Natalie

A Fat Bride Survival Guide

When I got married I was a fat bride. In fact, I was fat when I got engaged – I was even *gasp* fat when Nick and I met! Despite having a well established, recognised and loved body shape before getting married I copped a huge amount of pressure to lose weight in the lead up to the wedding. For some reason, I had it in my head that my wedding day would be a celebration of love and happiness between Nick and I however it seemed that foolish me had little idea of the true wedding agenda – basically some kind of reality tv show where the ugly duckling turns gorgeous siren.

 

Wedding Mosaic

There would be no end of helpful clicks and tuts on hand to whip me into shape (I maintain that rectangular with bumps is a shape, dammit) for my reveal, wait, wedding day. My hairdresser at the time barely let her congratulations fly past her lips before she’d cornered me and asked how much weight I was losing. She lost the job. Bridal stores have ALL KINDS of euphemisms for asking about your weight loss plans. My favourite was the ever so polite “Now, are we planning on losing or gaining any weight for the big day?” Not to mention the hushed murmurings of “big girl”, “solid build”, “flattering” and “voluptuous”. You know what? I walked out of all of those places. I wanted a bunch of supportive people helping me look even more fancy on my wedding day, not a wake of frowny-faced vultures picking over the fat girl.

I wanted to share a few things that helped me survive as a fat bride, because if you’re not used to speaking up it really can be intimidating and upsetting. I had a crystalline vision of how I wanted to look on my wedding day and I wasn’t ashamed of my body, nor did I have plans to change it consciously before the date. Being somewhat blunt and quite confident, I had few real issues with the barrage of concerned but unhelpful people who just wanted me to look fabulous when I got married. I understood that they were coming from a mindset held by most brides, a world where a slimmer bride must be the more beautiful bride, but I was not convinced of that – as I suppose most of the Axis of Fat readership is!

  1. Come out as fat to all of the people involved in your wedding party.

    Lay down some ground rules when it comes to your body – i.e.: it’s none of your business. I also told my bridesmaids that I would not entertain negative body talk during the fittings. If they waited until I was out of the room, that was fine but I didn’t want dress fittings to be railroaded by unproductive and negative discussion!

  2. Look at some real life weddings.

    Offbeat Bride is still one of my favourite wedding sites because there are so many different bodies all happy, celebrating and looking great! Glossy magazines are fine, but if you don’t want to have a traditional western wedding you’ll be left feeling empty! There are heaps of wedding blogs out there to help you with ideas for garments, decorations, themes and locations.

  3. Talk about your ideas with your wedding party.

    This is especially important when it comes to garments. Different bodies like to wear different things!

  4. Bridal stores generally carry two sizes in “try on” dresses – 10 and 18.

    I think I only went to one store, where I definitely did not fit in the 18. I figured that if they were going to assume that they could just grade a smaller sized pattern up to “fit” me, then they could go jump.

  5. Investigate a dressmaker.

    The WeddingThis is what I did – my mother and I asked an assistant at a  local fabric shop for her recommendations and she gave us the phone number of the amazing Gloria, a couture seamstress and pattern designer. Gloria only took petite and plus sized clients, and had incredible pattern drafting skills which she used to outfit women who didn’t fit within mainstream sizing. Instant brownie points! Working with Gloria was a great experience – I had designed my dress but with her guidance we made it epic! We also designed the bridesmaid dresses in such a way that the design would be adapted for each of the girls’ personalised slopers (a sloper is like a basic pattern created to fit your measurements). I wanted my sisters and my friend to feel special on the day, with a gorgeous dress that they felt great in.

  6. If a vendor bothers you about losing weight, drop them.

    If you feel up to it, you can always say something like “I’m not planning on losing weight for my wedding”. You don’t need to  sass them back, or come back with a quip that will make them regret ever saying anything to you. You don’t have time for that, and you’ll feel rotten afterwards. Focus on your main goal – getting this theatrical monster of a wedding on the road.

  7. Listen to people, but don’t forget that you are the authority on your body.

    Plenty of bridal (and plain old everyday fashion) assistants have plenty of things to say on what’s “flattering” or “suitable”. There seems to be a metric buttload of rules and regulations and if you bother following all of them you’ll basically wave goodbye to any sense of individuality. If you really want to wear a dress that’s cut a certain way, ask the assistant or the dressmaker if there’s something close if they absolutely veto your first choice (or, dump them). Tell them why you want your neckline just like so. Be assertive and use “I statements” – “I feel confident when I have cap sleeves” or “I feel really gorgeous in a strapless dress”. Push for what you want, or else you’re having someone else’s wedding.

