Selecting Bridal Gowns for a Full Figure

December 10, 2018 10:31 am

A body confident bride rocking a stunning bridal gown on their wedding day is certainly a sight to behold. Ladies deliberating the choice of bridal dress should take note that, designing and creating a bridal gown just right for your size and shape, especially if you are a plus sized bride takes a little bit of extra expertise and professional know-how

Three experienced Bridal designers Melanie Wijesinghe of Melache Bridal Lounge, Kaushi Weddikkaraarachchi of Kaushi’s Bridal Boutique and Su Perera of Calla Bridal Boutique Sri Lanka, share their ideas and experiences dressing plus-sized brides. 

At Melache Bridal Lounge

Melanie launched Melache Bridal Lounge in 2012 and has had many full-figured brides as clients over the years. Melanie, who is the lead designer at Melache notes that they have actually had quite pleasant experiences with plus size brides who are open-minded, flexible and ready to take advise. 

According to Melanie, most brides are concerned about their arms and mid stomach areas and in some cases their bust size too. 

The process of designing for a full figure does involve a bit of trial and error. As Melanie explains,

“One way to nail the best dress for the bride in concern, is to be flexible enough to try out several variations at the initial fit-on to identify the best option for the bride. Hence at Melache, we make sure we make the right decisions at the early fit-ons with regard to some important aspects like the sleeve length, neckline depth, tapering of the skirts etc so that we are confident that the silhouette we are working with will compliment our client.”

There are also colors, fabrics, designs, and silhouettes that are best suited for plus-sized brides. According to Melanie, medium textured fabrics suit well and certain types of satins should be avoided as it is not too flattering. 

High necklines aren't usually flattering and she feels that long sleeves and sleeveless designs are best to be avoided. Mid-length (three-quarter) sleeves with a wider deeper neckline is the best for the upper body. 

Massive voluminous skirts do make a plus size bride look unnecessarily bigger whilst mermaid or fishtail silhouettes are more slimming. 

However, Melanie stresses that one must keep in mind the shape of the bride and not only of her size. For a plus size bride who isn't curvy, it is best to go for a fitted top and a more tapered down A-line flare on the skirt.  

White and ivory are the bridal colors most brides opt for though other pastel hues such as champagne, pink, rose gold etc are also great for plus sized brides. 

Accessorizing to complete the dress is also important. Melanie’s choices include very subtle jewelry, loose soft hairstyles with soft hair flowers instead of tiaras and feels that voluminous curls should be avoided altogether

At Kaushi’s Bridal Boutique

Kaushi Weddikkaraarachchi started Kaushi’s Bridal Boutique in 2012 and is quick to note that she personally sees no difference in plus sized and regular sized brides to be. 

According to Kaushi as a designer, the challenge is the same as all brides simply want to look perfect on their big day and as a bridal boutique owner her job is to provide personalized service for each and every bride regardless of size by taking in to account their likes and dislikes. 

However she did share some of the tried and tested methods and materials that work for full-figured brides. With regard to fabrics, Kaushi relies on thicker fabrics as they are the more forgiving and particularly favors thick satins as they are incredibly effective at smoothing the frame and masking lumps and bumps. 

A-line dresses are a favorite option for Kaushi as it has a way of masking hips and thighs without adding volume. A plunging V Neckline which shows off a little bit of the bust line is also an option to try. In terms of color, pastel hues are what Kaushi favors. 

According to Kaushi the choice of hairstyle is important. “The trick is to create a look which is puffy and full which makes the bride’s head appear large enough to be more in proportion to the body”. 

Creating this balance is an important way to create an overall silhouette for the bride. If a bride wants dramatic jewelry it should probably be only bling earrings and in general small sized, dainty, well-made jewelry is the way to go for most brides. 

At Calla Bridal Boutique

Calla Bridal Boutique has been in operation for 8 years and since it opened its doors in 2010, it has seen an increase in body confident plus sized girls coming in looking for bridal wear, according to its owner Su Perera. 

For Su, the combination of lace with satin, silk, and taffeta creates a timeless look which she favors.

“Using lace is a great way to keep a dress elegant. Lace is a perfect fabric to use for the bust and continue onto the sleeves since it is delicate. I like using thicker fabrics such as satin, silk, and taffeta because that gives me the opportunity to have a corseted fit from bust to waist on plus size dresses that accentuate the bride’s figure. As for color, it is always best to go with a shade that suits your skin tone, regardless of body size” explained Su. 

Su also explained some tried and tested tricks dress designers use to slim and accentuate plus size and curvy physiques. She was exposed to a vibrant plus sized wedding gown industry during the years she spent in the US where she obtained her BA in fashion design.

“when designing plus size wedding dresses, I always recommend a dress with a shape. Having a shape, especially at the high waist where the waistline is the smallest, is very flattering. From the high waist, it’s common to have an a-line ‘bell’ shape or a ball gown skirt. I also recommend a mermaid shape for plus size brides, especially if they are tall, as it creates a slimming look. A mermaid shape accentuates the bust and back, giving off an hourglass figure. I also use pleats and ruffles; these are clever ways of using fabric to conceal and create more room. Pleats going up and down from the waist seam from one side or a peplum design are very flattering as well“ explained Su. 

Su feels that hair, accessories, and make-up really don’t have to be tailored to body size.

“It should be flattering and should complete the overall look of the bride with her dress. I always advise brides to choose a look that complements the dress and will bring out the beauty they see in themselves so they radiate confidence on their big day” she explains. 

About the author

- Surekha Jayasinghe

Surekha jayasinghe is a freelance writer. A storyteller at heart she feels the best part of the job is being able to connect with new people, learning new things and growing as a writer with every piece of work she authors. She divides her time between her writing and her family.