There’s a scene in an episode of ‘Miranda’ where she ends up trying on a wedding dress. Initially she can’t even face saying her real size (20) and mumbles that she wears a ‘ten-ty’. Then she appears in the one dress available in a ten-ty: a puffy monstrosity that looks like it hasn’t seen the light of day since 1981.
Now what’s really sad about this, is that although all done for comedic effect, it’s actually, painfully accurate. It seems that if you’re above a certain size, (usually a 16 or 18), bridal shops simply don’t cater for you. If you’re ‘lucky’ enough that they do, then it’s often the one dress that has been in stock for generations; and that no-one would want to be seen wearing in the dark, let alone on their wedding day.
I spent many years dreaming of my wedding dress; as many of us do. I also always envisaged myself as being thin. I mean, there’s no way anyone could love a fat girl, right? And that’s the clear message we get from bridal shops – you’re only worthy of true love and looking beautiful if you’re under a certain size. Well I was lucky enough to find someone who loved me just as I am, but I couldn’t face the humiliation of walking into a bridal shop and have them look me up and down in disgust. I had too much of that shopping with my friends as a teen – back then you were lucky if clothes shops went up to a 16, so when I walked in to a high street chain you could almost here the entire shop recoil in disgust. Sadly, I’m not even exaggerating. So when it came to searching for the perfect wedding dress I chickened out of risking the shops and looked online instead.
Even online it wasn’t completely straightforward. Searching ‘plus size wedding dress’ brought up a myriad of results, which, on further inspection, were false. I ended up getting my dress from China, via Amazon. Talk about a risk. Plus no glamour, and no excitement of trying on beautiful dresses to find The One. Yes it was my choice, but it didn’t feel like a choice I should have to make. I should be able to have the wedding dress experience just like any other bride-to-be without the worry of shame and humiliation hanging over me.
Fortunately, since my wedding dress hunt in 2013, things have already started changing for the better. There are now bridal boutiques dedicated to the curvy and plus size bride in existence, as well as more bridal boutiques stocking more gowns in larger sizes. One such place is The Bridal Loft in Newry, Northern Ireland. I had the recent pleasure of meeting the owner, Bernie. She is one of those wonderful people who just wants to help and please. As far as she’s concerned, size doesn’t matter – whether you are a size 8, 18, or 28, all Bernie wants is to make you feel beautiful for your special day. Add 25 years of bridal knowledge & experience to that and you can’t go wrong. For the money I spent getting my dress altered (because they never look or fit like they do in the photos), I wish I had hopped on a plane and paid The Bridal Loft a visit!
Better still, The Bridal Loft have now teamed up with The Curvy Gurl to bring you all the latest curvy bridal wear to one online place meaning not only do you not have to trawl through pages of beautiful dresses that you can’t have because they only come in small sizes, but, if you can’t travel to Northern Ireland, they will source your chosen dress at a bridal shop near to you, or they can ship it directly to you. Now that’s the kind of service you want!
So if you’ve got a wedding coming up, fear not. Yes there’s still a long way to go when it comes to plus size bridal wear, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. If you’re prepared to do a bit of hunting and/or travelling it is possible to find your dream dress along with a feel-good service.
More than anything though, remind your self that you’re good enough, just as you are. We all want to look and feel our best on our wedding day, and if for you that means shedding a few pounds, go ahead, but remember: you have someone who is head over heels in love with you, who thinks you’re bloody gorgeous just as you are, and regardless of the dress size of your wedding dress, they will think you are the most beautiful person they have ever seen when you walk down that aisle to them.
Bridal Loft FB page: https://www.facebook.com/bridalloft.newry
Bridal Loft website: http://bridalloftnewry.com/
Curvy Gurl Bridal: http://www.thecurvygurl.com/curvy-bridal/