For curvy gals, finding a good wedding dress isn’t always easy. A lot of dresses look like they were made for very small women without a curve in sight, and squeezing yourself into ugly garbs that make you look misshapen isn’t the best way to enjoy that pre-wedding period. Luckily, you can still find your dream gown. Big hips, big busts, and big bellies are all welcome into the fashion industry, and finding the perfect outfit is easier now than it used to be. All you need to know are a few tips that will help you find the best dress that will flatter an enhance your shape, and that’s why we’re here.

If you’re in need of good advice, just read on!

Find the right store

If you’re plus sized, then find a store that carried larger samples and can actually cater to your needs. There’s nothing worse than wasting time by visiting boutiques that don’t carry anything you can immediately try on, so do your research and only visit stores that will have several things to show you. You need to be able to try a gown on long before the wedding starts, and most dresses usually require some adjustments—the point is, it’s a process and you’ve got no time to waste.

Figure out which shapes work for you

Try out regular dresses you have at home, and figure out what kind of cuts you like. Do you prefer empire waists? Do you like A-line cuts? Do you like a V-neck? Write down these details and let the dress consultant know what you feel comfortable in and what you want to try. It’s also a good idea to consider things other than dresses—a modern suit or a skirt and top combo are absolutely allowed, so pick something that reflects your taste.

Invest in good undergarments

These are absolutely essential. Your bra is going to be extremely important because the right garment will give your breasts a nice, round shape and keep them looking firm and beautiful, and every single dress you try on will simply look much better. Invest in high-quality sexy plus size lingerie that makes you feel seductive and enhances your body shape, and make sure to find the kind of garments that fit you like a glove. Never squeeze yourself into something that’s too small or too tight. Celebrate your body shape and enjoy being a gorgeous curvaceous queen.

Consider adding Spanx into the mix

If you want to look more toned, then consider wearing Spanx and other kinds of shapewear around your belly and other problem areas. They’re totally optional and you don’t have to put them on if you find them too uncomfortable, so don’t feel pressured to do it.

Avoid shiny fabrics

Satin and other kinds of shiny fabrics aren’t always a bride’s best friend. While they can look nice and delicate on some gals, on others they can look gaudy. Not to mention the fact that shiny fabrics can make you look bigger than you are. The same goes for beaded fabrics and other heavy-looking materials. If you don’t want to end up looking bulkier, skip these and go for something more matte.

Experiment

Just because you don’t think you can pull off a mermaid dress doesn’t mean it’s actually true. It doesn’t hurt to try out gowns that you don’t think you can pull off because you never know how they will actually look like on your body. Do yourself a favor and listen to the dress consultant—if they think that you should try something, then try it. They’re experienced and generally know their job. If you like something, then allow yourself to experiment and get out of your comfort zone.

Always take a picture

Certain dresses will look lovely in person, but when you take an actual photograph they’ll end up looking awful. Some fabrics simply don’t photograph well, so to avoid this problem, always take a picture of yourself wearing the gown.

Wear makeup

You don’t need a lot of makeup, but doing a little eyeliner and mascara will make it easier to choose an outfit. Certain dresses might look overwhelming when paired with a bare face and simple shoes, so it’s not a bad idea to glam it up a little because this will give you a more accurate vision of yourself for the big day.

Keep an open mind and walk into every store with a proud smile. Your curves are gorgeous and you are utterly impressive and stunning—remember this as you shop for the dress. That confidence will be your biggest ornament.