FASHION | Wedding Post: My Phase Eight Wedding Dress And My Plus Size Struggle To Find It.

Phase Eight Eliza Wedding Dress (£750)

I will start this post off by explaining that hubs and I had two weddings. We hadn’t planned it like that, but as we were getting married in a villa in Spain we had to go to the a registry office in the UK to make the wedding legal. Initially this was going to be a quick in and out affair, but due to some family circumstances we ended up making it into a smaller wedding so that special people who couldn’t make it to Spain could still witness us getting married.

Getting married and planning my wedding was meant to be a really exciting time for me, but I found that some of the things that were meant to be part of the fun really wasn’t.

I found THE hardest part of the wedding planning was finding a dress.We (my mum, sisters and I) started our wedding dress search out quite naively, I’m not a dressy girl and therefore was not one of those girls that has had their wedding dress in mind since childhood so I had no clue what I wanted, just that I didn’t want a massive full skirt.

We hadn’t realised that we needed to make appointments at the shops but luckily managed to get a last minute one at a wedding shop in Brighton. At this point the wedding was still 10 months away. We went in full of excitement, but it quickly went down hill. As a UK size 14-16 (high street) it was near on impossible to properly try dresses on. The store only stocked one dress of each design and this tended to be a sized 8-12 (as the dresses were fitted they tend to come up a size smaller). Obviously this made it very difficult to try dresses on, half of them wouldn’t go past my hips! The only dresses that they had for a women of a bigger size, were massive puffball skirt dresses that made me feel like I was Katie Price getting married for the upteenth time (if you like that look, my apologise, but it really isn’t my thing).

I managed to try one dress on that looked OK, but I didn’t like it and it was a size 22. I felt like crying. What made it even worse was that the male store manager just wanted to sell me the dress, rather than make sure it was what I wanted and started putting pressure on us to by it saying we were cutting it very close for my wedding (which, as I said was 10 months away). When I said that I didn’t feel like it was the one his response was simple “buying a wedding dress isn’t like in Harry Potter, you don’t go to the shop and the dress speaks to you, that is a story. You have to think of three things, can I see myself wearing it, do I like it and does it fit.” Needless to say we left the store and struck them off our possibilities list.

We had hoped that this had been a one off, but it soon became a common thing, going to shops where they had nothing I could properly try on. If the tiny samples did get past my hips then I was pinned into them or they were left open and I had to struggle really hard to decided what a correctly sized dress would look like. Wedding dresses aren’t cheap either, it’s a lot of money to spend on a dress that you aren’t sure of.

After several visits with my family to various shops, which often ended in me crying in the changing room or when I got home, I’d lost all hope of being a happy or confident bride and could not even face another fitting.

As the wedding grew closer, I finally managed to persuade myself to go shopping, this time with my friend Sophie. I have to admit this time was a lot better with two of the shops being fantastic having multiple dresses in my size and not putting the pressure to buy on me after I had explained how bad my experience had been so far. But still I had not found a single dress that I looked at and thought “this is it”.

After lunch Sophie and I had a bit of spare time and we decided to look at the dresses in our local Phase Eight store. Lauren at BelleDuBrighton had told me about finding her wedding dress there and I had been looking online at the range.

We went in and firstly I would like to point out that they were the FIRST shop to offer me a glass of fizz while I tried things on. The sales rep was really helpful and friendly, without being pushy at all and gave really honest opinions. But the best thing about it was they had their dresses in most sizes (their wedding range comes in sizes 6-20). They also stock a couple of pairs of wedding shoes and both long and short veils in white and ivory.

I’d had my eye on the Eliza dress right from the start, I knew the sleeves and neckline would be very flattering, along with the empire line of the dress to hide my tummy. But seeing the level of detailing on the dress in person really made me love it. I tried it on and we knew immediately we had a winner.

After spending months traipsing round all the wedding shops looking at dresses – that in my opinion often looked cheap, but cost £1500+,  I had found a lovely dress for less than half the price.

On a return visit to show my mum and aunt I also fell in love with a pair of wedding shoes and ended up getting the shorter veil in white from them too.

I’ve included some pictures of their lovely wedding dresses for you to have a look at – also put in the shoes I got too!


Have you had any wedding dress shopping upsets?

Love Lilla x

Love Lilla xx

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