Informal plus size wedding dresses

In the market for the best Informal Plus Size Wedding Dresses? Our team has researched and reviewed these simple plus size wedding dresses and casual wedding dresses to help you come up with a better decision. We’ve also put up a shopping guide with the features you can consider when buying the best wedding dresses for plus size brides and cheap plus size wedding dresses.

Though in many bridal stores ordering up to plus size wedding dresses of size 28 is a possibility and in specialized plus size stores up to size 36 or 38, the average sample size wedding dress is a US size 10. In normal clothing, street size, this average sample size is equivalent to a US size 6-8. This fact is the leading cause of frustration for plus size brides looking for plus size wedding dresses.  Like all brides, the plus size bride has the desire to try on the wedding dresses and have the true wedding dress experience with friends and family escorting and supporting them with the expected joyful journey.

Informal Plus Size Wedding Dresses


They have no choice but to compromise the fashionable designer wedding dress styles they had dreamed of or seen in the magazines for the very few ‘less fashionable and glamorous’ plus size wedding dress styles available in their size in stores. Nevertheless, I believe that all brides of all sizes deserve to experience a fun wedding dress journey and be happy!

best wedding dresses for plus size brides

By designer Carolina Herrera. 2009

As if it’s not enough to not have the expected luxury to try on the style of choice, the plus size brides are humiliated when sales people think holding up a size 10 sample in front of you to imagine yourself in, or might I say under, is satisfactory and will do the job. Some of the more ‘creative sales’ people even take more embarrassing steps to create the illusion of fitting the very small sample dress by attaching a huge piece of elastic to hold the dress up to the brides’ bodies. It is no surprise that with such insensitive treatments, as a direct consequences of the big gap and unawareness of the existing large plus size wedding dress market, that the plus size brides’ hopes for a fulfilling bridal experience is instantly crushed.

In this article I’d like to empower you, beautiful plus size brides, with some useful tips to block away shortcomings in the market and fight back with confidence to get a well deserved special bridal experience and the perfect wedding dress for your fabulous voluptuous bodies!

Tip 1. Prioritize and make a plan of action or your wedding dress strategy.  To some brides the dress is not important.  If it’s not, find a site online, order cheaply, and have it altered.  Slap your hands together and move on to your other plans.  If it is super important, then you will need a plan of action if you plan. If you want the whole bridal experience (trying on the dress, family friends, etc), you may need to invest time to research and travel to find the perfect dress.  Do you research to see if there are any plus size bridal boutiques close to you or nearby larger metropolitan cities.  Get your Google on and don’t be afraid to go past the 1st page.

Tip 2. You need to order your dress about 10 – 12 months in advance.  This allows time for the dress to be made and shipped.  Take into account that you may have an international designer and possible additional alterations to fit the dress to all your curves just as you want it to be.

Tip 3. Find specialized plus size stores to save money. There are whole ranges of stunning wedding gowns especially designed with plus size brides in mind. Regular bridal designers may charge extra to cover the extra fabric and detailed measuring that is required. However designers who offer special plus size collections will not charge this extra fee.

Tip 4. Figure out who’s got plus size sample sizes when calling bridal stores to make an initial appointment. If they cannot accommodate your needs, it is their problem, not yours.  There is nothing more disappointing than going to try on dresses and they have nothing for you.

Tip 5. Forget worrying about size and focus on understanding your female body shape. Finding out what body shape you have is essential to find the right dress for you. For example slim A-line dresses with a light volume skirt are flattering to the pear shape figure. This silhouette has the power to direct attention to the top of your body and your face. For more detailed information of female body shapes please read the female body shape article to find out exactly what body shape you have and which wedding dress dress styles are most suitable per shape. Avoid full ball gown skirts as they can create an unwanted round look and tea-length gowns, as they tend to make women look shorter and ankle heavy.

Tip 6. Choose lighter fabrics such as silk organza and silk taffeta can easily create a silhouette and form a softer flow along the body. Sheer fabrics such as netting and tulle can also create the fantasy princess bride look. Heavy fabrics such as duchess satin can sometimes make the bride appear bigger. Of course the choice of fabric of your dress must fit with the season, style and setting of your wedding. If you have a more informal wedding style on the beach for example, don’t be afraid of choosing silk chiffon, because it allows your body to flow and breath more easily.

