How to Find the Perfect Plus Size Wedding Dress

Full transparency, I am not a plus size bride. When I was shopping for dresses I was petite and two kids later I’m more of a mid-size queen. So I talked to real women about their experiences finding, trying on, and purchasing dresses in order to bring you authentic stories and tips from plus size brides-to-be.

Let’s start with the basics of what is considered plus size, move into the best tips I heard from shoppers to have a positive bridal salon experience (not always an easy feat for any size!), and end with some things to keep in mind about finding your dream dress.

a plus size bride in a wedding gown

If you’re looking for tips to hide a body part you don’t like, or what fits flatter your figure, you WON’T FIND THAT HERE. Clothes are made to fit you, not the other way around.

What is considered plus size in bridal?

Plus size is a size 14 or larger in street clothes. Bridal sizes run smaller than normal sizes. So plus size in bridal starts at size 16 or 16W.

You shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t fit into your normal dress size when trying on bridal gowns. Wedding dresses typically run 2-4 sizes smaller than regular clothes. So if you’re normally a size 14, you might find that a 16 or 18 size gown is what fits you.

Can plus size brides buy off the rack?

Yes. Plus size brides can find wedding dresses off the rack at most online retailers, major chains, nationally-known stores, like Kleinfeld’s, and locally owned bridal shops. The styles may be more limited for sizes 14+ than they are for under 14.

Off the rack or ready to wear means the dress is already made, not custom made according to your measurements. You can learn more about how buying off the rack saves you time and money in this post.

Here is a list of the most popular options from designers to online retailers to well known bridal shops and whether they offer plus-size ready to wear styles:

Designer / StorePlus size ready-to-wear / sample options?Off-the-rack SizesMade to order Sizes
MONIQUE LHULLIERNo (can be found pre-owned)US 2-14Custom
WATTERSNo (can be found pre-owned)US 0-14US 00–24W
VERA WANGNo (can be found pre-owned)None by the designerUS 0-28
PRONOVIASNo (can be found pre-owned)None by the designerUS 0-34
BHDLNYesUS 0-18 & 16W-26W
*Only available in select styles
US 0-26
*Only available in select styles
HEBEOSNo (all dresses are made to order) US 2-16
US 14W-26W
Free custom sizes
US 2-16
US 14W-26W
Free custom sizes
AZAZIENoWD 0-10WD 0-30
Free custom sizes
*Varies by designer
*Varies by designer

Our research showed there were a lot of options for brides in all sizes looking for off the rack and made to order dresses. Some designers, like Watters, only carried plus-size options for certain collections. The ready-to-wear offerings on their site were in sizes 0-14 but their made to order offerings and their off-the-rack collections for other retailers (e.g. BHLDN) were available in plus sizes.

Generally, while we found plenty of stores that carried plus sizes for their ready to wear collections, it was more difficult to find plus sizes among samples or preowned gowns. This is an important thing to consider if your plan was to save money on a designer dress by not going the made to order route. You’ll have to search more to find options in your size.

Will bridal shops have my size?

In general, most bridal salons cater more to plus-size brides than they did a decade ago and include sizes 12-16 and up. It’s important to note that just because a store will make the dress in your size, doesn’t mean they have it in your size to try on. Call ahead and ask to make sure they carry sample sizes in your size.

One bride I spoke with, named Ava, wrote reviews of her journey to find the perfect dress and visited a number of local bridal shops, including ones that advertised they catered to plus size brides, and the popular chain, David’s Bridal. She found that it wasn’t enough to ask if they had dresses in her size available.

Since most bridal gowns are custom made and tailored to fit each bride’s measurements, they often can make the dress in any size. But this doesn’t mean they have samples in your size to try on.

a photo of a bride in two wedding dresses

Ava explained, “If you are plus size or near plus size, fight for sample sizes that fit you. It makes a world of difference. I learned to be very specific with the terminology I used when asking salons if they could accommodate or carried plus sizes. Most of the time when they said ‘we have something that will fit you’ they meant ‘that we can fit your body into’ – which is not the same thing. I learned to ask specifically what sample sizes they carried.”

After visiting 4 salons, she ended up finding two perfect dresses for her wedding. One for the ceremony and one to change into for the reception.

Shopping Tip: Ask “Do you have my size in the store to try on? (i.e. sample sizes)” before making an appointment.

Her favorite salon was Brides By Young in NYC. “Our consultant Alyson was great and really really listened to me – not one dress she put me in was a dud. It was so validating to be able to try on a bunch of styles and shapes and really see what they would look like on me.”

The salon where she yes to the second dress was Lovely Bride in NYC. Lovely Bride has several locations nationwide.

“Of all the dresses I tried at Lovely Bride, most were my sample size or larger, or one size smaller. They didn’t bring me a single thing that wasn’t in my size range. I was surprised by the selection they had and how much I liked the dresses. On top of that, they also had the best selection and most interesting selection of veils, capes, and crowns out of any shop I went to. It really helped to give me a picture of what the whole look could be”

You can read her full review of Lovely Bride here on Reddit.

a bride reading a book with the groom behind her

Does Kleinfeld have plus size wedding gowns?

