The first time I got married, I was hoping to put together a non-white ensemble, preferably in green or purple, in medieval style clothing, because my ex and I had met in an online RPG. His mother, however, really wanted me to wear the floofy white gown, and she offered to purchase it, so we went down to his hometown one weekend to visit bridal shops.
At the first shop, the fiftyish woman who "helped" us looked down her nose at me and sneered, "I don't think we have anything in your size. She sighed and frowned, and made irritated noises while she dug out a couple of extremely ugly dresses. She had me strap on a longline bra that did not fit--I was an H cup, and the bra was a C-cup. When I pointed this out to her, she told me that I would have to make it work, because there wasn't anything larger. After about fifteen minutes of being treated like that, we got out of there.
The next shop was a little friendlier, since the women running the place were plus size themselves, but they kept trying to push me toward an A-line dress "because they are slimming". I don't know where they got that idea, considering that anything hanging straight down from my breasts made me look enormously pregnant. They told me that there wasn't much they could do, on such short notice (we were planning to get married in three months), so I'd have to take what I could get. They strapped me into this gaudy mess of pearls and sequins, left me to admire my mirrored image, and I whispered to Mama Ex that we needed to get the hell out of there before I strangled someone. She agreed.
Our last ditch effort, without which I was planning on a Betazoid wedding, was a large chain bridal store. Now, I believe in supporting small businesses. I understand how frustrating it is for a good small business to have to compete with larger chains for pricing--and that is why the small business MUST make up for it with superior service and knowledge. The small shops failed me, though, with their snobby behavior. How dare I think I was worthy of marrying someone? And how dare a fat girl think she deserves a traditional wedding? We should be slinking through the back door of city hall to apologetically ask a judge to take pity on us and consent to trapping some poor man into wedlock with our disgusting selves.
So we walk into Big Chain Bridal, and we are immediately assigned a consultant. She was a tall, slender Italian woman in her forties. She was brisk but friendly, and I told her that we'd had trouble finding anything in my size elsewhere, and did they have Size __ there? She smiled and took us to a whole AISLE with probably a hundred or more gowns in my size!
She then asked, "Have you considered an A-Line? They are very slim-"
I cut her off by pulling my shirt tight against my body, showing her my curves. "I don't want an A-line; I want something that shows my curves, not hides them."
"Ah, you definitely should not have an A-line! You have a waist and lovely curves!"
I found an absolutely gorgeous gown that I loved. While I was trying it on, with Mama Ex's help (she was awesome; I wish her son had turned out more like her than his dad), the consultant found a longline strapless bra in my size and helped me into it. She was kind, friendly, but businesslike--very matter of fact about what I needed. She guided me through the stuff I would be needing, helped me make appointments for fittings and final pick-up, and, best of all, was congratulatory about my upcoming wedding. No sneering, no meanness, no pushing me toward things I didn't want. And really, was that too much to ask?
For my second wedding, I decided to bypass the whole mess of dress shopping. Brian and I had purchased a beautiful cream-colored gown at Goth in a Box (not the real name), and it fit what we wanted for our wedding very well. It was a simple but lovely wedding, and I was spared a great deal of the condescension of dealing with the wedding industry because of it. The dress was a great deal more comfortable than a traditional gown, too. I wanted to enjoy my wedding instead of being preoccupied with the binding, chafing misery of traditional frippery, and I am glad for the choice I made.