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Accommodating Bridesmaids with Different Builds (Bride Needing Advice)

Hello Everyone! 
I've been trying to get some help on how to support and encourage one of my bridesmaids who is plus size. I chose all of my bridesmaids based on how much I love them and now my great friend is getting cold feet because she doesn't want to be the "fat bridesmaid" as she puts it. She has recently sent me articles/blogs posted by plus size women about their woes of being the bigger bridesmaid. She and I met at fitness camp and she has been the one friend who has really stuck with me while I lost 100 lbs... we both know what it is like to be self conscious about our weight and therefore I really want to make sure I find a dress that suits her body that she feels comfortable in. Many people have said that I should pick out a dress with her depending on what she feels comfortable with and then my other 3 bridesmaids can just go along.... I have also considered getting 4 different dresses (made of the same fabric and same color- yellow) that suit each of my ladies' needs. She is comfortable discussing this all with me but I don't want to put her on the spot with other people around. I know she would want something with a bit more coverage around the arms. I have been searching and searching for a store (or dress company) that has a wide range of options for different body types and haven't been that successful. 
I know it's my day but I want my ladies to be up there standing proud and comfortable with me (I know if the tables were turned and I had to wear a dress I didn't feel comfortable in, my night would be ruined).

Does anyone have any words of wisdom, store recommendations... anything?! 
Perhaps another bride (or groom) has done this successfully and would like to share their secrets?

Re: Accommodating Bridesmaids with Different Builds (Bride Needing Advice)

  • Without knowing the stores in your area, it is hard to tell you where to go. You can search online but I know that as a plus size woman, I wont buy anything I cant try on first. I have three bridesmaids, and only one is plus size. I took her with me to look at dresses a few months ago. No decisions were made, but she did get a chance to see what she felt more comfortable in. This allows us to have an idea of what to look at that she would be comfortable in when we go dress shopping next month :)
  • My bridesmaids are all different sizes. I have one that is a 0 (don't even get my started about how that's not a real freaking size) and one that's a 26. I went to David's bridal and picked the color I wanted and then told the ladies to get whatever dress they felt comfortable in. That way people could cover up as much as they wanted.
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  • My bridesmaids ended up ordering dresses that ranged from sizes 8-26. Once I was able to narrow it down to a designer, color, length and fabric, I gave my girls free reign over style. They all ended up picking the same gown.
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  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    David's Bridal and Alfred Angelo are probably the places I would start.

    Find out what the budget is for the dresses and then go with your friend and figure out what fabrics/shapes work and then go from there.

  • Ditto PPS about needing to try on dresses.  Are you really dead set on yellow, though?  Yellow isn't the most flattering color on many women.  I know if I was asked to wear a yellow dress, I'd end up feeling extremely self-conscious because I would spend the entire time I was wearing it feeling like I looked like someone just dipped me in a big vat of mustard.
  • I agree with silver. I did the same thing gave them they freedom and they ended up all picking the same thing. My plus size bridesmaid was also really uncomfortable with her arms showing. She is going to wear a shrug. It made her feel so much better.
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  • mori lee and jasmine have dresses that come in sizes 0-32 you could start there you might not find a full coverage dress sleeve wise, but if you find a style she likes you can always have a bolero  made for the dress
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I have been the sole fat bridesmaid, and while it can feel awkward at times remind your friend that she's standing with you as one of your best friends on the day you marry your best friend, and what's important to you is that she feels comfortable and happy. I would definitely recommend taking her shopping alone. You can even have her buy a dress that isn't branded as a bridesmaid's dress--I love Macy's and Nordstrom's plus size selections. Then if each of the girls is in a slightly different dress all in yellow, it won't look odd and she can wear something that makes her feel beautiful.
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  • I'm letting my BMs pick their own dress, whether it be off the rack at Sears, Walmart or a bridal shop, I said as long as it's black and cocktail length, get something that you are comfortable in. I'd rather my ladies be comfy all day and dress like themselves than be uncomfy and self conscious.

  • What one of my friends did she went alone with her BM who was the most plus size and had her make sure the that sizes for the dresss the bride wanted would work for her (she opted for Alfred Angelo) and once she knew that would work, she let the other BM know what to get. They all got the same dress but in your case you could say, ok here is the brand, now get this color & length. For your BM that prefers arm coverage,  a shawl like the one in the link below. If she goes for the shawl, to keep it up like a jacket she could drape it over her shoulders, then under her arms and tie it which would turn it into a jacket & give her coverage, which would probably look great with a strapless dress. Plus with doing the sheer fabric this way over say taffeta or satin, it's cooler & looser so she won't have to worry about sweat spots.
  • None of my BM's are plus sized, but they are all different shapes/sizes.  I just went with a color fabric and approx. length and had them get whatever they wanted.  So far out of the three I've seen they all picked something different!
  • I like Erikan's suggestion. I would go dress shopping with JUST HER. If she finds a dress that she's comfortable in (and comes in yellow) there are options for arm coverage. there are bolero's, wraps, and you can also buy a little bit of fabric and make a very nice "shoulder cap". if you're not a sewer, they're super easy, the seamstress should be able to knock it out and won't cost you and arm and a leg.
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