I don’t know who wrote the script on wedding dress shopping, but sometimes I wonder if they’ve ever actually tried on a wedding dress? The expectation is that once you’re in the salon, you’ll stop being the everyday version of yourself, and become the bridal version of yourself, floating around on a cloud of tulle, magically unfazed by any of your insecurities, until you find the one. In reality wedding dress shopping can be a really vulnerable experience. I think most of us are just trying to figure out what the heck is going to be flattering and fun to dance in, praying that no one pulls a weird face about the one we like. And when you’re a plus-size bride, that process is even more complicated.
As a plus-size woman, I often find it difficult to find the simplest of clothing—so shopping for a wedding gown felt like a gargantuan undertaking. Beyond the pressure to find the dress, I felt some insecurity about shopping as a plus-size bride. Would I even be able to find a gown? Would I be able to try anything on? Where are all the plus-size ladies buying their wedding gowns in the first place?
The good news is the industry is starting to change, and things are starting to get so much better. So I was thrilled when Mon Cheri Bridals invited us to share some of their newest plus-size wedding dresses. Because it’s clear that Mon Cheri does not follow the practice that plus size = less than awesome. I mean, this dress alone, meow:
What I appreciate the most about Mon Cheri is that their plus-size line is not a separate entity made up of not-anywhere-near-as-good gowns. In fact, the majority of my favorite dresses on their site are available up to a size 26W or 28W (and they have some of the best long-sleeve dresses I’ve ever seen). So today I’m sharing thirteen of my favorite Mon Cheri Bridals dresses that are available in plus sizes. But before I get into it, here are a few tips to help make the dress shopping experience a good one:
Choose a store that will treat you like a boss: The struggle of finding a plus-size wedding dress is that many bridal salons don’t carry plus-size samples in store. But there are a few things you can do to ensure you have an empowering shopping experience. First, Google is your friend here. Before you call for an appointment, check out the salon’s website and see if they carry brands that are size inclusive. Then when you call, don’t hesitate to ask if they have plus-size samples available to try on. But if you really want to stack the deck in your favor, then look for a salon that caters exclusively to plus-size brides (yes they exist!). I was actually able to find one just looking through Mon Cheri’s blog for real plus-size brides, and then clicking to see where they shopped for their own gowns.
Look for brides who look like you: It’s so much easier to tell what a wedding dress will look like if you can see it on a non-model human. I spent hours looking at “real wedding” features of brides that looked like me and hunting down their wedding gowns. Looking at Mon Cheri’s blog, it’s clear that they know how to design dresses for curvy women; it was actually really refreshing to see so much body diversity in their real weddings. So scroll through recent blog posts and see what speaks to you, and Google around if you want to see the dress on someone who doesn’t smize for a living. Then write the dress style down and bring it with you to the salon.
give yourself permission to try on anything: When you’ve spent your life feeling rejected for your body shape, it’s easy to go into dress shopping feeling defensive and like you don’t want to take any risks. I know that I tend to fall into the trap of I don’t feel like standing here while someone tries to figure out how to navigate my body shape, so I’m just going to stick with what I know works. But wedding dresses will surprise you! The thing you thought you loved might not work at all, and the dress you’d never in a million years try on might be the one that makes your heart sing. I know this because that was my exact experience when wedding dress shopping. The key is to find a salesperson who is on Team You, and then give yourself over to the process. If you’re working with a good salon and a knowledgeable sales rep, then trying on a dress that is unflattering (or a few) won’t feel quite so significant. (Because, spoiler alert: Everyone tries on dresses that make them go .) And pro-tip: You don’t have to walk out with a dress just because you went into the store. Wedding dress shops are all different and cater to the tastes of the people running them, so if you don’t find something you love at the first one, the next one might have a completely different selection.
Know that you are way more than a number: When you do partake in shopping for your gown, your one goal should be to find a dress that you love and feel fabulous in. And remember, bridal sizing does not always equal street sizing. So after you find that dress and your sales consultant takes your measurements to order your gown, you may not love the number that corresponds to the size she tells you to order. But know this: the number on your gown does not define who you are. On your wedding day, your guests will see how beautiful you are, not the size of your gown. And really that’s all that matters, right?
So with all that said, here are some of my favorite dresses from Mon Cheri Bridals, all available in plus sizes. (Note: Mon Cheri is in the process of building their plus-size dress image gallery, so some of these feature straight-size models, even though they come in plus sizes as well. But the dresses were just too good to not show you.)
Y’all, this is what it looks like when tulle is done right. Plus, that illusion top gives you all the flattering angles of a sweetheart neckline, without having to pull your dress up all night. Double win. (Sophia Tolli Y11866 “Adonia” – Available in sizes 0–28)
About those sleeves though. This dress is begging to be worn at your bohemian backyard bash with a big old headpiece and an oversized bouquet. (Modest Mon Cheri TR11831 – Available in sizes 0–20, 18W–26W)
There’s a wedding at Jay Gatsby’s house, and you’re invited. Just kidding, don’t go to that party. But do wear this dress if you love a red lip and old Hollywood glamour. (Sophia Tolli Y11892 “Galene” – Available in sizes 0–28)
I respect that not everyone is going to be into the version of this dress with the detachable layered tulle train above. If you’re looking for the less extra version, this is your winner. (Sophia Tolli Y11883 “Olympia” – Available in sizes 0–28)
Someone needs to get married in this pink floral ball gown and send us pictures. (Martin Thornburg 117283 “Orabelle” – Available in sizes 0–20, 18W–26W)
If you want sleeves but don’t want to be fully covered up, I’m loving this illusion sleeve style I’m starting to see all over the place. It’s sexy in a way you could still get away with at a traditional church ceremony. (Modest Mon Cheri TR11838 – Available in sizes 0–20)
Not all dresses need to go big or go home. This style is just the right amount of embellishment, without distracting from the main event (aka you). Plus, do I detect a silhouette you could wear a normal bra in? Because, goals. (Sophia Tolli Y11874 “Artemis” – Available in sizes 0–28)
If you want a romantic dress that doesn’t scream “princess,” then skip the ball gown and go for this appliquéd number. (Sophia Tolli Y11898 “Maia” – Available in sizes 0–28)
File under: sleeves are even better when they come with a side of bling and cool belt to help break up your look. (Modest Mon Cheri TR11833 – Available in sizes 0–20, 18W–26W)
Classic silhouette, updated for 2018. Sweetheart neckline? Check. Illusion panel to keep everything in place? Double check. Delicate embellishment and the kind of tulle skirt that makes you want to swish the night away? Check and check. (Sophia Tolli Y11866 “Adonia” – Available in sizes 0–28)