  8. Wear comfortable shoes that fit you correctly.

    Most wedding days go on for 12 hours – you don’t want to be wearing unsupportive shoes that make you snarl. Alternatively, take your damn shoes off. I did that, because my gorgeous Italian sling backs kept slipping off! Unfortunately I also stood in dog poo, but uh… what can you do when you can’t see your feet let alone half a metre in front of you?

  9. You don’t have to wear the garter belt.

    I really did not want Nick to dig through my skirts and pull a rotten scrunchy off my thigh, only to throw it to his mates. The whole idea grossed me out. What I did was arrange to slip it to him with my magical sleight of hand during the whole garter toss show. I was going to pin it inside my skirt, but I didn’t get a chance! Of course, if you hate this part of the reception  – nix it. You’re not really beholden to anyone to include anything on your wedding day besides the bits required by law during your ceremony!

  10. Have fun!

    After months of planning, your wedding day should be when you take the pressure down. If you’ve been true to yourself and your relationship, you should be feeling completely at ease – surrounded by all the people who love you and wish you well.

Do any other fat brides (nay, fat grooms!) have tips? I’d love to read them – post a comment!

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  • http://www.sociologique.org/ Ariela HvM

    Thank you so much for speaking up about this topic. I was considered “voluptuous” or just plain “big” on my wedding day. I must say though, I did lose 10 pounds before my wedding day by just exercising more and eating healthier. I felt so much better about myself physically. I didn't diet – though I mulled that one over in my head for about a month.
    I figured that my fiancee was with me before we got married when I had a little extra “chunk in the trunk,” so why wouldn't he not like me if I wasn't really thin on my wedding day?
    But I was sooo happy on my wedding day, even though I could stand to lose weight for health reasons. My family has a history of health problems, so I have been afraid of being medically overweight for the past couple of years. I look fab in my pictures – despite what this misogynistic culture has to say about it. In my “skinny” pictures, I looked really unhappy and had this look on my face like I just wanted to eat a cheeseburger, damnit!
    When I'm an old woman, with my youthful looks behind me, I will look back on those wedding pictures and not say “Damn, I was kind of chunky,” but “Damn, I looked Good!!”

  • zeureeka

    That is one of the most incredible wedding gowns I have ever seen. You and your bridesmaids all look beautiful and wonderfully happy, and your husband is a lucky guy to have a gorgeous, confident woman like you.

    Also, the cake? Looks amazing.

  • sugaredharpy

    Oh, please. Write a book. Please!

    I am also not interesting in losing weight for my wedding, and your sanity is wonderful to hear.

  • amywynn

    I love you! I saw you featured on the OBB a ways back and your wedding positively knocked the wind out of me. readinng this only made me idolize you further.. Thanks!

  • http://www.beingshadoan.wordpress.com/ Rachel Shadoan

    What an amazingly beautiful lady you are! And what an incredible dress! (I covet it!)

    Having a dress made is the way to go! I am a fat girl, and I had my dress made for senior prom. It was delightful, and exactly what I wanted–something that's hard to find at a department store or at a bridal shop. And since I didn't have it made by my weight-obsessed grandmother, but rather by a nice seamstress, no one made any snarky comments about my “hippo butt”.

    I'm always astounded by people who think that my weight is their business! My very nice boyfriend says that the proper response to people who comment on my weight is to either eat them, immediately, preferably whole, or to sit on them until they suffocate.

    Your post made me happy!

  • http://arielmeadow.com Ariel

    Not a bad idea, really…

    [sends email to editor]

  • Jess

    What a great post! And don't think it's only meaningful to “fat brides.” I'm an average sized gal but I'm totally taking this to heart.

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    Thanks Ariel for the plug, I'm totally overwhelmed at the response!

  • Mahal

    I bought a custom-made dress online, after I got sick of snotty thin shop girls asking how much weight I wanted to lose FIRST, rather than, say, what kind of dress style I would like.

    Your dress is amazing, and your attitude is the one I'm attempting to cultivate about my own upcoming wedding…

  • http://christies-blog.com/ Christie S

    You are a gorgeous bride and i LOVE the red dress. I was lucky in that most people didn't mention my weight… although many of my blog readers (who have been with me since back in the day when it WAS a 'weight loss blog') questioned me about how I was going to lose weight for my big day.
    The only reason I worried about it, was because after I bought my dress I gained some weight and it got too snug. I had it let out, lost just a couple pounds, and I was comfortable and happy on my wedding day and I felt gorgeous – even though I was quite a bit heavier than I had been when we got engaged. I just didn't CARE! Much like you said in step 10, I was true to myself and I felt completely at ease and happy. I did not CARE about my size. And because I didn't… I don't think anybody else did, either.

  • Jen

    Natalie – I think I love you!

  • ginger

    Rock on!!

  • sugaredharpy

    You absolutely should!

  • Becca

    This is wonderful, you are so beautiful on your wedding day and you look more confident than any glossy mag/rag that I have seen. Way to go Mrs!

