The Fuller Figure Bride

fuller figure brideEvery bride wants to be the centre of attention as well as the most beautiful person in the room and to be wearing the kind of wedding gown that will make her look and feel like a princess.  She wants to wow her guests (and of course her groom) with a look unique and personal to her, flattering whatever body shape she has and hiding any insecurities while emphasising the positive.

Brides with fuller figures who have never had to think of a wedding dress style before, and a bit unsure of which style would be most suited to their body shape will be interested to know that there is most definitely a wedding dress out there to not only suit but flatter them and make them feel on top of the world for their special day.

Fuller figure brides should choose a gown with simple lines that skim their figure rather than hugging the figure as the simple lines will create a more slimming effect.

Different Basic Body Shapes

Pear Shape bodies are heavier on the bottom that the top, with a size or two difference between them usually.  The waist is usually defined and smaller with the larger section being carried in the hips and thighs.  Your gown should focus the attention away from the hip/thigh area and more towards the face.  Adding to the shoulders and/or bodice will help add width to the area and create a balance with the bottom half of the figure.

Best types of gown would be: A-line dress, Princess or Empire waisted.  A ball gown can be used but only if it’s fullness is limited, especially for short or plus size brides.

Apple Shaped bodies tend to carry their weight around the middle with larger bust and waists, however, they usually also have flatter bottoms and great legs!  For those with narrow shoulders adding width in that area can give the illusion of a smaller waistline.

Best types of gown would be: A-line and Princess line.

Hourglass Shape bodies are the lucky ladies with a curvy and balanced figure, the top and bottom half having all the right curves, in proportion to each other, with a very small waist in-between.  A lady with confidence in her hourglass shape can pull off almost any style of wedding gown, choosing a gown that will show off and highlight her natural curvaceous shape.  However, subtly is key and this body shape should not try to look too sexy, nature has already done that and wont need any accentuating.  Therefore avoid the waist being too tight and cap sleeved dresses as they can tend to throw proportions off the bust line.  Ruching and gathered details can emphasis curves and can add or subtract pounds.  If it is kept to a minimal, flat and angled it can be very complimentary.

Best types of gown would be: Sheath, Mermaid style and dropped waist styles.

The Rectangular body shape is straight up and down without any noticeable curves.  Choosing a gown that will draw the focus upwards towards the face or down towards the hem will draw the eye away from the mid section.  The gown should give the illusion of a waistline.

Best types of gown would be: A-line, Princess and Empire waist.

The Triangle body shape has similarities with the pear shape in that it is smaller in the bust and waist when compared to the lower half of the body.  Again, the gown should focus the attention away from the hip and thigh area and more towards the face.  The gown should balance out the body’s silhouette.  Choosing styles with shoulders such as off the shoulder, short sleeves, shoulder wrapped collars, bolero jackets or shrugs will help with this.

Best types of gown would be: A-line, Princess and Empire waist.

Inverted Triangle – Busty Body shape has a prominent bust or shoulder area wider that the hips.  Designers consider slightly wider shoulders an asset! Most brides however will want to balance their shape and this can be done by adding details at the waist or skirt to draw the eye away from the top half.  Having a v-neck or sweetheart neckline will compliment this body shape, avoid high necklines as they will create the look of being even larger in the bust area.

Best types of gown would be: A-line, Princess and Ball gowns.

Wedding Gown Tips for the Larger Lady

  • plus sized brideFuller figure brides should choose a gown with simple lines that skim their figure rather than hugging the body as the simple lines will create a more slimming effect.
  • Strapless gowns can be difficult for the fuller figure to wear, however not impossible, just ensure that the gown isn’t fitted too tightly at the neckline edge (to avoid ‘over bulge’) and by wearing a shrug, wrap or jacket it will provide coverage for those who wish to hide their back and upper arms.
  • Asymmetrical details to the front of the gown will direct focus away from trouble areas and can instantly shape and slim the figure.
  • Details on the bust and hem will add interest and draw the focus of attention.
  • Avoid details that may add width such as ruffles and tiered skirts.

Heights and Gown Styles

The bride’s height may also come into play when looking at wedding gowns and there are a few basic guidelines which can be followed, including flattering necklines, bodice, sleeves and skirt widths.

For brides 5’4” and below
Skirts and hemlines should be narrow or flared and fall softly with a close straight appearance.  Necklines should be v-neck, sweetheart, wrap or décolletage.  Long fitted sleeves and natural or empire waistlines. 

For brides 5’4” to 5’7”
Skirts should flow over the hips, necklines be v-neck, scoop, décolletage or sweetheart with a basque waistline and poet, point or draped sleeves.

For brides taller than 5’7”
A basque or empire waist, long or Juliette sleeves, princess or a-line skirts teamed with a wrap, décolletage, v-neck, sweetheart or scooped neckline will best suit the taller bride.

Choosing a Bouquet to Flatter the Plus Size Bride

The bouquet is just as important and gives just as much impact as the bridal gown.  The bouquet can make or break the overall look so choosing the right shape to compliment the look is vital.  A small bouquet will exaggerate the bride’s width and make them look larger than they really are.  Therefore a large bouquet is recommended to give a slimming effect.  An elongated bouquet such as the cascade design will therefore add length and height to a shorter lady and balance out the proportions of a larger lady.  Flowers are important to the overall look but brides should ensure that the bouquet flatters the bride but not take the focus away from her!

Bridal Shoes for Larger Feet

It is always better to chose shoes after the dress has been decided as too many brides make the mistake of purchasing their shoes first and then trying to match their perfect dress to them, it’s much easier to do it the other way around.  The fuller figured bride would be best advised to opt for medium heeled shoes for her wedding day as the day will be long and unless she is used to wearing high heels she may find herself wishing she could kick them off half way through the ceremony!.  The basic rules for shoes is ‘the chunkier the leg, the chunkier the heel ought to be’, as it is all about proportions.  Avoid ankle straps as they tend to ‘sever’ legs at the ankle and make legs appear shorter.

Of course these are only suggestions and a guide for most body shapes, not hard and fast rules set in stone.  Part of the fun and excitement about being a bride is the fun of trying on dresses in different styles, fabrics and colours, until the perfect gown is found.