How to Choose Bridesmaid Dresses for Plus Size & Maternity

Choosing bridesmaid dresses for different body types can be a bit of a nightmare. From finding the right undergarments to selecting the perfect fit, you’ll have to make a few decisions to outfit your girls. If you’re worried about making the wrong choice when it comes to your bridal party, we’ve got your back!

Bridesmaid Dress Guide- Plus Size, Maternity, and More
Captured by Michael And Carina Photography

We know that your best friends come in all sizes and that you won’t be able to enjoy your special day unless they’re feeling fabulous too. With a lifetime of experience as authentic women shopping in a Photoshopped world, we’ve all had our share of sizing crises. From petite to plus size, this bridesmaid dress shopping guide will help sort out your questions before you even hit the racks.

Take a look at our hot tips and top picks to get you started.

Plus Size Bridesmaids Dresses

Plus size bridesmaids should not have to fear their body type when it comes to being included in the wedding party, but a little help from the bride can go a long way. After years of airbrushed standards, the fashion industry is finally making space for natural looks and authentic body types in wedding fashion. This means that choosing your plus size gowns is becoming easier, but it’s not quite a walk in the park.

Bridesmaid Dress Guide- Plus Size
Captured by Rachel Meagan Photography

If you’re thinking about picking your bridesmaids, but worried they might struggle to find the right dress for their body types, take heart. The options available to you continue to grow as more and more labels catch on to the idea of unfiltered beauty.

One way to reduce the pressure is to choose a single color instead of a single gown design. I chose this option for my own wedding and I loved getting to see each personality reflected in the gowns my bridesmaids chose. Letting them choose their own cut and fabric while sticking to the chosen color scheme was a stress free way to keep everyone looking and feeling their best.

Finding a dress style you love is important, after all, it’s your day. But making sure each member of your wedding party is treated inclusively is just as crucial. Your plus size friends are your best assets when it comes to picking show-stopping bridesmaids dresses. They are already experts on hacking the system and finding the right fit for their body type amidst the sea of standard sizes. Don’t be afraid to call on their experience if you’re worried about where and how to choose a dress. They might inspire you with different takes on colors and cuts that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

Top Plus Size Dress Pick

dessy bridesmaid dress greenery

The dress in the #1 spot for our plus size options is this lovely full-length gown from Dessy.

This matte chiffon dress has beautiful flow for romantic spring and summer weddings. We especially love it in the Pantone color of the year 2017 – Greenery.

Pair it with delicate blooms or shinning succulents in a fresh bouquet and it’s ready to head down the aisle. Dessy sells this inclusive style available in plus sizes featured in a collection of 86 color combinations to fit your unique tastes.

The tapered waist is sure to flatter every curve and give your leading ladies the confidence a great bridesmaid dress should offer.

While strapless dresses can sometimes cause headaches for women with larger chests, this dress offers a snug fit across the shoulders and a ruffle to keep everything looking smooth and put together.

Plus Size Runner Up

Another one of our favs in this category comes from Nordstrom and designer Adrianna Papell in the shape of this Beaded V-Neck Gown. This shimmering dress is the ideal choice for a classic evening wedding under the starlight.

beaded bridesmaid dress Nordstrom

Its metallic shimmer and sophisticated cut present a charming image that is sure to pop in photos. Featuring a fitted cap-sleeve, a beaded bodice, and a flared skirt, this gown is a classy choice for your bridal party and comes in sizes ranging from 14W to 22W.

We adore this gown because you don’t have to sacrifice a yard of style for a secure fit and polished look. The beading is delicate and won’t overpower any accessories (like clasp clutch purses!) you might choose to pair with it.

Buying Tips for Plus Size Dresses

  1. Know your body shape – If you are more top-heavy with an hourglass figure look for dresses with trumpet silhouettes.  A-line cut works much better for girls that are bottom-heavy, and try empire waist dresses if you are more apple-shaped.
  2. Details – Avoid drawing attention to certain areas by staying away from dresses that have heavily-beaded bodices or eye catching details.
  3. Arm & Shoulders – If your arms are your point of contention than consider cap sleeves or thicker straps
  4. Swatch Samples – Some dress fabrics are stretchy, others are unforgiving and show every lovely curve wanted or not.  If you are buying a dress online, be sure to know the type of fabric you are dealing with.  If you’re ordering a dress from Dessy, they’ll happily send you a FREE fabric and swatch sample so you can touch before you buy.
  5. Shape Wear –  Shape wear doesn’t always lend itself to being comfy.  Don’t rely on shape wear to fix all of your perfect flaws. Choose a dress that looks flattering on your body shape and makes you feel confident. Have shape wear ready if you need a little extra help on the day of.
  6. Visit the Tailor – With either of these dresses, you’ll be buying a long lasting gown that can be worn again with ease. If your bridesmaids are hoping to hold onto their cherished gowns, you might suggest a trip to the tailors for a more personalized fit. They will be investing in a dress they can wear for years, and they’ll look their best on your big day.