  • http://needles-pens.blogspot.com/ Becca

    I will be a fat bride – getting married 10-10-10. And like most of the other posters, I've been fat my whole life. I made the mistake of buying my gown at the lowest weight I'd been in ages, and then proceeded to gain 50lbs. Yeah, rather than alter the dress, or myself, drastically, I'm going to buy a new one that fits me and makes me feel gorgeous the way I look. I am so sick of friends and family telling me I need to lose weight for my wedding. My fiance adores me exactly the way I am! While I do wish I were smaller, I'm not going to hide who I am or pretend I'm someone that I'm not. I come from a fat family and will have fat babies. And I am OK with that.

    You look absolutely gorgeous in your dress and the pictures posted here show a wonderful wedding day. And too true, the day is about celebrating love, not the way you look in a dress.

    <3,
    Becca

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    You send the email, I'll send the cupcakes!

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    Thank you! I really do try to write about body issues considering all the body types in the world, not just my own. :)

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    Thanks! I was very heavily inspired by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, but I also wanted to incorporate other ideas, such as pleating and vintage lace and Victorian-esque styling. We chose the park we got married in (Newstead Park in Brisbane, Australia) because it has quite a few Alice inspired spots, such as the warped checkerboard!

  • http://arielmeadow.com Ariel

    Oh the email's already been sent. :)

  • Mel102

    I am not a fat bride- quite the opposite- and despite this, your article really resonates with me. I've found there's constant pressure from outsiders regarding changing your body when people realise you're getting married. I've been self conscious about my thin frame, and it upsets me when people in Bridal stores see me in my underwear (not a comfortable position to begin with!) and exclaim, 'oh, look, there's nothing to you' etc, or comment on my lack of cleavage. It's hurtful, and you are so right that you have to be ready to defend your body in the face of these criticisms. I've had people ask if I'm going to tone up, and then others telling me that I need to gain some weight. It's frustrating that by virtue of your upcoming vows, strangers seem to feel entitled to voice their opinion on your body.

  • Sefue

    This is just so inspirational–thank you for sharing this!

  • http://blisstree.com/ouroneheart Christine

    HI Natalie! I love you post! Is it possible to use one of your images on my wedding blog? I'll attribute of course! Thanks.

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    Thanks Christine, sure you can use one of my images but I'd appreciate a link back to the flickr page! Cheers!

  • MarMar

    Thank you so much for this! I'm a fat girlfriend at the moment, and I don't know if we'll ever marry – we've already been-there, done-that – and become a fat bride. But from the time of the wedding in my first (and only) marriage until now, my weight has ballooned a good 70-80 lbs. due to baby weight I never lost (my kid's 6 now!) and undiagnosed PCOS. My ex-husband even made disparaging comments once we split up. My best girlfriends skipped asking me to be in their wedding parties, and I had to wonder if it wasn't because of my size and the desire to make their weddings “perfect.” I disparaged ever feeling beautiful ever again. (My ex even said when our daughter was born – “you took all your beauty and gave it to her”, insinuating not only that our daughter was beautiful, but that I was no longer so.)

    Now I have not only a man who loves me just the way I am, and a daughter who loves nothing more than to hug her mommy's big belly, but I also have all this support online that I never knew existed. You aren't just a fat bride, my dear; you are a BEAUTIFUL bride. Lovely in every way. And now, you've given me hope that one day, should I chance that walk down the aisle again, I will be a beautiful bride too. Thank you.

  • Tiffany

    If the shop doesn’t carry ANY samples in your size, don’t go. If they don’t have MULTIPLE samples in your size, don’t go. Call ahead everywhere, and plan your trips accordingly. That’s one definite pointer. I was lucky enough to have a plus size bridal shop nearby, but they didn’t have the brand I was in love with. I called around, found another shop, and tried more things on. I thought I had it all picked out, but I fell in love with a dress they only had in size 12, and…well, I need twice that. Since there were so many samples in my size, I was able to find something incredibly similar, by the same designer, and we were able to figure out how my favorite dress would fit, instead of making it a complete shot in the dark. Thankfully. That was lengthy, but I thought it needed story. :)

    Corset-top dresses are your friend, especially since you can loosen or tighten different parts of the bodice to fit you better. Not to mention that there’s no real need for support garments :D

    Also, if there’s an incredible amount of pressure to lose weight (my mum practically forced me to diet and even sent me off with a full week’s worth of low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein foods – still appreciated because I didn’t have grocery money), just…wait ’til the end. For me, there’s always been that one person who won’t ever cooperate with me when it comes to my weight, so I just did what was like “putting it off.” I honestly don’t know what else to do in that situation that would make the offending party just shut up already.

    If you still want to do the garter belt, there’s always just putting it around the calf. The cheap ones are designed for skinny people, anyway.