Tip 7. Flaunt your curvaceous and voluptuous assets in style

Love your shoulders and décolletage and are looking for a neckline to flaunt it? A sweetheart top, whether strapless or with cap sleeves, will beautifully show off what you’ve got. And if you’d like to show some skin without being too revealing, consider an illusion back, sleeve or neckline.

Two figure-friendly details are: ruching and corset backs. “Ruching can really be a bride’s friend in any size or shape as it helps minimize attention to less flattering areas,” says Terry Hall. It is a great way to cover fuller midsections or hips while still flattering your shape. Terry also leans toward corset backs, which are flattering on almost any plus-size shape. A corset back “really brings in the waist and makes for a cleanly fitting bodice.”

Watch out for pleat details. While they can add to a gown’s sturctural form and flow, pleats can be unflattering especially “if it hits you in areas of your body that you are trying to minimize, i.e. the waist.” according to Terry.

Tip 8. Straps can provide the support you need to hold your assets in shape. Although the majority of the limited bridal gowns for plus size bride in the market are strapless, most plus size brides prefer to have strap support to structure and frame the bust with a flattering open neckline. Both cap sleeves and wide straps offer a sexy touch and design without hiding the feminine shoulders and neckline. Only if you wish to cover your arms try on long sleeves or a small accessory jacket or a shawl. Remember if you love your body as is and want to show it off don’t hide yourself under unnecessary, uncomfortable or unflattering fabrics.

  This hand-beaded, ivory silk tulle dress worn by Octavia Spencer, 2012’s best supporting actress Oscar winner, was designed by Tadashi Shoji.
Tip 9. Choose a complementary and soft color to your wedding dress style and your skin color. The right choice of color can be a powerful design statement.

In 2010, Emily Deschanel married David Hornsby in a beautiful wide shoulder taupe colored wedding dress. This dress is feminine and sexy. The light fabric that flows down from her waist in the shape of an A line skirt, mimics the crossing and wrapping below her chest.

Tip 10. Find and wear a super supportive and shaping bra.
Ignore adverts such as: “Most of our wedding gowns have “The Magic Corset”, our own invention for shaping the wedding gown to give you the shape you’ve dreamed of while creating the illusion of loosing at least 2 dress sizes, and camouflaging flaws and accentuating assets.”

You need to find and arm yourself with the most perfect plus size bra before your first fitting and to wear on your big day. A shopping trip starts off best when you’re prepared with the correct undergarments. While many bridal salons have strapless undergarments available to borrow during your appointment, it is “much easier and faster when wearing undergarments that you are comfortable in,” says Terry Hall, Kleinfeld Fashion Director.

Take the time and invest in the right bra that can give you a smaller and more defined bust line when you have the front lifted up and held in the right position. You will need the shoulder straps to achieve superior bust shaping and support, so you have another reason to ignore strapless dresses. If you cannot find them in your local store, be resourceful and adventure online. Make sure you have the correct measurements in cm or inches. Double check the sizing chart online or speak directly with customer service for size recommendations. The online stores should have good return policies, in case it does not fit.

Tip 11. Don’t settle until you find the perfect dress and get what you want. This is your wedding and your perfect dress. Also this will probably be the most expensive dress you will ever buy.  Don’t just take something, because you don’t think you’ll find anything else.  The sales people might try to talk you into a less flattering dress because they have it in stock in your size or they think a certain style can only be flattering for the plus size brides. Be confident with your preferences and demands. It never hurts to try on more dresses and wait for the perfect one that wows you. Bring a couple of friends to give you their honest opinion and emotional support.

Tip 12. Don’t let your weight loss plans interfere with ordering your dress.   A lot of brides  plan to diet for their big day and put off ordering a dress because of anticipating being smaller.  Only if you are going from a size 28 to a size 0 this is plausible. However plus size women tend to take a longer time to drop sizes dramatically. If your goal is to drop 70 pounds and go down 3-4 sizes, it is still fine to order your dress and alter it later.

Tip 13. Order a size too big rather than a size too small.  Don’t order for an anticipated ‘wish size’. Order the size that you are today.  If you can get smaller going smaller is an easier and less expensive alteration.  Taking the dress out can cost more and could still end up in an ill-fitting dress.  I’ve actually seen someone make this mistake.  Avoid the fears of exploding in your dress on your big wedding day and having bad memory (and photos) of a small fitting dress.

