Thursday 2 August 2012

Let's talk (big) Bridal...

It's been a while since I have posted anything here about our forthcoming Wedding... and it really is forthcoming, now, only 7 weeks away! (yikes, how did THAT happen!)

I have been mulling over whether to blog about this or not, but it's something that I have really come up against when putting together my look for the Wedding, and I'm just going to say it, it's not easy being a plus size bride!!! Sometimes, it just feels like an uphill struggle! 

I am 6ft tall, in my flats, and wear a size 22/24 UK (yes, I said it) and it is impossible to find any inspiring, beautiful images of brides online that I can relate to... plenty that I relate to in terms of their style, absolutely, but not in terms of their shape and size. I found myself scanning pinterest for a 'chunkier' lady to see what I might look like dressed head-to-toe in the kind of pale tones I usually avoid...and when I found someone in the sea of size 6's, they were probably a 12/14 MAX, and that scared me a little... if they looked 'chunky' in their bridal whites, am I going to look like moby-dick?! I did a fair bit of internal crying at this stage...

I would love, love, to be like these uber-fashion bloggers who are part of the 'fat-acceptance movement' (where basically, they dress as if they weren't bigger, and have no issue wearing raised hemlines, exposing their skin etc and areas that would normally be expected to be covered up if you're bigger) but I'm not... I like to dress to really flatter my body shape, and like to dress to make myself look smaller (if possible). There are parts I like to draw attention away from, and parts I would NEVER expose.

To this end, I am designing my own wedding dress and having Ryan's talented aunt, Lynne, make it for me -- but, this lack of beautiful larger, taller, curvier, chunkier brides is so missing for me online it did make me quake in my size 9's a little... oh yeah, I have massive feet too, so this makes bridal shoe shopping equally gruelling!

I just thought I would throw this out there - there is SUCH a lack of appropriate, inspiring, beautiful dresses and shoes for someone my size and height, it just rather takes the fun out of that side of things. I'll never have that moment in a bridal shop, or quirky vintage boutique, of finding 'the dress' because I frankly don't want a sleeveless, backless, corseted job and can't fit in to a size 6 dress for someone who is 5ft1" tall... granted, the road I am on may end up more fun in the end, and indeed give better results, but it's a difficult one no less and one that has made me wish for a magic lamp to rub to shrink myself a good half foot on more than one occasion! ;))

Does anyone else out there relate?!
Abigail xo!


krista (wed by hand) said...

I'm not currently in the market for a wedding dress, but wanted to say hear, hear, Abigail! You hit the nail on the head. I am loosely associated with the wedding industry (in that I run an indie wedding show called Wed By Hand), and I'm always so sad to see how few fantastic options are out there for plus sized brides. Maybe you should start a line...A&R: The Bridal Collection! ;)

abigail*ryan said...

Thanks Krista! You know... that is a really tempting idea ;))

Janet said...

I totally related to this, I avoided going wedding dress shopping for fear of being humiliated and not being able to fit in anything. So I didn't. I found a talented friend who agreed to make me a dress and I just didn't know what the hell I wanted because I had nothing to relate to. The worry made me get quite stressed and I started to lose weight with worry. I got nowhere with the designing and basically broke down in tears and frustration 3 weeks before the wedding. Sean phoned a friend who dragged me around cheaters wedding shops the following day. Much to my surprise a few fitted, and I actually felt marvellous they pulled in and nipped and tucked in places I would never have dreamt could look flattering. I was a size 16/18 at the time, and I found the dress off the peg which I wore and felt great in. I also found a great cape to hide my hideous bingo wings and hey presto. I take my hat off to you for writing ths blog because it is hard to admit to being a bigger lady. If i remember rightly you have fabulous legs and are quite a babe, you know how to dress well, highlight your fabulous face and hair and be proud. I understand your frustration and anguish, I truly do but dont for a minute let it affect your day. You aremarrying a fabulous man who clearly adores you, every inch of you and that is what is truly important. Stand in those size 9's and be proud, you beautiful girl xxxx

abigail*ryan said...

Janet... you're a doll ;) thank you!

I think I'll be fine, I would just love for ALL ladies around the world to be able to decide what style/look is their taste and be able to realise it, like their more slender sisters! I don't want to change me (well, not any more than usual-haha) but more how I can feel part of the bridal industry and connect to it during the 'fun' planning stages!

You looked STUNNING in your dress, so I am very much inspired by you! Beginning to look forward to it now, anyway, and have moved through this angst, but good to talk about it and put it out there!!
lots of love, XO

greenrabbitdesigns said...

You will be a beautiful bride Abigail and you will have your own unique dress and not one of thoses off the peg dresses that get wheeled out wedding after wedding.
Believe me you are not missing anything trawling through bridal boutiques having done so with my daughter. She is a size 8 but found nothing that she liked every shop was just the 'same old, same old'. She too is having her dress made so that she have exactly what she wants and not what someone else thinks she wants.
So stand up and be proud, you will be your own bride!!
Vivienne x

Janet said...