    I think I was blessed to not encounter any vendors that considered my weight an issue. Even at an incredibly high-end store that I visited before I even thought to make any calls (about pricing OR sizes), they found the one dress in the store that I could fit in for sure, and the assistant helped me find other gowns that would work with my body. I guess if they think you have money, it doesn’t matter what size you are. I guess that’s one constant that exists everywhere: money talks.

    I sort of wish I hadn’t subscribed to the idea of the traditional Western wedding – but at the same time, I like to think that we took elements of it and made it our own. I wonder if people liked it sometimes. But then I refer to the results of your rule 10: I had fun. I was happy. Nothing else matters.

  • http://www.steampunkerie.com/ Omega

    Hmm, as a fat bride myself, once upon a time, I would heartily concur with your list!

    I would add.. your bridal party are your allies – choose your bridesmaid(s) wisely and they can be a great filter between you and the well-meaning but evil comments of others. Saying up front that it is a body-positive wedding and there'll be no stupidity on this front is a great start.

    I would also drop any vendor that says anything dumb about size – I had a florist who suggested a large bouquet so I could hide behind it. (How large, exactly was this thing going to be? And why would I spend more on a dress than I ever had, to hide it??). She did not get the job. Neither did the bridal stores who suggested kaftans or mother-of-the-bride outfits for me.. Neither did the singer who only wanted to do Celine Dion, but that's a separate matter entirely.

    Weddings are a time when people are under a lot of pressure to bow to other people's expectations – there are so many “You should!” and “You mustn't!!” rules that jump out of the woodwork. I think it's important for every bride of every size to manage these expectations.. One book I would really recommend is “How to Have the Wedding You Want (Not the One Everybody Else Wants You to Have) By Danielle Claro – a great reality check on how to survive all the silliness that can occur to turn your dream day into a nightmare.

    I was a fat bride in a strapless red dress with a RIDICULOUSLY huge bustle and I had a fantastic wedding.. If my groom had been as awesome as the wedding .. I'd still be married for sure :)

    I think a book is FANTASTIC idea and much needed.

  • Lynn

    Thanks so much for the great post! I am recently engaged and am going to bookmark this site to make sure I stay in the right frame of mind.
    Just as a suggestion, I ordered my dress from Birnbaum & Bullock in NYC and it was the most wonderful experience! The dresses do not come in sizes and the designers create the dress to your measurements, whatever they may be. You actually keep going back for fittings and watch the dress being built!

    I was very, very nervous about dress shopping b/c I wanted it to be a wonderful experience. I was worried the sales girls would comment on my weight and body type. Nothing of the sort happened at Birnbaum & Bullock. You meet with the actual designers and discuss what you're looking for/what would look best for you. The shop has such a laidback atmosphere. And their tagline is “No two flowers are exactly alike”. Totally, totally recommend Birnbaum & Bullock.

  • Tiffany

    If the shop doesn't carry ANY samples in your size, don't go. If they don't have MULTIPLE samples in your size, don't go. Call ahead everywhere, and plan your trips accordingly. That's one definite pointer. I was lucky enough to have a plus size bridal shop nearby, but they didn't have the brand I was in love with. I called around, found another shop, and tried more things on. I thought I had it all picked out, but I fell in love with a dress they only had in size 12, and…well, I need twice that. Since there were so many samples in my size, I was able to find something incredibly similar, by the same designer, and we were able to figure out how my favorite dress would fit, instead of making it a complete shot in the dark. Thankfully. That was lengthy, but I thought it needed story. :)

    Corset-top dresses are your friend, especially since you can loosen or tighten different parts of the bodice to fit you better. Not to mention that there's no real need for support garments :D

    Also, if there's an incredible amount of pressure to lose weight (my mum practically forced me to diet and even sent me off with a full week's worth of low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein foods – still appreciated because I didn't have grocery money), just…wait 'til the end. For me, there's always been that one person who won't ever cooperate with me when it comes to my weight, so I just did what was like “putting it off.” I honestly don't know what else to do in that situation that would make the offending party just shut up already.

    If you still want to do the garter belt, there's always just putting it around the calf. The cheap ones are designed for skinny people, anyway.

    I think I was blessed to not encounter any vendors that considered my weight an issue. Even at an incredibly high-end store that I visited before I even thought to make any calls (about pricing OR sizes), they found the one dress in the store that I could fit in for sure, and the assistant helped me find other gowns that would work with my body. I guess if they think you have money, it doesn't matter what size you are. I guess that's one constant that exists everywhere: money talks.

    I sort of wish I hadn't subscribed to the idea of the traditional Western wedding – but at the same time, I like to think that we took elements of it and made it our own. I wonder if people liked it sometimes. But then I refer to the results of your rule 10: I had fun. I was happy. Nothing else matters.

