If you’ve decided to tie the knot, one of the items on your to-do list will be deciding what your bridesmaids will wear on the big day. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, and you may have a range of sizes represented in your bridesmaid crew.
Or maybe you’ve been asked to join Team Bride for one of your besties, but you’re self-conscious about a particular part of your body.
How will you find the best dress for a curvy bridesmaid?
The Reality of Plus-Size Bridesmaid Dresses
If you’re the bride, of course, you want to help all the girls on your bride team feel beautiful in their bridesmaid dresses, no matter what size. The goal should be to enhance their natural beauty by choosing dresses that make them feel confident and gorgeous.
Unfortunately, many bridesmaid dresses are modeled on smaller girls, even when the dress is offered in larger sizes.
Doing a quick online search for “plus-size bridesmaid dresses” might leave you feeling discouraged—the bridal market is filled with pictures of teeny-tiny models, making it difficult for a fuller-figured bridesmaid to imagine herself in the dress she’s shopping for.
At Kennedy Blue, we feel strongly about including bridesmaids in all sizes. Not only have we started showing our dresses on plus-size models, but we also offer a variety of sizes to try on.
Unlike traditional bridal salons, we get that not all bridesmaids wear a size 8—although it’s the most common size available in a retail store.
Squeezing all the bridesmaids into a single size often doesn’t help you see the style, and it can be pretty uncomfortable for your ‘maid-to-be on display with a dress that barely fits.
From a fitting standpoint, trying on the actual dress helps ensure a proper fit for the wedding and (hopefully) means fewer alterations and surprises come wedding day.
How to Choose Plus-Size Bridesmaids’ Dresses
When deciding your bridesmaid’s dresses, it can seem like the options are endless! We have a few quick tips to help you get started:
- Ask your bridesmaids what they like! Get to know what they feel most comfortable in, and what they try to stay away from. Don't feel awkward asking—this goes for all bridesmaids, not just the plus-sized girls.
- Is one of your bridesmaids insecure about her arms? Consider dresses with sleeves! If your bridesmaids have insecurities about certain parts of their bodies, try to help by finding dresses to downplay sensitive areas while accentuating their better features.
- A mismatched bridal party can be an excellent way to help all your ladies find a dress they will feel best in. Is this an option you’re open to?
- If you have a designer in mind, check out their size selection online to make sure that all your girls can wear their dresses (Kennedy Blue dresses go up to size 24!).
Below are a few guidelines for highlighting plus-size ladies’ best features…
Finding the Most Flattering Silhouette and Neckline Style
A-line dresses are flattering on almost any body type. We also recommend trying a V-neckline for a romantic, easy style that never goes out of style! The V-neckline can elongate the torso and accentuate the neck and chest.
Dresses that cinch at the waist are especially beautiful on more voluptuous bridesmaids.
Plus-size girls will want to skip the ruffles. They can draw attention to the wrong areas or create volume in unintended places. For example: for women with wide hips, adding extra frills to the waist or hips may not be the best choice.
Finding the Best Fabric
Steer clear of shiny fabrics! This means you’ll want to avoid Charmeuse, high-shine satin or taffeta. These fabrics can give the illusion of enlargement.
Consider lace or a matte chiffon. The most attractive fabrics will be those that drape the figure without clinging to the body.
Patterns: Yay or Nay?
Generally, patterns are not recommended for fuller figures. However, there can be exceptions to the rule—a simple and subtle pattern can work well in some cases. Trying on the dress in person is really the only way to gauge whether a pattern is right for your bridesmaid team.
Short or Floor-Length Bridesmaid Dresses
Dress length is another option to think about. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to dress length. Depending on the bridesmaid’s body shape, she might feel more comfortable elongating the body with a floor-length dress; or, maybe a knee-length dress allows her to show off more leg and avoid being weighed down by a heavier fabric. Experiment with different styles and try different dress lengths!
Our 11 Favorite Plus-Size Bridesmaid Dresses
We’ve chosen 11 plus-size bridesmaid dresses that you and your bridesmaids will love. Read on for dresses that look great on women of every size.
The A-line silhouette, ruched waistline, and sexy slit perfectly enhance the hourglass figure. The soft, luxe chiffon fabric is both comfortable and classy. Bonus points: it has pockets!
Show off your arms and legs with this lacy sleeveless top, paired with a lightweight tulle skirt. This style gives a nice pop of color against a classic wedding-white, giving this dress a fun, playful look.
Love the playful look above, but need something more formal? Here it is! A long tulle skirt will make the perfect, feminine combination with the lace Cara Top, elongating your frame to give you a tall-and-confident vibe.
Love your shoulders and elongate your torso with this strapless, sweetheart neckline! This A-line silhouette and ruched bodice looks beautiful on many body types. The Parker could be a good fit for a diverse bridesmaid group.
The floor-length Madison Skirt exudes elegance, especially when paired with a high neckline detailed with feminine lace. The illusion fabric on the neckline is an especially nice touch on the Blake top. The skirt is lightweight, which allows it to fall nicely over curves.
This bohemian-inspired chiffon dress features a fitted bodice, delicate spaghetti straps, and a gorgeous, flowing skirt. What’s not to love? The Thea gown is another option that could work for a group of varying sized ‘maids.
The Mackenzie dress is another A-line you’ll love! The lined bodice and four straps provide support without adding extra bulk. Thin straps criss-cross over the back, and we just love the romantic ruching on this dress.
The high-halter neckline on this dress makes it perfect for accentuating a fuller chest and bare shoulders. The back opens to a subtle keyhole with the most adorable bow tied at the back of the waist. The full-length skirt elongates the body for a svelte, sleek effect.
This fun and flirty dress is a great choice to show off your chest, back, and legs. The V-back and neckline leave plenty of room for a necklace, and the criss-cross ruched bodice looks adorable on any size. The style of the straps also allows you to wear a normal bra!
Everly may be an exception to the "ruffle rule" as it features vertical ruffled panels that give the illusion of length! This flattering V-neck gown camouflages imperfections with cascading panels and allows you to show off your arms. The unique details on this gown make it a perfect pick for a mix-and-match wedding party!
This embroidered gown features a sweetheart neckline covered with a lace illusion boat neck. The embroidered lace top provides extra coverage and support on top while a subtle side slit allows you to show a little leg.
We want to help you to make your wedding day unforgettable, which includes you and your bridesmaids shining so much that it shows in every photo!
Which style is your personal favorite? Is there another tip or idea you want to share with us about choosing plus-size bridesmaid dresses? Let us know in the comments section below!