Hello future Somerset Brides! If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re engaged, or soon to be engaged, or your wedding is imminent and you’re freaking out because you are just feeling chubby and not rocking your curves?

Anyone who’s ever been on a job interview while feeling chubby, seen a doctor while chubby, been to the cinema with a big bottom in tiny seats, been sat at parents’ evening wondering if the chairs are strong enough, etc… etc… knows that the stress of dealing with other people’s expectations of you are hard enough but your own inner voice is the devil! Many of our everyday experiences are super tough and the thought of looking for a wedding dress can be just overwhelming. Us curvy girls just tend to feel “not normal”.

Now bear with me, what’s in a name? Somerset Bridal isn’t called “Curvylicous Bridal” or “Brides with Curves” or anything else that alludes to your size for one very good reason… YOU ARE NOT YOUR SIZE (sorry… I know I am shouting). We want to buck the trend and let every girl know that “beauty comes in all sizes” and you do not need to go to a shop with a name that unintentionally makes you feel different to smaller women; as I mentioned earlier, many of our everyday experiences do this for us.

At Somerset Bridal you will enjoy the same wedding dress shopping experience that size 8’s can have in a normal (well as normal as we ever get in our crazy world!) wedding shop with fabulously unique wedding gowns that come in normal sizes. Now this is the important bit and what defines Somerset Bridal – our definition of a normal size is different to the majority of other wedding dress shops because normal to us can be a size 18 or a 22 or a 26 or a 30 or an 8 or a 14…

We aim to inspire brides, no matter what the number on your label happens to be and to provide you with the time and the space to be your true, gorgeous, scrummy and beautiful self.

Well.. here are a few tips I have come up with for our first blog for our super-duper Curvy Girls. Let’s forget the diet and just be our beautiful perfect selves so here are my top ten tips for chasing that dream dress down. These tips might save you a few headaches and a mountain of stress and go some way to making your special day actually special instead of stressful.

1. Find a place that will treat you right

Just because you are not stick thin does not mean that you have to settle for a below-par experience or to be treated badly. Find a shop that understands your needs, empathises with your issues, does not rush you and has sample sizes that you can actually try on.

2. Don’t zoom in on the numbers

Once we have found you your dream gown we will just have to get that measuring tape out to get your correct size ordered in (all the tiny girls have to do this too!) Please don’t fear this little bit of cloth! Bridal sizes are not High St sizes and this special dress may well be the biggest dress in terms of its number that you have ever bought. But repeat after me “no-one at the wedding can see the label and nobody cares what the number is so I am going to ignore it”

3. Don’t settle for an average “plus-size” dress

We are always being told what we should and should not wear.. we see it all the time in Heat magazine where celebrities are mocked for their choice of bikini or some previously skinny girl has put on weight and is shamed for daring to wear a figure-hugging dress on the Red Carpet. Choosing your dress is not about trying to hide you or find a dress that is “slimming”, it is about find a dress that shows your personality and any other bit of your body that you love; it’s time to ditch those stereotypes and rock that frock!

4. Practice Enjoying Being The Centre Of Attention

When you first get engaged, things can feel very weird. All of a sudden, everybody is an expert on weddings and especially on wedding dresses. Facebook friends who had little interest in you before suddenly want to know details about your wedding that you hadn’t even thought about. Friends and family all want to talk weddings with you and are planning your engagement party and your hen night. So… don’t fight it just enjoy it…let everyone make a big deal over your wedding and soak it up buttercup because it really is the best time of your life and it is FUN FUN FUN ( and really good practice for the big day itself).

5.You Do Not Have To Lose Weight

Say it with me three times, “I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding.”

You really, really don’t.

Ask any of your friends who intentionally lost weight before their wedding and then some that didn’t. I can almost guarantee you that the ones who didn’t try to lose weight had more fun leading up to the wedding and enjoyed their wedding day more than the ones that were starving themselves!

Trying to lose weight will increase your stress levels and make you agitated leading up to your wedding. You don’t have to change yourself to meet some expectation of what a bride should look like. You are going to be the bride, so why not just be you in your current, wonderful body?

6. Compromise On Stuff You Don’t Care About and Splurge On Stuff You Do Care About

You may not have been dreaming about weddings from when you were two or you may have married every boy in reception class! Getting married might not have been that important to you until you decided to do it. Whatever your vision for your big day decide early on what is not too important and what is incredibly important and allocate a budget to each element. You may want that really unusual pair of shoes or the double decker bus to arrive in, you may want Lewis Hamilton to drive you to the wedding (sorry… that might just have been me!) so just go for it! Save where you can and splurge where you must.

7. Looking Like Yourself In Your Wedding Pictures Is No Biggie

You are you and you need to look like you… don’t even think about asking your photographer if they can airbrush your tummy out! You will look exactly like you in your pictures, just pretty darn gorgeous with super makeup and better hair. Re-read Tip 5 and don’t starve yourself to look thinner in your pictures. It’s really okay to look like you.

8. Stop people talking about your weight and set some darn boundaries

You’ll soon realise that getting married very much involves learning to set boundaries; with your best friend, your mum, with suppliers. But one thing needs to be off-limits… your weight. It is nobody’s business but yours. You have permission to tell everyone in your life that it really is not okay to talk about your weight. You can tell Auntie Enid that you are not going to lose weight for the wedding, you are allowed to tell you make-up artist that you don’t want some weirdy contouring thing on your cheekbones to make your face look thinner.. who does that in the real world! It’s your weight and your business…

9. Remember, it really is All About YOU

This is your day, your way and your experience. Don’t be pushed into buying a dress just because you have been in the shop for hours. In fact don’t even consider committing to a dress unless you know that you cannot wait one more minute to put it back on and sashay your gorgeous self down that aisle. Only buy the dress if it makes you feel beautiful. Never buy a dress that makes you feel average or just OK. Your sister or Mum are not wearing their dress; it is your opinion that counts.

10. Lastly….Let it go… Let it go (bet you just sang that!)

Not everything is going to go to plan but the unexpected can turn out fantastic and memorable. People will be late, babies will cry, children might hitch a ride up the aisle on your train, someone might not be able to make it but focus on the person you are marrying and focus on the fun and all be well.