  • OctoberBride

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I am a fat bride, and my wedding is in 5 weeks. Yikes! Anyway, I've been shopping for lingerie in preparation of my dress fitting this weekend, and I've been feeling super discouraged. You can't buy any non-granny-panties shapewear in my size in any stores that I've been to. I eventually ordered a cute shaping corset online, and paid way too much to have it shipped express, only to discover that their sizing chart on the website is way off. I measured myself 3 times and even rounded up, and the corset wouldn't even meet around my middle.

    Even buying the dress was a nightmare before I found the right bridal store. I went to 2 different places, neither of which had a dress over size 12 despite advertising they carry plus sizes. The first store made me feel like a “fake” bride. One sales associate literally elbowed me out of her way so that she could usher through her size 2 customer. I left in tears. I ended up driving 2 hours to go to a store that treated me like a human and actually had dresses in stock that I could put on.

    I'm rambling. But the point is, us fat girls are entitled to feel gorgeous on our wedding days too, without feeling pressure to lose a single pound. We were fat when we got engaged, and we'll be fat when we walk down the aisle!

  • http://myaimistrue.com/ Amber

    Great post. I also had my dress made and I think it was an awesome decision. I got exactly what I wanted. My tip is to let the bridesmaids do their own shopping and pick their own dresses. I gave mine a color family and a length (give or take) and let them pick a dress they'd feel awesome in (and hopefully wear again). It turned out great! Pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ambernussbaum/2701

  • Brigit

    I found a great independent bridal salon in Berkeley (Kate's Kouture) that carries lots of styles in lots of sizes. And Katie is awesome! She spent a ton of time with me helping me figure out exactly what I wanted. She really knows her styles and when I mentioned that I was less than comfortable with certain parts of my body but wanted to show off others, she had great suggestions for styles that I would look awesome and be comfortable in. She also carries a number of nicer bridesmaid's dresses in almost any color if you're looking for alternatives to white. If you're anywhere near the Bay area in California I highly recommend you take a look at Kate's Kouture.

    I was pretty freaked out and depressed about finding dresses that I could try on and knew that it would be a disaster if I bought something I hadn't tried first. The first thing I learned was if you know you can't afford or don't have the time for custom made, definitely call ahead and ask what sizes they have IN THE STORE! And how many styles. An “I can order it for you” is not acceptable. And tell them so. The more times they hear that they are losing business because of limited sizes, the more likely they will fix the problem. Also they may say that they carry plus sizes and then you get there and out of 50 dresses they only have one in anything other than a size 6. Be specific about the questions you ask even if it means being slightly abnoxious. Your time is just as important as their's and its a waste of everyone's to go to a shop that doesn't have what you need.

    Best of luck to anyone still searching through this process!

  • http://wwww.tiny-wings.livejournal.com/ Katoo

    I saw you featured on Offbeat Bride, what gorgeous photos! You have such style!

    I'm not plus sized, but I'd still like to say… I also had my dress made after going to a wedding show (AVOID!!!) and beind scolded by several vendors for ordering my dress so late (I had 6 months to go until the wedding when I went – not that late!) and for being unsure of my size (I'd just had an operation to remove a giant ovarian cyst). Everyone just… save yourselves the hassle of pre-made dresses.

    Whatever your body shape is, whether you're fat or feel fat or whatever, if you have your dress made, it will be made to fit YOU, the way YOUR body is, and it will fit you perfectly when you try it on the first time when it's finished. It's incredibly uplifting! If you get a pre-made dress, you'll have to go to a series of fittings where criticizing bitches will probe and nit-pick at where your dress doesn't fit perfectly (or rather, where your body doesn't fit the dress perfectly). If you have even an ounce of insecurity about your looks, as most women do, they will inflate it to death!

    It's much more exciting to have your own, completely original dress made, too. And contrary to belief, it's not that expensive. My dressmakers worked within the 500$ budget I gave them and did not once try to sell me any additional stuff. I would recommend them but they don't do custom orders anymore, but I will say that I found them on Etsy, which is a fantastic place to look for wedding dresses.

    Alternately, I also didn't want to put my bridesmaids through the ordeal of trying on dresses that didn't suit them or all their different body types, so I let them choose their own dresses.

  • jesscar

    I only found off beat bride last week and your site today. I LOVE both blogs, and I only wish I had found them when I got engaged – it would have made the last 9 months so much easier!!
    Thank you so much for making me feel like I dont have to be a clone to be beautiful on my special day.

  • jennifer666

    You look beautiful and so happy for your special day. I'm planning my own fat girl wedding (although I prefer to think of myself as “juicy”) and wedding dress shopping wasn't so much fun. I have gotten some good info from your blog and can't wait to check out some of the links for more ideas. Congrats, sistah!

