What’s wrong with a big dress?

This is a post that has needed to be written (and posted on AOW) for a long time. In my very very first post, I wrote about how it didn’t matter what type of wedding you were having, whether it were an elopement or your fairy tale dream day, you deserved a space to talk about it, and you deserved to have everyone respect your choices. And you do. 

There is an element to the wedding industry, and particularly the wedding blogging world that I really can’t align myself with. The thought that unless you have an ‘alternative’ slimline dress (which of course, now, nearly everyone has, so is it alternative any more?), your wedding is not seen as being worthy.  That having a big dress automatically propels you into ‘WAG’ world, and is something to be derided. What gives us the right to do that? 

It is the same with a whole host of things – I know Anna had to defend her choice to have red roses as her flowers because she loves them, whereas the blogging world would have you believe that only a truckload of peonies would make your wedding ‘stylish’. I had to defend my choice to have the classic church wedding followed by a country house reception because what was what I wanted – whereas I should have had a whimsy outdoor ceremony followed by hog-roast if I’d wanted to fit in with the blogging world’s image of a ‘perfect’ wedding. 

This belief that we have the right to judge other people’s choices is something that I think we should fight against, so I was so glad when Krista wrote in with this piece. She rightly points out that it is *her choice* to wear whatever dress she chooses, and as women who have been brought up to believe that choice is our right, how can anyone possibly deny her of that. 

Especially when she looks as amazing as she does.

Even with a bridesmaid under her dress.

I remember my first dress shopping experience like it was yesterday and I went with a long list of things I did not want my dress to be, but the number one point was that it was not to be big. No Jordan-esque, princess dresses were to feature on my list as they just aren’t cool or stylish are they? Look at most of the designers and you will see that Grecian, fishtail and empire lines feature predominantly with the odd fuller style thrown in almost as an afterthought. Then the blogs, which had such an influence on my wedding planning, just do not feature larger dresses or if they do, their pages are filled with afterthoughts of regret from the wearer.
So then, imagine how I felt when I quickly realised I wanted something a bit more *ahem* fuller. As soon as I put a bigger dress on (Pronovias’ Georgia) that was it and I knew I had to have something of that shape. However, my previous opinion of bigger dresses worried me and I debated with myself whether it was practical for me to wear a bigger dress. So I went shopping alone again and tried some more styles on and it only confirmed my previous thoughts.. smaller dresses just didn’t do it for me. I was actually a bit gutted as my wedding vision did not include a meringue. All the people whose opinions I valued (I was a particular RMW fan back then) seemed to be very anti big dress and that threw me into a tailspin, plus I couldn’t find any bigger dresses that I loved.
 Then came Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.. Oh..My.. God. That took bigger dress mockery to another level. When people asked me about my dress I panicked and was actually a bit embarrassed that I was going to be choosing a bigger dress and, without fail, every time there would be a comment along the lines of BFGW or a look of distain which was exactly what I wanted to avoid. Even my Hubby to be was horrified ‘our wedding better not be turning into BFGW..’ and thought I was winding him up when I told him I was going big. I started to stop talking about my dress or going coy about the details as I just wanted to stay away from the mockery, however light hearted it may have been.

I spent a long time worrying about my choice. It was definitely ‘the one’ but I worried if I would fit down the aisle, how I would sit down, whether it would be too heavy, how I would walk around, how I would dance, how on earth I would go to the loo and what people would think. All I seemed to read was people saying how unpractical their dresses had been, how they were restricted by what they could do and I really didn’t want that to happen to me. Like every bride I wanted to look amazing and I wanted other people to think the same but I was concerned I would be the butt of jokes with my BFGW dress.

On the day none of my concerns mattered. I was very glad I had four BMs as I needed their help walking to the church whilst the train was down, I tripped over the hem a few times but I loved it so much and there was nothing I couldn’t do (once the train was up). I managed to fit down the aisle without squashing my hubby, sitting at the top table was a bit more difficult purely because of the amount of material around me, I mastered walking stylishly (well as stylishly as I walk normally), I went to the loo all by myself all day long and I could fit at least one BM under my dress if I needed to (see pic)! My hubby welled up when he saw me and loved the dress, I felt amazing, so incredibly happy and it showed. And you know what, one of my favourite compliments I received on the day was that my dress had changed people’s views of bigger dresses.

Categories: Wedding Planning, Wedding Pretty
21 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Fee
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Hooray for this post!

