured woman.

  • Rachel says:

    I purchased my wedding dress from Unattainable (the name is fitting) and they really had quite a few options that were actually fashionable and not straight up tents. The owner was super nice and even had my dress custom made for me and I am around a size 30. She even had a veil custom made for me and it was just so refreshing because I only have stores like David’s Bridal in my area and I still felt like I had the perfect bridal experience even though it was only online. HIGHLY recommend!

  • Danielle says:

    I am in Wisconsin and getting married in March. My experiences so far have been awful. I don’t think that me being apprehensive on paying for a $1500+ dress that is not returnable that I have not tried on is unreasonable. I also find it very frustrating that the consultants bring me a size 6 to “clip” on to my size 18/20 dress body. I have yet to find a dress and have resorted to looking online because I plain and simply do not want to go. My mom has set up a weekend trip to go to inidiana to Miss Pamela’s Plus Size Bridal Salon. Hopefully some magic happens.

  • Hi Lindsey! My name is Nicole Derrick and I am the owner of Olivia’s Bridal House, a new bridal boutique in Houston TX that caters exclusively to the curvy bride size 16 and above. Please check us out at http://www.oliviasbridalhouse.com. We are the first and only curvy bridal boutique in Houston.

    Thanks for writing this great article for brides in search of the perfect dress for their special day!

  • Krista says:

    A local shop here in Indiana carries a decent selection of larger samples in store. I saw sizes from a 2 all the way up to a 24 in samples on the floor– this is a local shop, not a chain, and by no means is it large. It’s called Chiffon Bridal, and it’s located in Lafayette, IN. I highly recommend this shop, as they have spectacular customer service and selection.

  • Rachel says:

    RK Bridal in New York has Plus Size samples in stock. I was able to buy one off the rack as my wedding was less than three months away. Great service as well.

  • Amber Johnson says:

    Hello Lindsey!

    I actually have the pleasure of being a current stylist at a David’s Bridal store in South Carolina. When I started working there the first thing I fell in love with about this company was the fact that we had so many styles available in plus sizes and plenty physically in the store. Being a plus size woman myself, I was pleased to see that even our designer collections such as Oleg Cassini, White by Vera Wang, Truly Zac Posen, Galina Signature, and Melisssa Sweet actually come in sizes up to 26W. Each line may not be in every store depending on the volume of the store but we do have those sizes represented in several styles.

    In my experience as a stylist I have had a few brides that have come into their appointments already discouraged because of previous experiences they had at other bridal salons. Because David’s Bridal has revamped the selection of Curvy styles, I was able to make the bridal shopping experience a pleasurable memory for our brides.

  • Juli says:

    First, if a curvy bride is calling boutiques to see if they have plus size samples, make sure to inquire how many samples there are in the silhouette you’re interested in! One store told me they had 20 gowns in plus sizes, and I was super pumped, but it turned out they only had 5 ballgowns – major disappointment.

    In New Jersey, there’s a store called “The Curvy Bride” that caters to sizes 14 and up, and in Washington, DC there’s also Cherry Blossom Bridal that caters to 12 and up. Both have a variety of designers, good price points, and fabulous atmosphere/staff.

  • Ann Mendoza says:

    My daughter wears a 14 street size. When we went shopping, never thinking they wouldn’t carry her size, she had an absolutely terrible day. On the way home from shopping her cousin was determined to turn this around. She started called bridal shops in our area and other than David’s Bridal, she was unable to find any carrying anything bigger than a 12, which is 10 street size. What she was able to find was a consignment shop that had plenty of dresses in my daughter’s size and much bigger. So, if you don’t have a plus size store nearby, try a consignment store that carries dresses real women have already worn. My daughter bought her dress there. It’s beautiful and she got to try it on. Thanks cousin for not giving up.

  • Burt Warner says:

    Hi Lindsey. My name is Burt and I am the co-owner of Della Curva (www.dellacurva.com) located in Tarzana, CA which is a suburb of Los Angeles. We are a plus-size only bridal salon exclusively catering to curvy full-figured brides sizes 16+. I applaud you for writing this terrific piece on the plus-size bridal community. When you get a chance, please check us out. We have a beautiful boutique filled with gorgeous plus-size designer wedding gowns. And our reputation for stellar customer service is unparalleled . Keep up the good work! Let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you. Burt

  • Tamiko says:

    Hi Lindsey!

    I wanted to contact you in regards to your struggle if plus sizes bridal salon. I an a store manager for a independently owned bridal salon in long beach, California.
    We specialize in sizes 12 and above and we pride ourselves on our customer service for brides who are curvy brides and don’t get the ultimate bridal experience! Not only am I am a manager in the store I am a stylist and it brings so much joy to make sure that the that the curvy brides I encounter have the best experience. So if your recognizing bridal stores that cater to plus size brides I ask that you should really recognize our cause!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.