Best Wedding Dress Styles for Plus-Size Women

In search of the best wedding style for plus-size women? We have you covered with our comprehensive guide, filled with plenty of wedding dress tips and tricks.

By The Zola Team

Wedding Dresses for Plus-Size Women
Photo by Onthetimes Photography

A wedding dress is meant to be a reflection of your personal taste as a bride. It’s what you wear on one of the most important days of your life. The goal is for it to be beautiful, comfortable, and feel uniquely you. There are a variety of dresses available to meet the needs of every bride. When in search of the best wedding dress style for plus-size silhouettes, there’s no limit to the cut, color, or trend you choose. Furthermore, certain ones will help to highlight your finest features and minimize others.

When in search of the best wedding dress style for plus size figures, the opportunities are endless. Among the many options available, a few of the best wedding dress styles for plus size brides are A-line, mermaid, high-low hemlines, and ball gowns. Each cut is special in its own way and offers plenty of room for customization, from the fabric of the dress, to your preference in straps, and all the ways that you choose to accessorize. While you don’t have to stop your bridal gown search at these examples alone, it provides areas to focus on to help you get started.

Best Wedding Dress Styles for Plus-Size Women | Zola Photo Credit // William Thomas Photography

A-Line Wedding Dresses

A-line wedding dresses are a classic choice, as they fit all body types. They’re particularly flattering because they’re fitted at the narrowest part of the waist and then subtly flow away from the body to create the “A” shape.

The result is a slimming silhouette that helps to minimize the hips, waist, and rear, without restriction from the shape or fabric, making this dress type ideal for plus size brides. Most A-line gowns have a short train that flows behind. However, there’s also the option of tea length that shows off the legs while still benefiting from this go-to shape.

Mermaid-Style Wedding Dresses

To follow the natural flow of a curvy figure, one of the best wedding dress styles for plus size brides is a mermaid gown. With this look, the bodice is fitted until just below the knee. At that point, the skirt flares out to mimic the look of a mermaid’s tail. This is similar to a trumpet skirt, which hits the leg a little bit higher at mid-hip. Either cut accentuates the body beautifully and hugs in all the right places.

High-Low Hemlines

Wedding dresses with high-low hemlines are a modern twist on the traditional bridal gown. To highlight legs and minimize the hips and midsection at the same time, this hemline helps to elongate the frame. It provides a balance of coverage, especially if you opt for an open neckline, too.

This style calls attention to your chosen bridal shoes and is perfect for a mid-century modern wedding or a gorgeous outdoor ceremony. It adds just enough drama without revealing too much, and allows for ample movement for dancing and celebration.

Ball Gown Silhouettes

To feel like a princess on your wedding day, a ball gown silhouette is ideal. A full skirt makes you feel like you’re sitting on top of a cloud as you float through your ceremony and reception. The fitted body helps to balance the look so that the fabric doesn’t overwhelm the shape.

Chosen as one of the best wedding dress styles for plus-size women, the ball gown camouflages the tummy area, hips, and rear while drawing attention to the neckline and shoulders. Additionally, ball gown dresses that have built-in beading can help to define the waist.

These are only a few of the silhouettes available when wedding dress shopping. The important part is finding one that is your perfect fit and is flattering.

Gowns With Built-in Corsets

A built-in corset automatically shapes the body and gives the appearance of a narrower waist, while providing support for the bustier bride. For better comfort and fit, some brides prefer this idea versus wearing shapewear underneath their wedding dress.

For women flaunting curvy, fuller figures, a built-in corset creates a slimming appearance. You’ll want to ensure that the back is tied tightly with plenty of room to breathe. If it cuts into your midsection or is uncomfortable at all, opt for another size or loosen up the strings. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no reason to suffer for fashion.