Tip 14. Consider custom-made wedding dresses to get the exact design, quality and glamour you’ve dreamed of for your wedding dress. If you are not 100% satisfied with the selection in the wedding dress market, this might be the best option for you to consider.  If you find a talented seamstress you trust, you can also make a deal upfront to pay only for the total number of hours required to sew and fit the dress to your unique body shape by supplying them your own selection of fabric and design.  Experienced seamstresses can advise you roughly on how many meters of each fabric you would need to buy to bring your ‘one of a kind’ and unique wedding dress design to life. This solution can save you time, money and the unwanted stress.

Plus size brides can have a pleasurable and successful wedding dress experience if they inform themselves with the reality of the biased wedding dress market and prepare wisely with reference to the tips mentioned above.

Having a fuller figure is no reason to hide. Pick what you consider your best assets to be and look for wedding dress styles that will show them off. As Terry Hall says, “I am a firm believer that a bride should wear whatever silhouette she has always wanted and makes her feel fabulous. If she feels fabulous she will look fabulous.”

I strongly recommend to all brides and especially to you plus size brides to try on wedding dresses you like before ordering or buying them from an online store. I am more than confident that you will find the perfect dress that you will not want to take off! 

I will post another article listing specialized plus size wedding dress stores for plus size brides to consider and visit in person.  Until then please note that Kleinfeld’s store in New York has plus size wedding dress samples sizes between 18-22.  That translates generally to a street size 14-18.  Kleinfeld’s also has some plus size wedding dress samples from an exclusive designer, Dina Davos, that are true to size and are designed to flatter a plus size woman specifically.

Best Wedding Dresses of 2020

In a year filled with such turmoil, changed plans, postponed and virtual weddings, it could feel odd to be focusing on fashion. But with every story, we found that looking at the positives and focusing on the beautiful elements that make up a wedding day was always present. And that includes the wedding dress.

Choosing a wedding outfit is such a milestone in the wedding planning process, that even the couples who chose to scale down their celebrations didn’t skimp on fashion. Whether it was opting for a sublimely chic lace shift dress instead of a traditional ballgown, showing some whimsy in a pouf-sleeve mini dress, or just saying “to hell with it, I’m wearing the dress anyway!”—2020 brides were up against a lot of challenges and showed tremendous creativity and resilience as they plotted a new course.

Whether it was for a pre-COVID blowout, an ocean-side micro-wedding, or an at-home elopement, this crop of brides were just as fashionably epic as the last year’s—and they had a lot more to deal with!

Ready to see our favorite wedding dresses from the craziest year of weddings yet? We rounded up 30 of this year’s most fashionable looks.The 2021 Wedding Dress Trends You Need to Know01of 30

A Custom Made Gown


“I bought my first dress prematurely,” Upile Chisala admits. “It took a few months for me to regret the purchase and that is when I emailed my dear friend Syreeta and asked her to make me the real dress of my dreams.” Together, Upile and Syreeta spent weeks going back-and-forth, going from an ivory mermaid style to the final masterpiece: a stunning satin ballgown made of a nude-pink material that the bride found on Etsy.

“She [Syreeta] singlehandedly made this heavy dress in Maryland while I was in South Africa! I only tried it on once and my sister, Ngawina, brought it with her to South Africa. It had its own suitcase on the plane!” she admits with a laugh. “This dress was very mine not only because it was custom and Syreeta let me participate as much as I could, but because it was the result of love and came together because of so many people and cultures.”

Her advice? “Please do not buy a dress on your very first trip to the dress shop! If you love a dress, go home, and have a think about it before swiping your card. Sit down and be honest about how exactly you envision yourself on the day. “ 30

Fringed in Willowby by Watters


“I was always waiting for the right look, and it just so happened that my wedding dress was that look,” Sydney Connor says of picking her Willowby by Watters 30

A Custom Lehenga Choli Created by a Friend


On the second day of their wedding celebration, this couple threw a mehndi party, where guests were adorned with henna. The room was decorated with South Asian lanterns and antique lamps to evoke the Lake Palace, then accented with cascading orange and pink flowers. For this party, Monis Alam opted for an untraditional look: She wore a magenta lehenga choli, customized by Pakistani designer Ali Xeeshan.