    I too have a big dress and worried about not being 'stylish' enough for a bit before realising that my wedding day was about being happy and feeling good, not about living up to the trends being set by people I didn't know.

    Big dress, small dress, non wedding-y dress – everyone should choose the dress that makes them go 'ooooh!' when they put it on!

  2. Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Hooray to this!! Having to defend decisions is the worst bit of the whole planning thang I reckon. I am currently defending, on a weekly basis, my decision to go high street.

    Krista, you look stunning and so happy. More photos please!

  3. Christie
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    First off, Krista, you look AMAZING! Everyone should have a "bridesmaid under the dress" picture!

    I never thought I'd end up with a bigger dress but that was more to do with being 5ft3, pretty curvy and unable to wear heels because of my short future husband ;) and although it's by no means in the realm of BFGW big, the skirt is more than I imagined I'd be able to deal with. It turns out, I like to swish and it makes me happy. Who'd have thought it!?

    Stuff what's "cool" or "stylish" who gets to decide that anyway?! If it makes you feel beautiful and you enjoy a good swish, I'd recommend big all the way! I certainly can't wait to wear mine anyway :)

  4. Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I'm not having a 'bigger' dress myslef but this post reminded me of my first attempt at wedding dress shopping. I took my {then} 5 year old daughter with me. She 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the big, beautiful dresses in the shop, even stroking their full skirts, much to the horror of the sales woman! And then, as I asked to try on a divine Jenny Packham dress, all slim and slinky, her face dropped. 'Why do you want to try that one mummy?', she said.

    I don't think she's forgiven me for not having a train she can carry behind me. She gave me many serious, knowing looks as we watched the royal wedding {was Kate's not a big dress? And very stylish with it}, as if to imply I had failed at this important bridal task!

    Loveaudrey xxx

  5. Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    From the day I got engaged I wanted a big-ass princess dress. As far as I'm concerned I have ONE DAY in my WHOLE LIFE when I can wear a dress like that and not look like a cuckoo-pants. Sod elegant and classy, I haven't had an elegant or classy moment in my life, why start now? I want my Disney princess moment, tiara and all. But without the patriarchal overtones.

    As it happens my The One dress was much smaller than I anticipated. But still bigger than the accepted stylish slimline fashions that litter the blogs, it's a full-ish skirt. I don't care, though, it's my dress and I feel beautiful in it. So when people mention BFGT to me I just nod enthusiastically and tell them with a straight face that the battery pack for the fairy lights is going in my knickers :-D

    K x

  6. Posted November 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    PS: Krista you looked phenomenal. I want a bridesmaid under my dress! :-D x

  7. Posted November 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    "and I could fit at least one BM under my dress if I needed to"
    This has to be one of my favourite lines ever. I would go back in time and have a big dress, just so I could do that.

    You look absolutely amazing in those photos, Krista – and good on you for sticking to what felt right for you.

  8. Elle
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Yay yay yay! I was starting to feel like I was the only one in the world who still wanted to swish around in a big princess dress!! Thanks so much for the post. I second Katielase wholeheartedly on all her points.

    I have one friend who very much thinks I am being "tres uncool" with my larger style of dress. She has seen piccies of me in the dress I have fallen in love with and has told me how short I look, and asked why I want to hide my figure – what about a nice slinky one? Etc.

    But I Love my top half, dislike the bottom half, I am not "super-cool" and most importantly I want to swish around in a big princess dress. :)

  9. Posted November 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful dress, Krista you look a-MAZING! I desperately, desperately wanted a big dress. As everybody has said, it's the one day when you get to do it and I was determined not to miss out! As it turned out, my dress budget dictated that a modest high street dress was the only option. Needless to say I tracked down one that at least made a statement, but I still gaze into the bridal shop windows whenever I go past and dream of what could have been…


  10. Mahj
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Krista, you looked bee-yoo-tiful on your big day, I'm so happy that you were happy with your choice. And you make a valid point that I have never considered before – a lot of wedding blogs/magazines/websites are all about the slim-line/slinky/silky numbers and thats about it. Bah.

    There is no way I could have worn a slim-line number, what with being of midget like proportions. Couple that with my Big Scary Pakistani Mother who was determined to see me something of the larger persuasion and brightly coloured to boot and my eventual wedding day outfit came to fruitition.

    It was a fitted corset top thingy with a full skirt. And I effing loved it. Like someone else above, I could swish around it and felt thorougly bridal and lovely. I dont care that all the embroidery made is so heavy that I had sore hips for a week, it was worth every damn minute of it.

