The 12ish Style's Katie Sturino's Guide to Designing a Custom Plus-Size Wedding Dress
The just-married blogger and founder of Megababe Beauty shares all of her tips, from the design phase to the final fitting.
Katie Sturino, the blogger behind The 12ish Style and founder of Megababe Beauty, is officially married; her wedding was a coming-together of all of her favorite places (New York City's Cooper Hewitt Museum and Ralph Lauren's Polo Bar), people (former mayor Michael Bloomberg officiated!), and foods (chocolate cake!). For a wedding all about favorites, it was only fitting (pun intended) that she wear a wedding dress from one of her go-to designers, Sachin & Babi-and even more appropriate that her gown was a bespoke creation, born of her favorite fashion details and accents.
Just days before her wedding, Sturino opened up to Martha Stewart Weddings about the process of designing a custom wedding dress, from the ideation phase to the final fitting, as well as shared her best tips for plus-size brides also considering the custom route. Believe us: Her advice holds up. The bride slipped into her gown during our conversation-and loved what she saw. "Confirmed. Final fitting happened while we were on the phone-it fits great."
Create a positive experience for yourself.
Sturino says working personally with Sachin & Babi to create a wedding dress for her specific body type was an incredibly positive (and streamlined!) experience. The final product, an A-line sheath gown with a flattering V-neckline and a dramatic bow at the back, was the result of just two fittings. "Listen, they were great, especially for a bride who isn't sample size. I thought it was pretty impressive," she says.
The team at Sachin & Babi helped her craft this positive experience-something she didn't have in the majority of the bridal ateliers she visited. "When you are working with bridal consultants, there is a lot of conversation around weight-these consultants are like, 'You are going to lose weight before the ceremony, of course, so we will take it in right before.' This was something I heard all the time," she explains.
Know that you don't have to subscribe to that weight loss rhetoric.
To Sturino, this pre-wedding obsession with weight loss is toxic. "I feel like [women] get engaged and what's the second thing they start to talk about? What is your wedding diet? What is your weight loss program?" she says. "That begins a really ugly cycle of fast dieting and feeling angry for six months. And then, guess what? You gain it all back-and then all you do is look at this photo and are like, 'My wedding weight, my wedding weight!'"
When looking for silhouette inspiration, look to a piece that you've already worn-one you felt beautiful in.
Sachin & Babi had dressed Sturino before-and she'd loved the design so much, she asked the designers to create something similar. With this starting point in mind, the rest came together in about "five minutes," she says. "We 'frankenstein-ed' a dress concept based on some of the other dresses and styles they had in the showroom. They were so easy to work with!"
Prioritize support and comfort during the original design process.
"I wanted something that I could wear a bra with-so nothing super strappy. [Sachin & Babi] measured me so that I could have support under [the bust] and be comfortable," says Sturino. "I know that for your wedding dress, comfort isn't necessarily meant to be the number one priority-but for me, if I am not comfortable, I am not going to have fun."
Don't get bogged down by your idea of your "dream dress."
Plenty of women, whatever their body type, have a picture of the "perfect wedding dress" in their minds-it's often an image or idea they've had for years. That ideal dress isn't always what works best for your shape, however, says Sturino. "You get the dress on you and you're like, what? So, go with what feels good-not with this dream that you have in your head."
Sturino, who loves color and fashion-forward design, actually surprised herself when she saw the garment during her first fitting. "I was fully, accidentally classic. I didn't mean to do this!" she says of her creation. She liked that it was a departure from her everyday look, though-and simply decided to "lean into" a more contemporary second style (a suit by Veronica Beard). "I was like, 'Well now I've gone bridal, I've gone very classic-and now I will wear something that is my heart and out there."
It's okay to pull the plug.
Wherever you are in the custom wedding-dress design process, don't be afraid to speak up if something about the gown doesn't look, fit, or feel right-regardless of whether or not it's what you originally wanted. "I would say go with your dream and bring in plenty of inspiration, but don't be afraid to pivot when you see something off," she says. "If they've cut the full dress out of the muslin and draped it on your body and your first thought is 'Whoops! Something is wrong here,' don't be afraid to pull the plug."