  • maghan

    I just found this blog on my favorite bride website, Offbeat Bride. I am a big ole gal, getting married in late September. I OBSESSED about my weight for so long, and when my wonderful fiance proposed last year, the obsession increased ten fold. Suddenly I HAD to loose the weight, I HAD to have a gorgeous body, I HAD to not eat that fresh baked chocoloate chip cookie that had just come out of the oven…but I digress…I became so stressed over losing weight and planning a perfect wedding, and this and that, that I (GASP) lost 10 lbs, then promptly gained 25 lol. I pouted and cried because I couldnt fit into my wonderful wedding dress anymore. I tried a very unhealthy detox-ate salads till I was sick of lettuce…and then I woke up.
    I think it was a combination of things that did it. One was that the detox made me sick and put me out of commision for several days, and another was a beautiful plus size wedding dress that I found on ebay (may the gods bless ebay for all of eternity), another was reading a book called Wedding Goddess, by Laurie Sue Brockway. In it is a chapter on beauty, about pampering yourself like the wedding royalty that you are, and about the UNREALISTIC and stressful weight loss that heavy brides often put on themselves to loose weight. Basically, honey, if he loved ya fat before, he's gonna love ya fat now and forever, amen, blessed be, and hallelujah.
    I realized, I was already big girl, already fat when he proposed. I'm fat in the bedroom, I'm fat in kitchen, I'm fat down at the damn Wal-Mart, and I will be fat at the altar, and he is going to be just a happy, if not happier, than he would be if I killed myself trying to loose 75 lbs in a few months-cuz, wow, would that make me grumpy.
    So I took a deep breath and just let it be. And I found lots of gorgeous plus size brides online, including you, doll, you rock that red dress! I love the Alice in Wonderland/Red Queen theme. You show so many women HOW to be wedding royalty, how to have fun and rock their style and just BE. Thank you. Wonderful blog, site, and tips for us bride's to be!
    Oh, and how I did love the look on the formal boutique owners face when we walked in to get my husbands measurements taken for a zoot suit (which we did not buy there). She had the tiniest waist I have ever seen on a healthy person, and had that deer in headlights look that says, There is nothing in this store that will fit her, what AM I GONNA DO?
    Poor thing. Perhaps i will send her a candy bouquet for the emotional upheavel?
    Blessings!!

  • http://www.ceremoniesbybethel.com bethelnathan

    You are awesome! And you look amazing and so very happy in that dress! I love that you wrote this, expressing it so well, and inspiring so many other brides and soon-to-be brides in the same boat. Love it! I also was a plus size bride, not sure what kind of a dress I was going to wear and would like on me, until I tried – but the first dress my now-husband pulled out for me to try on ended up being the one! He knew me and my body better than I did (the dress I had pulled out didn't look nearly as good as his choice!). I loved it, felt gorgeous and loved, and didn't care what anyone else thought. I proudly post my wedding photos in my Facebook profile for all to see and share! :)

  • GodlessWitch

    You are absolutely stunning! That dress is fantastic! Those may be the best wedding photos I've ever seen. You are both glowing with happiness in addition to looking incredible.

  • despire

    Great article, thanks and you look stunning!

  • belarouse

    Natalie, I saw your wedding featured on OBB a while back and Alice in Wonderland was always a favorite of mine growing up so naturally I was in love with your wedding theme. You rocked your red dress in an inspiring way and all of the photos you and your husband seem blissfully happy… the way it should be!

    I'm a size 20 bride and I pretty much refused to subscribe to the insanity of the traditional wedding right off the bat. My bridesmaids are all much smaller than me ranging from a size 2-size 14 US and who cares! I met my soon to be husband (7 weeks to go and counting!) when I was 30 lbs heavier and he thinks I'm gorgeous already. Why would want to starve myself in an unhealthy manner or try to live up to a standard of beauty that is definitely NOT our standard.

    I've been pretty appalled in general while planning this wedding at just how much of a money scheme the entire industry has going for the most part from overcharging for dressing the wedding party, to floral work, catering, venues and what have you. I've been an event coordinator for years and I know what's reasonable and expected cost and what's inflated because vendors feel they can tack on an extra 20-50 % to their normal fee for anything with “wedding” in the title. Add “plus sized” to that and you're looking at even more expense. C'mon two-three extra yards of fabric in a dress does NOT equal several hundreds of dollars in extra labor or materials.