    Big dresses RULE!


  11. Posted November 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Great post, and Krista you look stunning.

    It's the one day that you get to indulge all your dressing up fantasies, whether it be inspired by Disney's Cinderella, Downton Abbey, Audrey Hepburn, or Madonna's Like a Virgin wedding dress.


  12. Jenny Lane
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I get why people have big dresses, they are so much fun. I mocked with the best of them but when I tried one on I totally got it! I personally didn't get the magical feeling about any long dresses, Grecian, Empire or otherwised but I have been silenced on big dresses, they are up there with the best of them :)

  13. Esme
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Why do we try and tell brides what they should or shouldn't wear? Isn't it the one dress that shouldn't have anything to do with fashions?

    I hated the look of myself in a massive skirt, properly couldn't even look in the mirror without sqirming. But in the end my dress was more on the large side than slinky.

    Oh, and Krista? You looked so amazing in your dress!


  14. Mrs Jones
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I adored my dress and had so much fun on the day. I'm glad the post struck a cord with some of you too – here's to feeling amazing on your terms!

  15. Posted November 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Agree Agree Agree – My dress is a fishtale and is quite a big number. I didnt feel special enough in the slimline dresses and have quite big boobs so needed something more structured! I cant wait to wear it! xo

  16. L
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Your dress is beautiful.
    I wanted a full on its-my-day-damn-being-'fashion' and I'm not normally 'stylish' anyway Disney-yes-I'm-five-dreaming-about-ruby-slippers dress. I haven't found one I love yet and there's a pale pink grecian (dare I say it) one from pronovias that looked really nice on which confused me completely.
    Roses are brilliant, my favourite flower. Churches are amazing. All the pretty and old architecture goodness.
    Also what is with the fruit cake bashing. My mums fruit cake is the best thing ever!
    And now that I'm having a rant providing spare flip flops is another thing I just don't get. But then again I have been known to walk home barefoot (those fold-away flat shoes are genius, courtesy of my lovely sister)

  17. Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    You looked GORGEOUS Krista and are a shining beacon for big dresses everywhere! I had to go with a slimline dress myself as my mum made mine and I'm completely flat-chested. But if I'd have gone big then I'd have loved a dress like yours.

  18. Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I'm not gonna lie the big ass dress is not for me. True, it's not uber fashion-y – but you do what you gotta do!

    You've got to wear what you feel and look good in. If that is the giant dress – (then for want of a better phrase) – "Own it!"

  19. Posted November 4, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I commented before but it must have gotten lost – *sob* But then it gives me the opportunity to write a slightly more composed comment!

    I had a big dress – it swished and swayed and was a complete dream to wear. Everyone commented on how beautiful it was, with a recently married friend even lamenting that she wanted to get married again in my frock.

    It got trodden on, it's got a hole in it, and the hem is a rather yucky black colour…but they are all signs of a wonderful wedding day, so it doesn't matter.

    I had every intention of wearing a slinky number when I started my dress shopping, but the shop assistant pulled out 'my' dress and made me try it on…she obviously had an 'eye' for matching dresses as that was it, I was completely smitten.

    As Anna says, whatever floats your boat, you just gotta 'OWN IT'


  20. Nicola McCabe
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    So pleased to read this. Everytime I’ve met someone new regarding my wedding they look me up and down and nod knowlingy- you’ll have a lovely elegant slinky number…

    How awkward do I feel when I then shake my head and state I’ve gone big! I love my big dress, and have ~200 guests so another reason to make sure I stand out from the somewhat hefty crowd! What I don’t love is having to explain my choice to everyone from the florist to the caterer… Yes explain my style and wedding vision, but no I shouldn’t need to feel pressured to have my excuses ready for verging on the BFGW!

    Can’t wait to wear it in a few weeks- wish I’d come across this blog earlier in the planning stage!!


  21. Emma
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Love this post! And I would just like to say the author is STUNNING in her big dress! I have an official big dress crush on that Pronovias choice.
    I went semi-big as well, with Stephanie Allin’s Lana. It is rather trumpet in the front, but the profile is huge with a full-on bustle and train and I love it. It is completely different from both my sisters’ choices, so I am keeping it secret, but sent the photo to my mother, who has incredible taste, and it is a winner in her book, so I am rather excited to unveil my choice on the day of!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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