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Wedding Dress Shopping and Weight Change Journeys

Last time we were talking all about the timings of Wedding Dress Shopping.

This week we are focussing on one of the key factors brides consider when choosing when to shop for their gown - Weight Change Journeys.

Whether you are thinking of trimming or toning up, losing a dress size or so, going for a dramatic change, or trying to either put on a dress size or maintain a physic - weight journeys can be a big factor in when brides choose to shop.

We are going to take a deep dive into what all this means in the world of bridal and how that links into good times to shop for your dress - if you are on or hoping to be on a weight change journey on the run-up to your big day.

Wedding Dresses
Beautiful Wedding Dresses at Pretty Smithy Bridal

What if I’m on a weight loss journey?

So being on or thinking about a weight loss journey on the run-up to your big day can be one of the main things that stands in the way of brides shopping earlier for their wedding dress.

This can be a bit of a chicken and egg situation – if you don’t have the dress on order – it's not here in time for alterations for that perfect fit, or you have to shop from the ready-to-wed collection, closer to your day. But if you aren’t feeling comfortable in your skin and feel strongly that you want to lose some weight or trim up – you may feel disinclined to shop for your dress until you have at least started to see the results of your weight loss journey.

The first thing we would say is we are a strongly body-positive business, all our brides are beautiful, and wedding dresses are completely different from what we are used to wearing on a day-to-day basis. These dresses are designed to fit properly, giving you support, or freedom as required for your comfort and your body shape. Our experienced designers have made these dresses to highlight and showcase you and your figure. Whether it’s elongating your silhouette or supporting and highlighting your curves, these guys know what they are doing!

The next thing we would say is regarding what you are trying to achieve with your weight change journey. There is a big difference in bridal on whether you are toning up, losing a dress size or two, OR going for a very dramatic change.

Fitted sparkly wedding dress
Tulip - Arriving in-store early next year

Dropping a dress size or two or toning up…

Generally speaking, if you are looking at A-line or Ballgown style dresses, these can be altered before the wedding 1-2 dress sizes down easily, and normally this is through the same seams the alterationist would be working on for your standard alterations, so there aren’t usually huge extra cost implications here.

For very fitted dresses, such as Mermaid, Trumpet, or Column/ Sheath dresses – this is more like one dress size down and is usually again based on opening the same seams you would need work on anyway for standard alterations.

So, if you are on a journey where you are trying to achieve a loss of a size or two or trim up – you don’t need to worry so much about coming in earlier when you have more choices. We will always order for you as you are now – so if life gets in the way and your weight change journey doesn’t happen as you quite envisaged – your dress is still the right size for you as when you fell in love with her!

We will always be honest with you at your appointment and advise of what can be done with different dresses depending on your figure – how the dress is coming up on you as you are now, what is possible and what isn’t from an alterations point of view, if you are trying to lose weight.

If you did lose a little more weight than you were expecting then with A-line/ Ballgown dresses – it is usually possible to take them in more than two dress sizes – but at this point, your alterations may start to cost more, as other seams may need to be opened and worked on to proportionally take the dress in.

Toni - By True Curve - Part of our Curvy Bridalwear collection in size 18-36
Toni - By True Curve - Part of our Curvy Bridalwear collection in size 18-36

More Dramatic Weight Change

If you are thinking of a more dramatic change, like 4+ dress sizes, then yes, it may well be worth shopping closer to the big day, as your body shape could become quite different from as it is now, which may feed into the gown style or shape you end up picking.

However, it's important you do leave enough time so dresses can still be ordered for you rather than relying on the off-the-rail collection, as you will just have more choices to pick from. We would advise you to come in at least 8-12 months before the big day (where your timings allow - not everyone knows they are getting married that far in advance!).

This timescale means we can still order for you from the made-to-order collection and you have full pick of the off-the-rail collection. Depending on which dresses you love and the designers they have come from, sometimes we can take your dress order, but wait until further down the line timescale-wise and get you back in for a measurements appointment if you feel you are going to continue to lose weight as close to the big day as possible and finalise the size we are ordering with the designer then.

Remember we have a full range of curve-specific wedding dresses in sizes 18-36 at our boutique together with the expertise to let you know what weight changes can happen with different styled gowns. We will always be honest with you and if a certain gown won't work for you if you were to lose a few dress sizes between putting the gown on order and it arriving ready for alterations - we will let you know.

It's also worth knowing that the feel and fit of wedding dresses are dramatically different to the clothes we are used to ordering online or buying from the high street. The clothes we purchase for day-to-day wear are usually designed to fit by being stretchy, but not giving support or are meant to look baggy and unfitted.