Flattering Necklines That Draw the Eyes Up

Once you’ve determined the silhouette that favors your body best, consider the range of flattering necklines that will draw the eyes up and help to elongate the frame. Dare to bare the shoulders and neck, especially if you’re opting for fuller coverage with a voluminous skirt. A slight curve or sweetheart neckline is among the most popular for all brides. For extra support, pair with thicker shoulder straps that lay flat against the skin. If there’s too much fabric, or the fit isn't quite right, it’ll add bulk.

A v-neck is also flattering for plus-size women. Find a dress that has a built-in corset or bust support to maintain a sleek silhouette. This neckline looks stunning with beaded straps and also pairs well with lace sleeves as a way to cover the arms. There are no set rules when it comes to the type of neckline you choose. The only thing to keep in mind is the level of coverage and support you want to balance out the top of your wedding gown. Other than that, try on an array of styles and see which ones you find most appealing.

Tips for Finding Wedding Dress Styles for Plus-Size Brides

Wedding dresses come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. There’s no limit to what’s available when it comes to what you’ll wear on your big day. Although, when shopping for plus-size wedding dresses, there are a few tips to keep in mind to find the one that fits your vision.

Best Wedding Dress Styles for Plus-Size Women | Zola Photo Credit // Rose Trail Images

Shop Style First

Although you can filter by size, it’s better to shop style preferences first. Many designers have all-inclusive sizing, which means that you don’t have to stick with one size range to find your ideal wedding dress. Instead, narrow down your options by your personality and chosen wedding aesthetic.

With thousands upon thousands of dress styles available, knowing if you like an A-line wedding dress versus a mermaid gown, or a halter neckline versus a strapless look are ways to whittle down your search.

Go Up a Size

Size is truly just a number, especially when it comes to wedding dress shopping. The size you wear for your regular clothes may differ depending on the designer. Limiting your search to one size may reduce the number of choices you have.

Additionally, if the fit is better, go up a size when you find a dress you love. If it feels slightly looser in certain areas, you can always have those parts taken in. It’s often more difficult and costly to alter a dress to be bigger rather than go smaller. A well-tailored wedding dress will appear seamless and sleek, no matter the shape you decide on.

Be Selective With Fabrics

Sheer, flimsy fabrics aren’t the optimal materials when you want plus-size support. You’ll want to select a fabric that flows with the body and possibly has a bit of stretch, versus a restrictive one that doesn’t allow for as much movement.

The heavier feel of satin is an optimal choice—it leaves a smooth finish and ample coverage. To add the appearance of a semi-sheer fabric for the sake of fashion, consider using it for side paneling or as part of a neckline overlay.

Create a Defined Waist

To create more definition around the middle, choose a drop waist with a skirt that hugs the curves. By lowering the natural waistline it creates the illusion of an elongated frame. Also, turn to accessories such as thin belts or sashes to define a waistline. Belts or bands that are too wide are counterintuitive and create a boxy shape, whereas smaller helps to subtly define.

Take Your Wedding Shoes

It’s a good idea to try on wedding dresses with the shoes (or a similar style of shoes) that you’re going to wear on your wedding day. Choosing a dress with a longer hem or train calls for high heels to avoid tripping or getting caught on the fabric.

If you’re going for a tea-length or ankle-length dress instead, flats pair nicely, if that provides necessary comfort. Undecided on the hemline? Take a pair of each to see how they’ll look with varying dress lengths.

Finding Your Perfect Wedding Dress

The idea of finding the perfect wedding dress has everything to do with what you have envisioned. While there are silhouettes categorized as some of the best wedding dress styles for plus-size women, the truth is that the dress should be fit to you and not vice-versa. What matters most is ensuring that your chosen gown has all the details you’ve dreamed of when you get married.

Each designer and brand varies in their size range, which means trying on different dresses in alternate sizes. And don’t forget about tailoring, which will help your dream dress fit like a glove. With endless styles to choose from, narrow down your choices by selecting the preferred silhouette, neckline, and design that make you look and feel your best.