Every bride deserves to look like the princess she feels inside on her wedding day. Be determined not to let your weight or body shape make you resign yourself to not looking the best you can on this special day. Wedding gowns and shoes designed for more voluptuous brides may be slightly more difficult to source, but they are certainly on the increase as the market demand escalates. As with any bride, the shape of your face and the style of your wedding and gown determine the hairstyle you choose. If you carry weight on your cheeks and chin, though, there are certain styles that will not be flattering. For example, sweeping all of your hair back into a sleek bun or up-style may cause your face to appear rounder and fuller than it really is.

Look through magazines and on websites that feature full-figured brides and take the pictures of the styles you like to your hairdresser for trial versions.

A veil can affect the appearance of the entire ensemble. A short veil tends to shorten the neck and back, making the bride appear wider, while a long, sweeping veil elongates her body, neck and face.

The type of dress you choose depends on your particular body shape:

  • APPLE: This means that you carry your weight around your stomach, breasts, waist and ‘love handles’. You should opt for an A-line or Princess line dress, as these will lengthen your torso and detract from your middle.
  • PEAR: A pear-shaped body is larger on the bottom and hips, with a small waist and narrow shoulders. Make the feature of your dress around the shoulders to balance the width, or choose a dress that pulls the eye up towards your face (lots of detail at the top of the bodice, for example). Good choices would be A-lines, Princess lines or Empire shapes.
  • RECTANGLE: This body is not curvy, shoulders and hips are equally wide and the body generally appears fairly straight-sided. Even full-figured rectangles tend to carry their weight in equal measures throughout the body. The gown you choose needs to give the impression of a curvy waistline, so it should draw the eye up towards the top and down towards the bottom.
  • HOURGLASS: Even with a bit of excess weight, this body shape can always appear quite sexy. It is a curvaceous shape, and works well in dresses that highlight these natural shapes. Because this body is already well proportioned, even with some added weight, you will do well not to highlight a specific area (e.g. shoulders or bottom), but to keep the dress simple. A dropped waist also works well with an hourglass figure.
  • UPSIDE-DOWN TRIANGLE: Wide shoulders and a large bust are minimised by dresses that focus on the waistline, or have more detail on the bottom half of the dress. You should also keep your neck, chest and shoulders bare, so that they eye does not focus on these areas.

Choose fabrics that move and hang on the body, rather than clinging to it. This will give you some grace in terms of rolls and lumps, as they will be skimmed over, not accentuated. Be careful not to allow your breasts or back to bulge over the seam of the dress, or through the criss-cross lacing on your back. Keep beading and embroidery on the top and bottom edges of your gown to draw attention to these areas, rather than to a wider waistline or tummy. In general, full-figured brides should keep their dresses simple, not using a lot of lace, gathering, or ‘puffiness’. Make sure that your shoes are comfortable. Opt for a medium heel that is sturdy, rather than a very high one. Also, avoid a strap around your ankle as these shorten the leg considerably.

Your bouquet can add length or width to your overall look. Choose long, cascading arrangements that force people to look up and down your length, rather than a round one that only guides the eye from side to side.

A bride radiates love, warmth and happiness on her day, irrespective of whether she is wearing a size 10 or a size 22. Do not compromise on feeling proud, elegant and feminine on this most special occasion.

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