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Marisa Rooney from Beautiful Brides Liverpool discusses the difficulties of shopping for a wedding dress when you’re not a standard sample size, and what her boutique in Liverpool does to help this.

As the owner of Liverpool’s first bridal boutique dedicated to curvy girls, Marisa Rooney is no stranger when it comes to changing how plus-size women are reflected within the bridal industry. 

Image Credit; Justin Alexander 2019 Campaign

Image Credit: Justin Alexander 2019 Campaign

Are you searching for your dream plus-size wedding dress? Then check out these 10 stunning dresses that will hug your curves in all the right places.

Creator of the #lifesizenotplussize campaign on social media, Marisa is determined to help plus-size brides find their dream dress as easily as possible. As a body positive campaigner, her bridal boutique in Liverpool is a place where all brides, regardless of size and shape, can visit and relax. She even has a no sizing label rule on all of the sample dresses!

How practical is shopping for your wedding dress when you’re not a standard sample size?

Sample sizes cater for the minority which means it’s very difficult to shop for your wedding dress if you’re not a standard sample size.

With such a varied range on metric measurements by each individual designer, it is hard to call a size 16 a size 16 when on some occasions these measurements can be out by inches meaning out by dress sizes.

One thing I have learnt over the years is that curvy bodies are often disproportionate, so a standard sample size will need adjustments to ensure the gown will fit you like a glove.

Not all boutiques have an alteration service so this again makes the process of shopping for your gown difficult. Therefore it’s important for plus-size brides to choose a bridal boutique that does offer this service.

What are the benefits of choosing a boutique that offers alterations?

The main reason for this is if you shop with a store that offers in-house alterations it will work in your favour. The boutique will be familiar with the dress and they will know exactly how much can be changed.

Unfortunately, some of my brides have made this mistake and have shopped with a store that offers take away on the day meaning their final dress looks nothing like what they tried on in store.

Are you a bride in the North West? You need to check out one of these bridal boutiques. 

What advice can you give to plus-size brides when shopping for their wedding dress?

Research the shop, get a feel for who they are, check out what sizes they stock and make sure you go to a specialist where the consultant will have experience on how to dress a curvy body.

It is advisable to not buy a wedding dress from a shop which doesn’t offer an alterations service on the dress you’re purchasing because the most important part of the whole experience is the final fit.

Make sure you go for a brand that is specifically designed for curves as they will have much more support in the construction of the gown. Also, research the curvy specialists online, they may not necessarily be in your area, sometimes it’s worth getting the girls together and taking a road trip. I have girls who travel from across this country to experience the magic.

Another piece of advice I could give is to not put off your shopping experience because you’re on a weight loss plan, remember a dress should work for you and not the other way around.

And finally, when it comes to styles you cannot tell what a bridal gown will look like on your body when it is hanging on a rail, lots of my brides tell me they are overwhelmed when they arrive at a bridal boutique to be met by over 100 bridal gowns.

It is good to allow the bridal consultant some control on what styles they suggest to you because let’s face it who else tries wedding dresses on every day of the week? But this is the consultant’s expert area.

Every bride has a different experience when it comes to shopping for their wedding dress that's why we caught up with five different brides to find out what it's like buying from independent boutiques first hand. Check out the full interview here. 

What are the key things you wish every curvy bride knew before shopping for her wedding dress?

I wish that every bride knew to shop well in advance, this doesn’t only give them more time to make sure they’re 100% about their choice but it then also helps with the financial implication.

If you’re going to a chain store, you’re likely to be buying and taking away your dress on the day. This means that you would have to go elsewhere for alterations.

This is the reason why I wish every bride knew to research into seamstresses and where they are purchasing their gown from.

Using a seamstress who does not specialise in wedding gowns is likely to cause you problems, if they don’t know the design of the dress inside and out it’s not likely to come back to you the way you wanted.

Which is why, if you are shopping with an independent bridal boutique it works out better for you, the process will be handled from start to finish with you 100% in mind.

The service that they offer a bride may take longer to produce the dress, however, this is down to having a design altered to cater to your needs. The patterns get changed at the factory stage, equally meaning you’re more than likely to get a one-off dress which chain stores cannot offer as they don’t dedicate the same amount of time to each bride which an independent boutique, such as mine, can offer.

Finding the perfect bridal boutique that stocks a range of plus-size collections can be a challenge, that's why we've put together a list of our favourite plus-size bridal boutiques across the country. 

And finally, can you describe the experience you provide in your shop?

I provide a five-star service from start to finish. From the first contact made to me from my brides, they will receive a personalised response where I will engage in conversation with them surrounding their requirements, their expectations and a bit of guidance on how it will work when they’re shopping for their gown with me.

On their first appointment, they will be greeted by myself and my lovely mum who will look after their every need on their initial consultation with me. I will make an assessment of the key elements the bride wishes to include, and I will assess her body shape and guide her with various styles and matching accessories to create the final look.

Some of my brides who visit are often battling with their body image, and so it is my responsibility as a body positive campaigner to help them understand everybody has a good body, and so we throw in a free self-love lesson. I have taken it upon myself to remove all sizing labels from the sample dresses in the boutique as this is something which adds to the body image issues.

Due to the sizing being different for every designer it is not fair to put my brides in dresses when they can see it is not their usual size. Sending my brides into panic weight loss mindsets is not what my boutique is about, as I have said everybody has a good body. 

This has become a major part to the success of my business, my bride feedback says it all.

Our in-house seamstress will make alterations to the gowns until it is fitting perfectly and the bride is 100% happy and feeling confident with the final look.

For her final visit when she collects her gown, the dress is displayed beautifully on a mannequin and they receive a secret final farewell gift from me, however, many of the brides who have shopped with me have become friends who support my campaign for curvy inclusion because we are not just any bridal boutique, we are a bridal boutique who is here to make a change.

Every bride leaves with a smile and a goody bag, and for those who choose to shop with me, the magical journey begins.

If you'd like to find out more about Marisa Rooney from Beautiful Brides Liverpool then check out her website. 

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