The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Sizes

Wedding dress sizing and charts can be confusing, and we're here to button up all of your most asked questions.
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Apr 07, 2023
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There's no denying that the world of wedding dress sizes can be a confusing one. It's unlike any other shopping experience you've had before. Not only does bridal sizing differ from the fit of your everyday clothes, but sizing can also vary from designer to designer. We know, it's a lot.

Ultimately, you should feel confident and beautiful in your skin, and you shouldn't let a number or tag define your worth or how much you deserve to be celebrated on your wedding day. To help you better understand how wedding dress sizing works, we spoke with Brittany Bergeron, Operations Coordinator at The Bridal Finery, located in Orlando, Florida, who will teach you everything you need to know about bridal sizing before you book your dress appointment.

Bride gets buttoned up into her wedding dress.
David Abel Photography

At a Glance

  • Bridal sizing runs about two to three sizes larger compared to your regular street clothing.

  • Sizing differs from designer to designer. The most accurate way to determine your wedding dress size is by taking your measurements at home or at the bridal salon, then comparing them to the designer's personal wedding dress sizes chart.

  • Shopping as a midsize and plus-size bride can be tough. There are plenty of tips and tricks to best prepare for your shopping experience.

In this article:

Are Wedding Dress Sizes Different from Regular Dress Sizes?

Yes, wedding dress sizing is different from regular street sizing. "Wedding dress sizes differ by running about three sizes larger than regular dress sizes," says Bergeron. "This means that a bride who wears a size 12 in the mall would be around a bridal size 18."

Why? Well, it's not because designers want to make you feel insecure; it's actually because, as Bergeron states, it's outdated. Bridal sizing is actually based on traditional European sizing from the 1940s. That's why sometimes your dress size will match your pant size and other times it will differ. "Bridal designers and dressmakers are generally accustomed to pattern making from the past, making it relatively difficult and time consuming to transfer over to modern day sizing," Bergeron says.

What to Know About Wedding Dress Sizing Before You Shop

Check Your Bridal Salon's Sample Size Availability In Advance

"Before attending your wedding dress appointment, call your bridal salon and ask what sample sizes they have available for you to try on at their shop," Bergeron says. "Bridal sample sizes generally range from a bridal size 6 to 10, which typically translates to a street size 2 to 6."

Ask Your Wedding Dress Boutique About Size Charts

"Wedding dress designers, especially those who specialize in custom made-to-order gowns, frequently have their own sizing charts," Bergeron tells us. "This means that bridal sizing often differs even further than typical bridal sizes." So don't be alarmed if you are a size 10 in one designer and a size 14 in another, this is completely normal.

Your Dress Will Still Likely Require Alterations, Even with Measurements

Based on the dress designer you choose and your measurements, Bergeron tells us that your stylist will help you determine which size to order. Once your dress arrives, it will likely still need to be altered. "Every wedding dress requires alterations, even if it is a custom made-to-order gown; this is to ensure that your wedding dress will be altered to fit perfectly on your wedding day."

What Bridal Sizes Mean for Midsize and Plus-Size Shoppers

We won't sugarcoat it: shopping as a plus-size or midsize bride can be stressful. Midsize brides may find that they just barely size out of a designer, and other times sample sizes don't always accommodate curvy or plus-size brides. However, we have been thrilled to see designers and salons offering more size-inclusive options for brides of all shapes and sizes. "There are now more bridal boutiques than ever before that have options for every bride's individual needs," Bergeron tells us. To avoid any surprises, contact potential bridal shops in advance to see how and if they can accommodate brides who are not within the sample size range.

"Depending on the gown and the bride, some bridal stylists are able to provide special undergarments or pin/clip the wedding dress on the bride's body without fully zipping the dress to help give the bride a visual of what the dress will look like in the correct size," she tells us. "If you are not a visualizer and it is important for you to see the dress on your body with no clips, pins or modifications, there are bridal boutiques that specialize in a wide range of bridal sizes.'

"If you fall in love with a specific wedding dress or wedding designer, don't let the sample size available deter you from booking your appointment," says Bergeron. "Staying open minded to adjustments, pinning and modifications throughout your bridal appointment will help you envision your wedding day look as well as ensure you find your perfect dress!"

Need dress inspiration? Here are a few plus-size wedding dress designers who are killing it when it comes to size inclusivity:

So, What Size Wedding Dress Am I?

If you're visiting a bridal salon, your stylist will take your measurements so they can order your designer dress in the correct size. To figure out your wedding dress size at home, check out our guide on how to measure for a wedding dress. Once measured, be sure to write down your numbers so you can align them with the wedding dress size charts below to help find the best fit for you.

Wedding Dress Size Chart Guides for Bridal Designers from A-Z

Wedding dress sizing is difficult enough. To make it a bit easier, we've rounded up wedding dress size charts from all different designers for you. Psst: Don't see your favorite designer listed? Don't fret. Some designers are completely custom, with no sizing at all. They simply require you to contact them directly or visit in-store to order.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bridal Sizes

Now that you have a better understanding of bridal sizing and how to measure for a wedding dress, here are some answers to other questions you may be wondering about.

How many sizes can a wedding dress be taken in?

Typically, a wedding dress can be altered either two sizes down while still keeping the integrity of the gown's construction.

How many sizes can a wedding dress be let out?

A wedding dress can be let out only by one size. However, if you do need to go up several dress sizes, your seamstress may be able to add a lace-up corset back or gusset for a comfortable fit.

When should I get my wedding dress altered?

You should take your wedding dress to its first fitting no later than three months prior to the wedding. This gives plenty of time for two to three fittings to ensure your dress fits like a glove.

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