    I'm not wearing a one piece gown at all but a huge ruched ballroom skirt with a train, bustier and fitted victorianesque bolero jacket because I am a little shy about my upper arms. The bolero and skirt I bought on eBay new for much cheaper then the original retail price. The skirt was part of an outfit where the corset top was apparently made for Hannah Montana! lol But an $800 outfit for $99 was a steal! The jacket is simple and being fancied up as we speak with fabric corsages made from vintage fabric scraps and brooches on one shoulder. I had to order the bustier from a well known bridal chain store but it was still a great price. I finally tried on every component last week and while I still need some alteration on the waistline of the skirt I was shocked at just how awesome the outfit looks. I may be fat but I'm very well proportioned and have a bangin' hourglass figure and I specifically chose an outfit that really plays up on the curves and accentuates my much smaller waist. I even am wearing white which given my goth and glam rock personality is sure to shock friends and family alike. Overall I'm glad I pieced together an outfit because it WILL be unique and not an off the rack copy of thousands of other gowns. I keep telling people are theme is “stuff we love” which considering we live in Texas kind of ended up being if Tim Burton and Johnny Cash hosted Cinderella's Ball. I learned to say “no” very gracefully and quickly so everything is meaningful to us- not the bridal industry.

    Thanks again for your great advice and I hope the two of you have a long and very fulfilling marriage.

  • daydreamwanderer

    thank you so much for this article! I never thought of myself as fat… until I started dress shopping! My word, I wear a street size 8 (and am DOWN TO IT after college!) and love my body — apparently no one else does though! I couldn't BELIEVE the pressure there was to 'slim down'. One of my friends, not so close on an emotional level but we spend a lot of time together because she's super extroverted, keeps looking at me any time she sees me eating and saying things like, “I guess I just assumed you would want to lose weight before the wedding, was I wrong?” or “Wow, are you sure you want to eat that? Aren't you getting married [next YEAR]?”

    It blows my mind that so many women put their body through crap to lose a few pounds for one day, then put it all back on after they're married. Why on EARTH would I want to look different on my wedding day than I look normally!? I want to look like myself!!! Not look back (like so many of my married friends do) and sigh whenever I see my own wedding pics and say “I was so skinny then. I need to lose weight.” -THAT is the sentiment most of my girls have walked away from their weddings with, and it makes me SO SAD!!!

    Okay, this has obviously been bugging me, hehe… thanks for letting me vent, and THANK YOU for loving your body! I hope I can stay as strong and confident about mine!

  • http://corgisandcupcakes.wordpress.com/ Rachel

    That is a very empowering and strong decision you made and I'm proud of you for doing it! I'm 5'3″ and 140 pounds. I know I'm healthy (I run and do yoga almost every day) and I can eat what I want to and I'm not sure how I'd take it if my fiance told me to lose weight before the wedding!

  • Nicole

    I know exactly how you feel! I'm a size 16 and you'd guess I'm fatzilla according to bridal shops. We went on the hunt for a dress that would suit my needs, a black and white one for my tastes. I went through 3 shops without finding anything satisfactory with out any flack, but one shop earned my utter discontent. I was talking to one of the ladies in the store and she was going on about a sale and what not, of course I was idly listening nodding my head shuffling through dresses and I asked if there was one I could try on. She said 'I'm sorry, we don't have any dresses in YOUR size in stock,' To which I retorted 'Excuse me?' “We only carry up to a size ten, we'd have to order it for you to try one on.' The conversation ended when she told me that I'd have to BUY the dress to try it on and I scoffed mid sentence and walked out without another word. It's a cruel cruel world when you aren't anorexic (I'm sure it's just as cruel when you are anorexic too… )

    So walking down the road with my mother, grandmother and aunt in tow, I was on the verge of giving up when my aunt pointed out a store and laughed 'Holy cow, look at those bizarre dresses in there, I'd say we avoid it and move on' which was cue for me to go inside it because I love dragging her into places like that. Inside I got a warm hello by a woman *Gasp* my size. I told her what I was looking for, she sized me up in a glance and pulled a dress off the rack. The first dress and it fit beautifully and was exactly what I wanted. I was amazed! So of course I got it, dragged my bridesmaids to the store, got their dresses there and have had excellent customer service from a hole in the wall funky bridal store.

    Anyway, our wedding is a coffee and dessert wedding with a black and white theme. Being an artist, I wanted to make my own invites that were so weird that everyone receiving them would know it was from us without a doubt- so the card was a drawing of my orange cat yawning (but it looks like he's shouting) asking what you're doing on the 24th of October?! The inside was my grey cat with a goofy look inviting everyone to the wedding, the where, when and what of the ordeal. They were sent in annoying lime green envelopes or hideous purple envelopes with a neon orange origami frog inside with directions and information about the park it's at. With invites like this, it's giving a people a taste of what to expect, which is non tradition with plenty of oddities, and of course, of my fiance and I and our quirky personalities. Yeah… so I've not heard any flack about my weight so far, and I don't think I will.

    Fat bride tip- don't give into the pressures of loosing weight. It's ridiculous to loose a lot of weight for your wedding, not feel like yourself, and of course try to keep it off from that day on because you'll want to. You're getting married because you are you, not some cut out figure. Be yourself, have fun, eat all the cake you want to and enjoy your day comfortably.