Yes, Kleinfeld has options for plus size sizes to try on in-store. While most of their samples are a size 10 (a size 6 in streetwear), they do carry a large selection of dresses in sizes 18-32.

If you have your heart set on a specific designer or style, it is best to call in advance to make sure they have your size available to try on. Not just a smaller size to pin on you with modesty panels.

Kleinfeld designers may also charge more for a dress that is larger than an 18. So be aware that it could cost more for some designers to have your dress made to fit your body if you’re larger than a 14/16 in streetwear sizing.

Does David’s Bridal have plus size wedding gowns?

Yes, David’s Bridal carries plus size samples in-store. Their in-store sample is a size 18. And their dresses can be made to order in sizes 0-30W, with an impressive collection of styles.

Notably, David’s Bridal hasn’t charged more for plus size gowns since 2019. All of their bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and other wedding attire is made to fit a large range of sizes and fit in with your budget.

an older plus size bride

Can plus size brides order a custom made or couture dress?

Yes. A custom designed or couture dress is a great option for plus size brides who know exactly what kind of dress they want but are struggling to find the exact style or find it in their size.

One bride on Reddit told us how she found the custom dress of her dreams. “I got a new custom dress from It was what I should have done in the first place… I really think if you’re going to have all these pictures you should get the dress you really want and that you feel the best in. I don’t think we should have to settle for a dress that is just okay.”

To successfully order a custom gown that you won’t regret, it’s essential to know exactly what you want and how it will look on your body. Of course, the designer you work with will provide sketches and samples of their work. But it also helps to know how certain dress shapes fit on your body, how different colors and fabrics look and feel on you, and generally what you like and dislike.

Shopping Tip: Try on lots of dresses in different shapes and styles before ordering a custom gown.

Our bride’s advice was the try on a lot of options before ordering a custom one. “I would 100% recommend trying on lots and lots of dresses (I think I went to 10 shops or more) before getting a custom gown because you have to learn what you want. I thought some things would be flattering, but when I tried them on it was a nope. And vice versa.”

How many dresses should I try on?

You should plan to try on fewer than 10 dresses during your wedding gown search.

We did our own research and found the sweet spot for trying on wedding gowns was under 10. Most brides tried on between 1-10 before they found the one. You can read more about why that is in this article.

a rack of wedding gowns

Are plus size wedding dresses more expensive?

The conventional wisdom is that plus size wedding dresses are more expensive. Generally, we found that not to be true. Dresses in smaller sizes were the same price as larger sizes across the board. Exceptions were above size 18 where it is harder to find preowned or off-the-rack options and designers may charge additional fees for made-to-order gowns above a certain size.

Designer / StorePrice of size 2/4Price of size 16/18
MONIQUE LHULLIEROptions as low as $2,995Options as low as $4,000
VERA WANG$6,500$6,500
*based on pre-owned data
*based on pre-owned data
DAVID’S BRIDAL$1,499$1,499
*David’s Bridal has a new policy to ensure pricing is the same across all sizes
HEBEOSOptions as low as $85Options as low as $85
AZAZIEOptions as low as $59.70 for ready to wear
Options as low as $59.70 for ready to wear
*Some designers charge a fee for sizes larger than 18
LOVELY BRIDEOptions as low as $1050Options as low as $700

For the chart above, we picked a single dress that was available in both sizes (or a similar, comparable style that was available in both sizes) and looked at the prices. As you can see from our research, plus size dresses can cost more depending on where you shop. We found a lot of options at the same prices, especially in the ready-to-wear and preowned space, if you’re willing to be flexible and spend time looking for a deal.

Where this gets tricky is for made-to-order gowns. Some places we researched note that they charge more above a certain size. Ultimately it depends on the designer and their pricing which the retailers don’t have control over.

Why are plus size dresses more expensive?

Plus size dresses can be more expensive because the designer needs to use more material. Or gowns in sizes 14 and higher tend to be harder to find as ready-to-wear or sample sizes. Off-the-rack and pre-owned options are often lower cost than made to order dresses.

When designers had ready to wear options in multiple sizes, the dresses were the same price. Often designers only had made to order options for plus-size brides which drove the price higher than off the rack options.

If you’re comparing prices of the same made to order dress in two different sizes, there is a price difference as you increase the size due to more material being needed. According to David’s Bridal CEO, Jim Marcum, it can cost up to 15 percent more for plus size brides at many salons. David’s Bridal recently made a change to their pricing so that David’s Bridal dresses will cost everyone the same amount, no matter their size.

the back of a bride staring out the window

Don’t see a brand or store on here that should be? Send us a message and we’ll have it added to the resource for future brides: loudbride {at}


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

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