Bridal is completely different, these dresses are designed to give you comfortable support, enhancing your natural figure to show you off at your absolute best. If you do struggle with the way you feel in yourself, sometimes this translates into a disinclination to come out wedding dress shopping, which is completely understandable. That said, almost every bride who feels this way feels dramatically different once they come out and experience trying these dresses on - so our best advice is to give us a chance to wow you with the selection and types of beautiful dresses we have to flatter and suit a wide range of body types.

You don't have to take our word for it though :) - check out some of our reviews from our Curvier Brides:

"I had such a lovely experience when shopping for my wedding dress here. First shop I went to and the first dress that I tried on was the one. As someone who wears a bigger size I was so anxious about going dress shopping, but my experience at Pretty Smithy Bridal made me question why I was ever worried! Thank you so much for helping me to find my dress I will miss popping down for my fittings!" - Ashley (Facebook Review)

"I'd visited 4 or 5 wedding dress shops around Devon before I got the chance to head to Paignton. I wish I'd not even bothered with the other shops. From the moment I stepped through the door I felt at ease and confident.

As a curvier lady I was unenthusiastic about finding my dream dress as my previous experiences hadn't been great. Amy listened to what I wanted, gave incredibly useful input without pushing my requests aside which other shops had done before and helped my entourage and I pick out some stunning gowns to try.

I cannot say enough positive things about this fantastic, sweet shop. There is an free on street parking right outside and the dresses in store are amazing, with plenty of different styles and price points.

Honestly ladies don't waste you time going anywhere else.

Thank you so much Amy & the team for turning my experience around and making my perfect gown a reality."

Tania (Facebook Review)

"Booked dress appointment few weeks ago when I arrived I was petrified as I am a curvy person worried couldn’t find anything for me but it was the best experience very friendly, loads of choices and the size range was brilliant found my dress after trying on 2 didn’t even have to worry if they were going to fit as her curvy range was brilliant x"

More dresses from our curvy wedding dress collection
More dresses from our curvy wedding dress collection

Maintaining or Gaining Weight

Now weight change journeys are not just about losing weight, for some of our lovelies it's about maintaining a size or gaining a dress size or two to get back to where they feel the most healthy and confident.

Life can be busy and full of stress, we all have different things going on in our lives, whether your job is all-encompassingcan or you are running around after your little ones all day (or both!) . Perhaps you care for a relative, or run your own business - there are a million reasons why the stress can build up and everyone reacts differently to these pressures, for some, weight gain becomes something they feel uncomfortable with, for others keeping the weight on versus feeling underweight can be a feature of how they feel.

If you are trying to maintain a dress size, because you naturally have a tendency to lose weight when you are busy, or, in yourself, you feel too thin against how you feel your best - we understand this can be just as challenging mentally as wishing to lose weight before you pick your wedding dress, but that this isn't always a publicly discussed topic in bridal.

Firstly we want to reassure you that we have dress samples in store from sizes 6-8 upwards for you to try on and we can order from a size 2 from the majority of our designers. If you are in a situation where you are trying to gain weight or are worried about maintaining a size we would advise you to come in as soon as you are able to so we can see what sizes you are coming up in dresses at the moment, and discuss what you are trying to achieve with weight change or maintenance versus the styles of dresses you like.


Depending on the changes you want to make and the styles and shapes of the dresses you fall for, we can advise you best on how to proceed.

It may be we can order in the normal timescales but have the dress made at a designer level with a corset back to give you a little more flexibility in sizing when your dress comes in.

Or, it may be that we take your dress order now, but the designers lead time allows us to do a measurements appointment closer to the wedding when we finalise the size we are putting on order for you.

Alternatively, it may be that the changes you are looking at, whilst will make you feel dramatically different, won't push you up a dress size in bridal (designer dependant, there can be up to 3-4 inches difference between bridal sizes, so if your measurements are say very slightly over a 4, we would be ordering a size 6 for you in any case, and the dress would be fitted to you in alterations, in this case, this may also leaves leeway for pushing your weight up the equivalent of a high street size, if this is what you are trying to achieve)

Of course you can come in closer to the big day, when you have perhaps started to see the results of the changes you are planning, if you want to do this the off-the-rail collection really comes into its own at this point. If you want to be assured we can still order for you no matter which designer you pick - we would advise you come in between 8-12 before the big day, as a starting point and we can go from there!

As normal if you have any questions - please drop us a message or give us a call. We can also organise 15 minute Zoom 1-to-115-minute so if you have questions and would like a forum to discuss your weight change journey - we can chat through your options before you even come in for a visit! Just drop us an email and we will get this arranged with you xx

Birdie from Brighton Belle
Birdie from Brighton Belle


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