weddings

'I was a plus-size bridesmaid. This is what I want you to know about it.'

In 2021, right before the pandemic reached an all-time high in Australia, my best friend tied the knot with her high school sweetheart. 

The bride, groom and all six bridesmaids had gone to high school together (some since kindergarten), and it was the first wedding from our friendship group. 

Watching our best friend walk down the aisle, surrounded by immense love, and with the understanding that this will be who our friend spends the rest of her life with was emotional. I still play flashbacks in my mind daily. 

We ugly cried, smiled long after our mouths began to hurt, and did not want any of it to end.

If it isn't clear, my best friend's wedding has been a major highlight in my life.

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any reservations before diving into all of this as a plus-size woman.

Watch: The things people never say at weddings. Post continues below. 


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Being a bridesmaid for the first time is a new and unexpected challenge in itself, but there are so many more factors to consider when you're fat.

I learnt a lot from this experience, and there were tiny details that I feel like would have been incredibly useful for me to have known before I said yes to this glorious, beautiful, unpaid gig. 

So, here are 10 of the things I would recommend to anyone who is about to be a plus-size bridesmaid. 

1. You likely will need to get a specially made dress. Prepare for the cost. 

As a fat woman, a lot of brands don't cater to you. Clothing and shoes are also difficult, even when you have a big budget. 

When I was asked to be a bridesmaid, I knew I had to prepare to spend a lot. I didn't mind - it was my bestie's wedding day after all. But I wish I had prepared a bit better and made more financial sacrifices so I could spend bigger for the occasion. 

After all, the photos taken aren't just from a night you'll forget - they will be revisited for decades to come. 

So when the bride told me she wanted the bridesmaid dresses to be from a well-known Australian designer, I emailed the brand right away. I wrote some long, lofty letter with lots of questions about whether they could make me a dress in my size. I ended the email with something along the lines of, "Don't worry if not! Thanks!" Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from them. 

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Thankfully, my friend - who is very talented - told me he could make me a dress when I ranted at him in a state of stress. Bless.

The dress with the dressmaker. Image: Supplied.

However, I wish I had invested in a dressmaker instead of trying to cut corners and getting my friend to make the dress. He's very talented, but it was a lot of stress and pressure on him to make something so close to the date.

We got the fabric from Spotlight, and it cost me a few hundred. It was a little different compared to the actual bridesmaid dresses that all the other girls were wearing, but thankfully pictures were deceiving and it looked pretty spot-on for the actual day. And, of course, the lovely bride approved beforehand so everything worked out.

The fabric of my dress vs the bridesmaid dress. Image: Supplied.

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I'd recommend going to a dressmaker in your area to get something made. It will cost you a lot, but for their expertise and workmanship, I think it's worth it. 

2. Understand your bride is aware that you're plus-size.

When I was asked to be a bridesmaid, I was nervous. I thought maybe she wanted me to lose weight to fit in with the rest of the group who are all thin. 

Obviously, we've been best friends for quite a while so she was pretty aware I'm not a small person. She asked me to be a part of her day, because she wanted me to be. 

The bridesmaids with the bride. Image: Supplied.

If you also are lucky enough to get a request like this, don't shy away and don't be nervous! Chances are, they know you might need to do a few things differently from the other bridesmaids, and they are chill with that and want to help you.

It's all okay, I promise. 

3. Outsource where needed.

Don't pass up on the hairstylist or makeup artist. For some reason, I skipped getting my hair styled because it was a low bun. It worked out in the end, but please, just shovel out the extra cost. It's worth it. 

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4. Swallow your pride. 

You might be asked to do things that are a little difficult or require you to do stuff you would usually never do. 

For example, we were asked to do an entrance dance into the celebration dinner with our groom partners. I was set up with a guy I went to school together and I know both him and his wife very well, but it was still the most nervous I'd ever been because I cannot dance and I also didn't want to embarrass myself. 

The bridesmaids and the bride. Image: Supplied.

This is just an example, but looking back, it's one of the funniest memories I have from the day and it made the bride and groom happy, which is really all that actually matters. 

Step out of your comfort zone, swallow your pride, and just do the damn thing. 

5. Give yourself extra time.

If you know you need to take bridal photos in 20 minutes but the walk to get there is eight minutes, start sooner rather than later. 

As most of us know, weddings are pretty well-planned with an aim to run smoothly, but being plus-sized, I knew I would need a few more minutes to get to places because I walk a bit slower. 

I'm glad I walked ahead of everyone else and gave myself time to touch up if needed. It's very worth it, and I highly recommend it!

6. Ask your fellow bridesmaids for input.

My fellow bridesmaids helped with everything I did. From the shoes to the hair and makeup - we worked very well as a team. 

So don't be afraid to ask for help and to give it as well. If you think your fabric choice is off, get a second and third opinion. If you're unsure about your makeup on the day and the artist is busy, ask for a touch up from a bridesmaid.

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Ease your bride's worries by not bothering them and go to someone who understands, just as well as you, how important the wedding day is.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio. 

7. Boob tape is your BEST FRIEND.

Boob tape is the stuff of Gods. I wouldn't recommend what I used though because it was PAINFUL to remove and you might actually scar yourself in the process.

However, boob tape is the best because it supports your chest while still being invisible from the rest of the world. 

The Mamamia team recommend Booby Tape, or the Skims Tonal Body Tape as pain-free and inexpensive options.

8. Bring a back-up of everything.

Boob tape? Three rolls. 

Bobby pins? Two packets. 

Bridesmaid dress? Bring something similar just in case you do something catastrophic. 

Sneakers? Please don't forget them (and your crocs too, while you're at it). 

Underwear for a two-night stay? Bring 10 pairs all in nude and white.

9. Make a list. Prepare that list again. You're probably going to need to write that list for a third time, too.

Admittedly, I'm the most unprepared person I know. I love to write lists. I am meticulous about CREATING them but do I carry them out? Very rarely. 

Well, when you're a bridesmaid and fat, you typically don't have the luxury of going to someone else for a spare shirt or dress if you forget yours. My friends are extra-prepared and actually had a spare bridesmaid dress in case someone didn't like theirs - they were all the same size though.

Be so prepared you make yourself sick. Bring extras of everything and be an over-packer. No amount is too much. I brought a spare dress, two spare shoes, and about 15 pairs of underwear so I wouldn't be caught out on the day. 

However, I forgot bobby pins and invisible hair ties... so clearly I needed to be a bit more thorough when making my bridesmaid packing list.

10. Smile! Be happy! Soak up the love!

It's so unbelievably easy to get wrapped up in the day and be self-conscious about the way you look or feel. It's understandable, but days like this only come once. So lap it all up and choose to be present and live in the moment. 

I remember every minute of my best friend's wedding day and it's because I made the active decision to not worry about whether I looked 'too fat'.

Your best friend or family member's wedding is a special moment, and it deserves your utmost attention - so worry about everything else another day. 

What's your best bridesmaid tip? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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