Lots of brides ask us about where to find plus size wedding dresses. When most bridal boutiques only stock sample sizes up to a 12 or 14, the idea of shopping for a plus size wedding dress can be extremely daunting. Pair that with the fact that historically, plus size wedding dresses weren’t as stylish, sexy or modern as ‘straight sized’ gowns, it all takes the shine off what should be a fun and exciting experience. Thankfully times have changed, there are more boutiques offering plus size wedding dress collections and more inclusive samples than ever before, and the dresses themselves reflect contemporary bridal trends. So to help you find a gown that makes you look, and feel, gorgeous, we’ve put together tips for finding a plus size wedding dress, a list of plus size bridal designers, and plus size bridal boutiques in Ireland.
Tips for Shopping for a Plus Size Wedding Dress
We’re using words like ‘straight size’ and ‘plus size’ throughout this guide – they’re terms we hate having to use BTW (there shouldn’t have to be different rules for different bodies, right?), but it’s the easiest way to clarify what we’re talking about!
- While there are some fashion forward plus size bridal brands, alas many ‘curve brands’ still offer only dated, or overly fussy styles for plus size brides. Don’t be put off, there are sexy/boho/vintage/glamorous dresses out there for every bride, you might just have to do your research. Hopefully this guide will help!
- There are lots of great dedicated plus size bridal boutiques (get the details on some of our fave Irish ones below!), which are a fantastic place to start your search. Shopping in a plus size boutique gives you a better selection of samples you can definitely try on, their teams are also experienced in working with brides of all shapes and sizes, so if you’re nervous, it’ll likely make for a more relaxing shopping experience.
- Of course, any bride is also entitled to check out any boutique she wants, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Unless they have dedicated plus size collections, most boutiques have just one sample for each dress. Unlike mainstream fashion, it’s not a size 4, a bridal sample is generally a 12 or 14. Whether you’re a size 8 or a size 28, it’s not ideal (unless you happen to fit the sample size!), but due to the cost of samples, many boutiques are restricted in their stock. Boutiques do however have all sorts of magic contraptions and clips to pull and tuck you into a sample gown to give you a vision for what your dress will look like.
- As most designers make their dresses to order, many ‘straight size’ dresses can actually be ordered in almost any size – obviously it’s preferential that you try the dress on first, which you may not be able to – but it is something to keep in mind if you have your heart set on a particular dress.
- If you do know the dress you want to try on, call ahead, and the boutique will let you know what size their sample is, and they’ll have a good idea if trying it on will work for you. Strapless dresses for example, might be easier to try on in broader range of sizes than a sample dress with say, fitted sleeves.
- Likewise, if there’s a particular boutique you want to visit, ring ahead and have a chat first to make sure you’re comfortable ahead of your appointment.
- Listen to your boutique’s advice, bridal advisors really know their stuff, be open-minded about the gowns they suggest, or listen if they discourage you from trying on a sample that they know is too small (read: they’ve seen it before!). Also on the flip side, let them know if you’re not comfortable coming out of the dressing room in a certain gown or trying on a particular dress they’ve suggested.
- Alterations are your best friend – remember unlike a dress you pick up on the high street, your wedding dress will be made and tailored for your body, and will show it off in all its glory! Your seamstress/seamster will ensure your dress fits perfectly on your wedding day.
- Many made-to-order dresses can often be adapted to your requirements, so if you love the dress, but would prefer it with longer sleeves, less back showing, or a modesty panel on the cleavage, let your boutique know and they can suggest possible changes within the designer’s remit.
- Choose your shopping buddies wisely, its not always a good idea to bring your entire bridal party to your fittings. Bring your closest pals, a sister or your mum, (or go it alone if that’s your bag!) just make sure, whoever you bring, they’re the kind of people who boost your confidence, and who you’re comfortable around.
- Stay true to your personal style. Being plus size doesn’t mean you have to settle on a dress you don’t love, or compromise your style just to find something that fits. Be firm if anyone suggests you opt for something that doesn’t feel like ‘you’.
- Remember you can always opt for custom made. If you have something particular in mind that you just aren’t finding, why not get your wedding dress made to measure for you? We have a list of bespoke wedding dress designers here!
