Shopping for a wedding gown can be a harrowing experience for any bride. But when you’re a full figured bride, the pressure is on. For the best advice in the business, we turned to the ultimate Friend of the Bride – TLC’s Randy Fenoli, who has helped countless plus-sized women find their dress.
“Every single women I’ve ever met shares the fear and anxiety that she won’t find the right wedding dress,” says Randy. “And to tell you the truth, there is a real lack of plus-size samples in bridal salons, which can be a huge issue for full figured brides. They may have to buy a dress based on a picture or just by holding it up in front of them.”
But the industry is changing and salons are becoming more aware of the need to have a greater selection of sizes for all brides, and especially plus-size brides.
- Call salons before you visit – don’t just show up and discover that there are no dresses in your size.
- Allow your consultant to suggest dresses. For example, I know immediately what looks good on each bride because I can see up to 25 brides in a 90-minute period. Consultants know which dresses are cut more generously and which are more flattering for brides with broad shoulders or wider hips.
- Try things on – it’s impossible to fit every bride into a category based on her body type and then recommend a certain silhouette for that category. Every body is different, and every designer’s dresses are made with different patterns.
- Avoid dresses with tiny details and patterns of lace. Instead, look for a larger lace pattern or a large hand-rolled rose. The important thing is proportion.
- Bring along a support person who will look out for your best interests.
- It’s the bride’s responsibility to set the ground rules. Let everyone know your budget, tell them what you are looking for, and ask them to be sensitive to your feelings when making comments.
You will know when you’ve found the one. I can always tell when a bride has found her dress because her body language changes: she will stand taller, look at herself in the mirror and smile. You can see her confidence and that confidence is what makes her beautiful.
Randy is filming season nine of Say Yes to the Dress and season two of Randy to the Rescue. His book, It’s All About The Dress, is in bookstores now.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Spring/Summer 2013.