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Size-inclusive dress options are plentiful this year (as they should be!), from feminine designs to casual and elegant classics. This is excellent news because now that you’re engaged, you'll need multiple looks: dresses for your engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner (to name a few). There are also those extra wedding-related events like a post-wedding brunch and your honeymoon! For all these occasions, you will undoubtedly need a gorgeous dress, sometimes two or three.
“When thinking about wedding-related events, I always say go for the silhouettes that work best for you,” says Danielle Williams Eke, 11 Honoré’s design director. “Don’t feel like you have to try something new silhouette-wise. Let the details of the dress and the styling help you stand out for your special day.”
Meet the Expert
- Danielle Williams Eke is the design director of the luxury size-inclusive retailer, 11 Honoré. With a specialty in extended sizes, Williams Eke pioneers patterns, fits, and silhouettes for the plus-size consumer and spearheads the design team and production of the retailer’s private label, the 11 Honoré Collection.
After considering your own personal style, keep the specific occasion in mind—and what kind of statement you're looking to make. For a laid-back engagement party or bridal shower, Williams Eke recommends easy silhouettes, such as a wrap dress or fluid midis in elevated casual fabrics like stretch linen and textured organic cotton. Whether it be in a backyard, the mountains, or even seaside, silhouettes and fabrics such as these pair beautifully with an outdoor event. This will create a romantic yet luxurious look for the effortlessly chic bride. For dressier looks suited to a rehearsal dinner or wedding-day brunch, dare to make a statement by opting for bold details and sharp silhouettes. Williams Eke favors figure-accentuating fits, including V-necklines, halters, and waist-cinching sheaths, as well as unique details, such as ruching, asymmetrical hems, or a voluminous silhouette. These types of attributes will create that unforgettable "wow" factor—you are the bride, after all!
Ready to shop dresses that are size-inclusive and fit for curves? Discover 20 of our favorites for every style and budget ahead.
For the Bridal Shower: Lulus Together in Bliss White Lace Long Sleeve Mermaid Maxi Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: XS - 3X | Materials: Lace
Delicate and romantic, this floor-length lace gown just may be the epitome of bridal style. Featuring a daring slit, long lace sleeves, and a square neckline, this beauty pairs well with statement earrings. Keep your neckline bare to highlight your décolleté.
Most Effortlessly Chic: BHLDN Caron V-Neck Crepe Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 0 - 26 | Materials: Crepe
This V-neck dress is perfect for a dressier celebration, be it an engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner. It’s an excellent second style as well if you’re looking for a simpler late-night look.
For a Casual Engagement Party: 11 Honoré Nola Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 10 - 28 | Materials: Cotton and cashmere
The cotton and cashmere fabric of the Nola Dress provides a luxurious look to an understated style. Williams Eke says, “This easy silhouette can be styled up with a cute wrap-heeled sandal, statement earrings, and a wide-brimmed hat. The versatility of this dress means you can also wear it for years to come!”
For Something Blue: City Chic Opulent Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 14 - 18 | Materials: Satin
Opt for this sophisticated and sexy dress in either navy or peacock for your "something blue." The luxurious sheen to the satin fabric in addition to this irresistible fit makes for the most eye-catching design.
For a Virtual Bridal Brunch: River Island Plus Tiered Smock Mini Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 14 - 24 | Materials: Cotton
Being comfortable has never looked so good. This ultra-loungeable tiered smock dress is ideal for a virtual party on Zoom. The soft cotton fabric and flowy fit make it an effortlessly pretty look.
Best Slip Dress: BHLDN Cali Satin Charmeuse Midi Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 0 - 16 | Materials: Satin charmeuse
Keep things simple but sophisticated in this satin charmeuse slip dress. If your taste skews minimal, this design is a dream. Plus, this beauty has over 20 color options to choose from!
Best Black Party Dress: Eloquii Tulip Skirt Mini Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: 14 - 28 | Materials: Stretch knit
LBD lovers, look no further than this rainbow sparkle dress for your bachelorette or after-party. The long sleeves and subtle gathering of the black fabric add the most irresistibly sexy touch to this fitted silhouette.
Most Dramatic: Azeeza Plath Dress
Runs: True to Size | Size: XL - XXXL | Materials: Silk
“Opt for a unique wedding-day look with this voluminous gown by Azeeza,” Williams Eke suggests. “This 100 percent silk gazar dress features a high neck that ties in the back and a cascading asymmetrical hem that is sure to bring drama (the good kind) on your wedding day. The high-low hem calls for an exciting shoe, either bedazzled or in a pop color. Finish this look off with a glam drop earring.”
What to Look for When Shopping for a Plus-Size Dress
Before you seal the deal on just one dress—whether it be for your bachelorette or bridal brunch—be sure to cover all your bases. From your own personal style and the formality of the occasion down to the pieces you'll slip on beneath your bridal look, it's no doubt that even the smallest details can make a world of difference. For instance, while not all plus-size individuals have a fuller bust, seek out supportive design elements if you're a bustier bride. In fact, there continue to be more and more brands and designers that intentionally construct their styles to not only accommodate but also accentuate plus-size figures. With that being said, plan your undergarments accordingly as shapewear can make all the difference in showing off your curves. Most importantly, do your research, and don't hold limiting beliefs about what you can and cannot wear. Experiment with different styles by trying on varying silhouettes—and hey, that just means you get to play more dress-up!
What is the best plus-size engagement dress?
When celebrating your upcoming wedding, you'll want to choose dresses that make you feel comfortable, elegant, and special. This can be a casual cotton midi, lace-adorned sheath, or satin maxi with pretty embellishments. It all depends on your personal preference and the style of the party.
Do you have to wear a white dress for engagement celebrations?
Absolutely not! White dresses are fabulous for feeling your most bridal, but floral prints, bright colors, and sequin styles are equally stylish for various events.
How do you style an engagement dress?
Every dress calls for amazing accessories—it’s all about personal preference. A pair of heels works any time of year, whether you prefer a classic and simple design or festive detailing like bows or sequins. Delicate sandals, flats, and sneakers are great for casual spring and summer moments while stylish boots and booties work for fall or winter parties.
Why Trust Us
Contributing writer Laura Lajines is a writer and editor covering all things fashion. Prior to her work with Brides, she served as the senior fashion editor at the Zoe Report and PopSugar. Her work has also been featured in Elle, InStyle, Glamour, Refinery 29, Well+Good, and Barneys New York.