- Likewise, if you love a particular designer, and have access to their studio or flagship store (these are often in cities like New York, London, etc), you may be able to try a broader selection of samples, or have one of their designs adapted for you.
- Don’t tolerate rudeness or body shaming. Unfortunately, we have heard stories of brides being made feel uncomfortable in their shopping experience. Most staff in bridal boutiques are amazing, and will go above and beyond to help you find your dress, but if you do encounter someone who suggests you lose weight for your wedding, or who makes you feel like you’re not as entitled as anyone else to feel gorgeous on your big day, don’t accept it – and walk out if you need to!
- If you don’t feel represented, shout about it! Thankfully many brands are listening to customers’ requests for broader size ranges and more inclusive imagery to celebrate body diversity. But if you don’t see size inclusivity in your favourite bridal designers, get in touch with the brand and let them know!
Dedicated Plus Size Wedding Dress Collections
Allure Bridals have been making plus size wedding dresses long before size inclusivity became ‘cool’. Their vast collection features ornate beading, floral appliqués, dramatic backs and beautiful silhouettes.
Watters, Wtoo & Willowby
Watters, and its offshoot brands Wtoo and Willowby offer their full selection of wedding dresses in US sizes 00–32W, with tall and petite options too in a mixture of classic and more contemporary styles. These brands are stocked in lots of boutiques around Ireland and internationally.
Curve by Catherine Deane
Designer Catherine Deane has recently launched her Curve collection of mix-and-match separates ‘made for babes blessed with extra curves!’
An extension of the renowned Pronovias wedding dress group, White One Plus wedding dresses stand out for their beautiful fits and high quality materials. Think elegant ballgowns and pretty lace details. White One is stocked in lots of UK and Irish boutiques, including Smart Brides and Curvy Chic.
Available in size 0 to 26, The Helios Collection by Canadian bridal brand Laudae features timeless, figure-hugging silhouettes with gorgeous added detail, including super fine sequins and pearl embellishment.
True Bride Curve Collection features a broad selection of gowns, with a glamorous feel in UK sizes 18-36. True Curves is stocked in lots of boutiques throughout the UK and in Ireland, including Belladonna Bridal in Galway.
Karen Willis Holmes
Karen Willis Holmes Curve wedding dresses are available in sizes AUS 14-24. Gowns designed to accentuate rather than hide your figure, they’re modern, sexy and super stylish.
Emanuel Hendrik is a German bridal designer who has become renowned for his mix and match design technique. He has now adapted his range into a curve collection of bridal separates up to an EU size 50, which can be paired together to create your own dream look.
Designed to make you feel like a total babe, Studio Levana’s plus size bridal collection is filled with everything from playful gowns, with plunging necklines, to dreamy boho dresses with off-the-shoulder lacework.
Chosen by One Day
The Chosen by One Day curve collection features a line-up of stunning, sophisticated, statement wedding dresses for a plus size bride with a killer sense of style.
Maggie Sottero and offshoots, Sottero & Midgley and Rebecca Ingram all have stunning curve collection lookbooks, crammed with heart-stopping gorgeous dresses.
Therese und Luise
If your style is more cool, minimal and modern, you’ll love Therese und Luise’s curve collection with its simple, Scandi-style separates.
At Halfpenny London, there is no curve collection because every piece is available in every size. They also carry a range of samples in their London store up to a UK 18 to try on, but if you’re bigger than an 18 the wonderful team will still be able to fit these samples to your body and make you look and feel amazing. We absolutely love their bridal jumpsuits!
Essense of Australia
Filled with romantic embellishments and classic silhouettes, Essense of Australia is a chic option for brides looking for an elegant, plus size wedding dress. They are stocked in lots of boutiques internationally, including Pearls and Lace in Ireland.
All Alexandra Grecco wedding dresses run in US sizes 00-20, with some gowns available to order in split sizing (eg. 16 bust and waist and a 20 hip). A New York-based bridal studio, the designer’s signature style is contemporary, romantic, and luxurious.
Morilee Julietta Collection
The Julietta Collection by Morilee is filled to the brim with gorgeous plus size wedding dresses with dreamy detailing and romantic silhouettes.
Rembo Styling Embrace Collection
Rembo Styling have created the Embrace Collection, featuring gorgeous boho gowns with dainty laces and clever dress details for added comfort.