I personally cannot wait to see your wedding photos. Just looking through your pinterest wedding folder makes me want to squeal.....and do it all again. That first blog is going to make me cry, of that I know xxx

Malinda said...

first off - kudos to you for doing the whole "wedding" thing. I couldn't - I opted for a private ceremony and no drama, stress or $$.

I, also, am 6 feet tall - I wear size 11 (US) shoes. Even though I am only a size 10 (US - 12UK) forget it - I have to try EVERYTHING on. It's horrible!

I love your site and have been following you for years. congrats on the big day and for voicing your concerns about the awful options for larger sizes.

Mama V said...

How did the wedding get so close?!

I found my dress on the formal dress clearance rack after the formal prom season was over (I'm in NY).

Look to alternate sources. "Bridal boutiques" caused me to gag. My shoes are another story: They were a size too small and I took them off at the reception.

If you can wear a US size 13, I'll send my dress over lickety split.

Miss Dot said...

I was engaged once, only for 5 months before I called it off but I remember what it was like, all that "bridal industry" format of how you should look. For inspiration forget colour foremost.. look at dresses you have worn in the past, or by celebs to the Oscars, see what elements on them work, see a dress as a dress, then work out if it will work in a pastel, and hey if it doesn't, there is nothing wrong with going with a colour that flatters you, you will look beautiful because you are! All the best, you have a lot of support behind you here, we all wish you the best. xx

Tarah Coonan Photography said...

Miss Dot speaks sense - ignore white/ivory/cream and do look for dresses in other colours. That's where your inspiration lies.

There are quite a few shops in London that do wedding dresses 16-34 - however I know how hard it is to find a dress either way and knowing you have to pick from what is still a limited collection must be frustrating, particularly for someone as stylish as you!

As a photographer all I want is a happy, in love couple - and you guys are that. Happiness is the most beautiful thing in the world. You can have a skinny, classically pretty bride who may have a scowl on her face all day, be snapping at her new husband, constantly looking at the camera... but give me happiness and love any day. You both made it easy for me, you were a dream to photograph and I cannot wait to see you in Belfast and photograph your wedding day. I know the choices you make will be perfect for you. It is my job to capture it all, all you have to do is to get married and I know you can't wait to do that part :) xx

Tarah Coonan Photography said...

There have also been these articles that you may find useful/interesting: (the dress at the bottom would suit you down to the ground)

Jules said...


I am not a skinny minnie either so I was quite frustrated by wedding dresses too! I spent a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out what was out there, I knew i definitely didn't want a strapless dress (as I would have been popping out of it) and when i finally went to a dress shop to try on a dress I'd seen online, I was alarmed at how little variety there is - they all seem to be princessy dresses with strapless bodices and sparkles! The dress I got was from a brand called Sincerity Bridal and I know they do plus size dresses, but whether they are any use or not I'm not sure. Whatever you wear you will look fantastic - you obviously know what suits your shape and if you would sooner wear a coloured dress then I think you should! You should also check out and house of brides (both in the states, but they do expedited delivery) as they have a massive selection - if you do eventually find a dress in the shops, you can buy it online for about 1/3 of the price - that's what I did with the bridesmaid dresses! No matter what you wear you are going to have a wonderful day petal! xxx

abigail*ryan said...

Hi everyone - thanks SO much for all the supportive, and kind comments! It's really sweet of you, and it's nice to know many people have the same concerns.

I honestly *am* happy to wear bridal-ish colours, but it was REALLY the lack of inspiring images of other brides that look the way I want to - and in my size - out there, that bothered me.

If the average in the UK is a 16/18, that means that a good chunk of the population is above that... and they are represented NOWHERE in all the beautiful images of weddings we devour on pinterest and on gorgeous wedding blogs! Is this right??

I *know* I could go to a wedding shop and get dresses in my size, but as Tarah so correctly mentioned, it would be a limited choice - and why should you feel limited on your wedding day? Especially if you do have taste and style?!

It's natural to want to look around ahead of picking and see what floats your boat, so I really feel it's THAT part that's lacking in the wedding industry...

I should be able to a bhldn bride if i want to be! ;D


Tarah Coonan Photography said...

I was a 12/14 when I went dress shopping and they had to leave the backs of dresses open because the samples were too small for me. Because I have big boobs I was told I would need something made for me because of my unusual shape. Skinny girls don't suit everything either, I hear some very slim brides sad because they didn't fill out some of the dresses they really loved enough.

I cannot wait to see your dress! Designing it yourself is wonderful and so personal to you.

Kitchen fitter in Faversham said...

well just seen your photos on facebook and you look gorgeous form head to toe. Love the hair do the flowers and the dress and Ryan looks so smart. Well done on getting your dress made more unique in this way. For what is worth you both look stunning worth of nay glossy wedding magazine...congratulations!