**Warning: Superfluous pictures of myself in bridal gowns are ahead. I promise I’m not a narcissist.
Here’s the deal, people: Searching for “the dress” was toward the absolute, very bottom of the wedding priority list for me.
I guess I’ve just never been the type of girl who daydreamed about “the dress.” Even after getting engaged I was more concerned with paper products and reception decor than what I would be wearing on my wedding day. And that’s cool. Our guests are getting mailed some pretty kick-ass DIY invites (at least I think they’re awesome!) I’m a plus-sized bride with a pretty distinct pear shape so I figured my options would be fairly limited, anyway. The only stipulations I had on whatever gown I ended up getting were 1) it must have straps, 2) it must be pure white (at Mr. A’s request) and 3) it must have some kind of train. Secretly I hoped to find a gown with some kind of lace on it, and considering my body shape I figured I’d play it safe with an A-line silhouette.
With these ideas in mind, my very first plan was to get a replica gown made from Jasmine’s Bridal Shop. These guys do BEAUTIFUL work, particularly with lace gowns, and with a limited budget of around $500 for my dress, I knew there was no way I would be able to get my dream of a lace gown without going the replica route. However, just for the sake of the dress shopping “experience,” Mama Dillo took me and Lil Dillo to a few local bridal shops for a fun girls’ day out, just to try dresses on and, you know, figure out what I wanted when it came to ordering the replica.
We started our dress shopping adventure in the good ol’ small town of El Campo, Texas, about 45 minutes away from home. We stopped first at a small bridal boutique called “Cupid’s Corner.” The woman who owns the place is in her 70’s and is very sweet, but it was clear that she had a lot of outdated dresses in stock, and not a whole lot of plus-sized samples to try on. I did get to slip on a couple, and just the feeling of putting on a wedding dress for the FIRST TIME EVER was pretty exciting.
The first dress I put on was this little number: a dropped waist, ivory satin gown with ruching around the waist and lacy cap sleeves. This was a big moment for me, because I suddenly realized something very important:
Straps make me look like a linebacker. (Cue stink face.)
I also realized that ivory dresses look really nice against my skin tone, so although Mr. A requested a pure white dress (“because we earned it!” he said, haha) I was open to the idea of maybe getting an ivory or off-white dress, instead.
With my hopes of wearing straps going completely out the window, we also tried on this strapless, dropped waist number with a sweetheart neckline:
It was nice, but didn’t quite give me the hourglass figure I was hoping. It was also INCREDIBLY HEAVY.
Since those were the only two plus-sized samples the lady had in the store, we took our search elsewhere and stopped in at another bridal boutique in town called “New Beginnings.” You guys, for a small town dress shop, this place was HUGE. And they literally had like 30 dresses in my size to try on. It was amazing! To top it off, the owner, Michele, was super helpful and attentive without being overbearing. She let us pull however many dresses we wanted and my mom helped me into each one. Michele and the other owner, Ruby, gave feedback on each dress I came out in, which I thought was awesome considering many of the ones they liked were actually some of the more inexpensive ones I had pulled. It made me feel like they weren’t as concerned with making money as they were with making sure I left with something I looked good in.
However, some of these dresses looked pretty awful on me. Observe:
However, with the bad also came the good. Here are a couple we all really liked:
Here’s the deal: There was one dress at this store that EVERYONE had an incredibly positive, strong reaction to. In fact, Lil Dillo started crying when I walked out of the dressing room with it on! It made my waist look super tiny, it had beautiful buttons down the back, and had a gorgeous, simple train. The issue was, we didn’t go into the store on that day with the intent to purchase; rather, we wanted to try things on to help me decide what I would be ordering via Jasmine’s Bridal Shop! I left the store feeling incredibly conflicted, and mostly just confused.
For some reason, I couldn’t get the “cry” dress (which is what we appropriately called it) out of my mind. The weird thing was, it had hardly any of the specifications I originally set out to find: it was an ivory/off-white color, it was strapless, and there was no lace on it, whatsoever. What made matters worse was that the gown (which is a Bonny Bridal gown, btw) was discontinued, which meant if I wanted it I would have to buy the sample I tried on at the store (which was no big deal, because it fit like a glove.) Michele, the store owner, agreed to hold it in the back for one week so I could think it over. I was kind of concerned because even though I really liked it, I didn’t have that “oh my gosh, this is the one!” moment. (Brides are supposed to have that when they find the dress, right?)
In the meantime, we went back home and stopped at one last bridal shop on the way, called “A Promise and a Kiss.” I told myself if I couldn’t find anything better in this store that I would go ahead and get the “cry” dress. Turns out they only had two plus-sized samples for me to try on, and neither was an a-line silhouette.
Here’s the weird part, though–I tried on two fit and flares, and ladies, I was SURPRISED by how I looked! Not only did they flatter my figure, they accentuated my curves in a way I never thought possible. See for yourself:
To save you all the suspense, in the end I called the lady back at “New Beginnings” in El Campo and officially made the Bonny Bridal gown mine. And the more I look at it, the more confident I am in my decision. It’s simple, but has some intricacy along the bodice that I love. The buttons down the back are infinitely romantic, and it’s super flattering to my figure. It’s not a true, pure white but I seriously doubt Mr. A will care once I’m walking down the aisle in it. Most importantly, I feel great in it, AND it comes in at my budget. Success!
I don’t want to share pictures of my dress because I want to keep things a surprise, but maybe a little teaser photo would be okay?
Although I didn’t have that overwhelming, joyful, “SYTTD” moment, I’m confident I made the right decision. Now I just have to wait four and a half more months before I can wear it!
What was your dress search like? Was finding the dress high on your priority list or near the bottom? Did you have “the moment”? For my fellow plus-sized brides out there, was finding plus-sized samples to try on an issue for you?