    BTW: I love this site, and you are so beautiful! Keep it up! ^_^

  • tara

    You are beautiful and so was your wedding!

  • kcm723

    I love your blog! I'm a bit nervous, being a larger bride-to-be myself and the more I read on the subject the more nervous I'm becoming. I've read horror stories about what certain bridal salons have said to big brides and it's encouraging to know I'm not the only one in this position. And by the way, you looked lovely!

  • redspidermonkey

    Wowee! Natalie, you look like an absolute siren in that dress. Really gorgeous. And I love your hair.

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and having the care to share your advice with girls all over the world.

    I have curves and I love my body and have found the 'helpful' comments tiring. I am also about to walk down the aisle in a red dress, so you are giving me more strength than you could know.

    I hope your day was absolutely everything you dreamed of.

    Kindest wishes,
    Heidi
    Australia

  • athenadevore

    where can you get plus size dresses at? i live here in colorado, am having hard time finding a dress in plus size for me. my husband and i are renewing our vows on may 28th.

  • DIY_Bride_2011

    This is a great story to hear. I also was enaged before and had weight loss pressure. Granted, I'm not at a healthy weight like you are.. I'm 5'6, and at the time was about 245lbs. My ex-fiance's mother was a personal trainer who, at 49, wore a size two. She lived in a uniform of designer jeans and fitted designer tanks that showed off her giant purchased chest, the only thing on her body that wasn't waif-like (however, despite being so small, she still looked older than her true age, due to daily lays in her personal tanning bed! At least I had her beat there). The day after my ex gave me the ring, he and his mother sat down with me to “help me work out a diet plan”. She put me on a a VERY VERY VERY unhealthy plan of 800 calories a day.. SERIOUSLY??? The saddest thing is that at 21, I didn't have enough confidence to realize how bad this was.. I followed the diet faithfully for a month, dropping over 20lbs in under 4 weeks… They praised me, but I was SO unhealthy.. I was tired all the time, my hair didn't shine, and I was constantly irritable and shaky. Finally something clicked in my head.. one day he made a snarky comment about my weight, and I looked at him calmly and simply handed back my 2carat dazzler. Diamond be damned! I wasn't going to live with that. It was hard, I'm from the south, and for every year you get past 20, the number of ppl asking when you're “finally” going to get married increases thricefold. But I just realized it wasn't worth it.

    And boyfriends aren't the only one's causing the problems. I used to have a TOXIC friend who did the same thing. She would constantly complain about her own weight, and (i guess to make herself feel better) would lump me, saying how “horrible” and “grotesque” our fat was. Excuse me, miss no self worth, I've learned to love myself!!! I've never had trouble finding dates or friends, a bubbly personality and a pretty face go a long way, thankyouverymuch!! We no longer see much of each other. She is also recently engaged, and has been a a major diet for some months now. She's lost a lot of weight and I'm sure is healthier and feels better, but when you hate what you see in the mirror, and number on a scale can't fix things.

    Now, at 26, I'm at my highest weight ever… 289lbs. And I'm so crazy in love its insane. My fiance truly thinks I”m the most beautiful woman he's ever met, and I know he will no matter WHAT weight I'm at. I will admit, I do plan on working out before my wedding. But I have no set weight loss goals of any kind. My main plan is to tone up and start feeling a little better… I want to have LOADS of energy for the big day. Right now, I'm a size 28 in a wedding dress. If I can work out and gain energy and feel great and still be a size 28, then I'm perfectly fine with that. If I happen to lose weight between now and then, thats fine too. All I know is as long as I'm walking down to meet the man who loves me so much and makes me SO HAPPY, I'll be happy, even if i'm a size 54 and wearing a burlap bag!!!

  • http://bayareabrideguide.com/ megan

    I love the picture of you playing crochet..makes me wanna have fun!!!! fat people have fun too right????? i cant remember the last time i let myself be the crazy, fun, silly me in a picture. inspiring. love the article as well.

  • http://bayareabrideguide.com/ megan

    i love the picture of you playing crochet. you look like you are having so much fun. its a good reminder to have fun and not worry about your size, way you look. all that stuff…like i catch myself doing as a plus size woman. anyhow, love the article. thanks! catch me on bayareabrideguide.com the “plus size bride”

  • Name

    I needed this!!! I am going to be a fat bride, and I will have a fat husband. I have not eve started dress shopping yet because it has been put in my head that I should lose weight first. But I have been this size for years and I do not want to starve myself so I can look like my former, high school self on my wedding day. I need to remember that I am happy and beautiful the way I am, why change that. And not to mention my fat future husband loves me as I am. THANK YOU for being proud of who you are!!

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