 

Maternity Bridesmaid Dresses

If there’s a member of your intended wedding part that’s expecting, your special day will be even more magical for it. Her “plus one” won’t require an extra plate of fish and the beauty of a mother-to-be will only add to the celebratory feelings of your wedding day.

bridesmaids with geronimo balloonsbridesmaids in pink with one in maternity dress

As long as your friends are willing and able to go down the aisle with you, their body shape shouldn’t be a hindrance. Be sure to detail what the ceremony will look like and make it a comfortable experience for all expectant mothers in attendance.

When it comes to the dresses, Beyoncé and Kate Middleton have ensured that modern maternity fashion is anything but drab. We’ve picked a couple of dresses we think make perfect fits for expectant bridesmaids in any wedding motif. Take a look and consider the many possibilities available to you in making your bridal party the best gathering of your favorite women to support you on your big day.

The key to formal maternity wear is hidden comfort and front row style. You want the dress to give support and mobility in all the right places to accommodate the bridesmaid’s new curves. This can look very different from woman to woman depending on their body type and how far along they are in their pregnancy.

Tips for Sizing Maternity Dresses

The average time for ordering bridesmaid dresses is 5-6 months before the wedding date. Since the mother’s body can undergo dramatic changes during that amount of time, it’s import to work with a quality tailor and gracious sizing chart to ensure a proper fit. Here are a couple of tricks that can make the process much easier:

  1. Empire and Chiffon – An empire waist is flattering on every type of baby bump, while chiffon fabric is forgiving to the form, easy to tailor, and won’t overheat.
  1. Extra length – If you’re having your dress made or have the option to specify length, it’s always best to go with a few inches over what your current measurements are. This allows for amble growth and will leave the tailor some room to work with if altering is needed.
  1. Expectant Measurements – When you first take your measurements, you’ll want to consider your progression. If you’re 4-5 months away from the wedding date, a solid 2-3-size jump allowance is suggested. Remember, you can always take a dress in but you can’t make more of it.
 

The Maternity Style Winner

We love the look of this Alfred Sung Maternity Dress – our top pick for the best fitting and most well loved style for expectant bridesmaids. The color below is called Passion, but don’t think you’re stuck with the color purple! You can find a wide range of stylish seasonal colors to match your wedding color scheme.

maternity bridesmaid dress Dessy

Complete The Look

An empire waist will certainly make any baby bump attractive, but it can leave the chest region without much support. This Lilyette strapless bra  from Bali Women is a convertible fit offered from petite to plus size. Go strapless or off one shoulder to match the dress above.

Lilyette by Bali Women’s Tailored Minimizer Bra #939

It’s designed to offer the upmost in support while creating clean lines. If your expectant bridesmaid is worried about having comfort and stability in this area, this highly rated undergarment will have her back from brunch to the dance floor.

Don’t Forget Your Support Team

Don’t forget when it comes to fittings and perfect cuts no one should go it alone.

Tailors

Find a tailor you trust with experience fitting women of all shapes as sizes. Even minor alterations can make a significant difference in the overall comfort and appeal of the dress.

Undergarment Experts

Bridal shop attendants are your best friends when it comes to finding the right combination of supports to make any dress work with your shape. From Spanx to nursing bras, don’t assume the right dress will do all the work on its own.

 

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping Experience

At Love and Lavender, we’re all about making your wedding experience as easy as possible. Our helpful guide to buying bridesmaid dresses for those expecting along with plus size gals is here to give you a stress free dress shopping experience no matter who you’re shopping for.

We want you to make a choice you’re happy with and that you’ll look back on fondly once the rice has fallen, the honeymoon is over, and the photos are developed.

As long as you’re willing to keep a flexible mind and communicate with your girls, finding the perfect dresses is well within your reach!

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One comment

  1. I very much appreciate the insight. Great content. Thank you for sharing.

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