Blush by Hayley Paige
Hayley Paige has long been our go-to for ultra-feminine, playful wedding dresses, and the fact that she’s created a selection of size-inclusive styles is music to our ears.
American bridal designer Anne Barge has created a new Anne Barge Curve Couture line, a size-inclusive collection available through trunk shows in sample sizes 16 and up.
New Zealand bridal brand Daisy by Katie Yeung have launched their Curve offshoot with a gorgeous selection of gowns that are chic, modern and range from pretty and playful to ultra sexy.
Since launching their first curve collaboration a few years ago, Theia has been featuring a more diverse selection of models on their catwalks. Headed up by Irish designer, Don O’Neill, they’re definitely a collection to look to for a broader selection of sizes without skipping out on style.
Believing that no woman should feel penalized for her gorgeous curves, the entire Rebecca Schoneveld bridal collection is available in a full range of sizes (00-30) with no additional charges for where the measuring tape falls. That means all of their designs can be made in any size (so feel free to peruse the entire collection!).
Plus Size Bridal Boutiques in Ireland
Curvy Chic, Belfast
With top designers like Studio Levana and Pronovias White One, and a selection of dresses in sizes 14-44, the highly-trained team at Curvy Chic will ensure you don’t have to choose between fashion and fit. Visit curvychicbridal.com
Belladonna Bridal, Galway City
The team at Belladonna are dedicated to making wedding dress shopping an enjoyable experience. The boutique stocks a carefully curated collection of dresses in sizes 18-32. Visit belladonnagalway.com
Smart Brides, Portlaoise
Offering both off-the-rack and made-to-order wedding dresses, Smart Brides stocks an extensive plus size selection with options for everyone from sizes 2-32. Visit smartbrides.ie
Love Ellie Bridal, Virginia, Co. Cavan
Stocking a curated selection of plus size gowns by Stella York, Martina Liana, Pronovias, Justin Alexander and more, Love Ellie Bridal in Cavan is a must-visit for plus size brides. Visit loveelliebridal.com
The White Room, Mullingar
A fantastic collection of bridal gowns offering a range of designers to suit every type of bride and budget. The White Room also stock a curated selection of the Embrace Collection by Rembo Styling. Visit thewhiteroom.ie
Pearls and Lace, Donegal
Looking for a plus size wedding dress in the North West of Ireland? Pearls and Lace is great place to start your search, with brands like Essense of Australia and Watters. Visit pearlsandlace.ie
Custom Wedding Dress Designers in Ireland
Sarah Foy Couture, Dublin
Brides can choose gowns from Sarah Foy Couture’s own beautiful collection, or work with the designer to create their very own dream dress. Visit sarahfoycouture.com
Bespoke Bridal, Dublin
Allowing you to design your wedding dress, your way, Niamh is bringing high end, custom made-to-measure bridal design to the Irish market offering options outside of the ‘norm’. Visit bespokebridal.ie
Not Another White Dress, Dublin and Waterford
Having worked in the fashion industry in London, Ireland and Australia for more than a decade, designer Carolyn O’Sullivan returned to Ireland in 2020 and created her range, Not Another White Dress, for the bride looking for something different. Visit www.notanotherwhitedress.ie
Margaret Coyne Couture, Cavan
Margaret Coyne believes that every bride deserves a couture experience when looking for her dream dress. Visit www.margaretcoynecouture.ie
A Final Pep Talk
When we featured Rebecca, the gorgeous owner of Curvy Chic Bridal as a real bride (pictured above, check out her fab Belfast wedding here!), she shared a message for other brides that we couldn’t conclude this guide without relaying!
“As a plus size bride, I’d like to assure my fellow plus size brides to be, you will feel beautiful, I know it can be scary and we often dodge photos where we can, but I love my pictures, even though you can see my double chin and bingo wings, I adore the joy and love you can feel from our pictures. I promise you, your partner adores you just how you are, and there are amazing, modern and beautiful dresses out there in sample sizes that will fit and suit you. Don’t let being plus size stop you from loving every minute of planning your day.”
Get more tips for wedding dress shopping and finding plus size bridesmaid dresses
Listen to our podcast episode with Louise McSharry about why you don’t have to lose weight for your wedding here.