The designer has been a friend for years, so Monis knew that she would wear one of his conceptions. After narrowing it down to three outfits, Monis sought her father’s advice, someone who has long shared her love of fashion. “When he suggested I go for the third look, I knew he was right,” Monis says of her final look, which included a custom dupatta.
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A Meaningful Lace Sari

groom putting necklace on bride

After the couple’s Western ceremony, Kelsey Maher exchanged her Vera Wang gown for the French Chantilly lace sari that Pra’s mother wore on her wedding day.
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Vintage-inspired in Galia Lahav


Jessica deRoquancourt flew to New York to search for her wedding dress—although she already knew she wanted a Galia Lahav creation. “When I put it on I fell in love,” she says of the bridal designer’s vintage-inspired, off-the-shoulder “Thelma” gown. “I just knew it was it. I didn’t try on any more dresses after that.”06of 30

Opting Out of a White Dress


Emily Sullivan Canova skipped the white dress, opting instead for a hand-beaded, peach-colored gown, and John donned a cravat instead of a bow tie. Their dear friend, Tinker Hatfield, head of footwear design at Nike, officiated the ceremony but also hand-painted sneakers for the couple and their children to wear during the reception. 30

A Custom Two-piece Creation


Josiane de Fatima Gomes Monteiro knew exactly what she wanted in a wedding dress so she e-mailed designer Luis Carvalho to make it happen. “Luis was amazing! I emailed him some pics of what I wanted, he made some drawings, we had a couple of fittings, and it was perfect,” she says. Ultimately, the gown was made with two pieces: a detailed underlay—that Josiane rocked on the dance floor later—and a long-sleeve draped wrap dress as a topper. 30

Pretty and Springy in BHLDN


Jenneh Bockari knew this dreamy BHLDN number was “the one” before she tried it on. In fact, she’d been eyeing it long before she even went dress shopping. “[I] tried on three dresses,” recalls the bride. “This dress was one of the three. I tried it on last, just to give the others a fair shot.” Between the plunging neckline and back, floral appliqués, and tulle skirt, Jenneh says it “was just the perfect amount of interesting—and was so comfortable.” 30

A Lehenga Fit for a Princess


When Harneet Sidhu first tried on her seafoam green lehenga she couldn’t stop twirling around in the garment—a clear sign to both her mother, grandmother and her that it was the one! “It made me feel like a princess and I didn’t want to take it off,” she admits. The bride paired the elaborate pastel and floral-patterned gown with a pink chunni (veil).10of 30

Show-stopping in Spina Bride


Michaela Almqvist admired the feminine and flattering details of her Liz Martinez gown that she found at Spina Bride. “It is a truly unique gown with a show-stopping appeal,” she says of its peplum top, 3-D appliqués, and tulle skirt.
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A Stone Cold Fox Dress Made for an Elopement


When the couple opted for an elopement, Jill Lavoie knew just what to wear: a lace Stone Cold Fox mini-dress that she had originally planned to don for the wedding’s afterparty. She added a cathedral veil from Made With Love Bridal, a pair of Stuart Weitzman heels, and pearl earrings from Wwake. As an added perk, she adds that she got her first manicure-pedicure since February, when nail salons shut down in D.C., for the big day.12of 30

Whimsical in Odylyne The Ceremony


“My theme was ‘Queen of Hearts’ meets pregnant bride,” wardrobe stylist Macy Orlowski admits. While specific, she found the perfect attire to accomplish her vision in the “Caspian” gown by Odylyne The Ceremony. “It’s playful puffy sleeves always resonated with me especially being a 90s kid that grew up watching ‘Alice and Wonderland,'” she says. The dress was originally intended to be her after-party dress. “But once I found out I was pregnant and our wedding was postponed due to COVID-19, I knew immediately this should be the dress I elope in and announce our pregnancy with,” she adds.13of 30

Laid Back in Azeeza


“My style is very laid-back and a little bit traditional, so when I saw this beautiful white Azeeza dress on Instagram, I knew I had to have it,” says Daniela Garcia of her midi dress, which is made of raw silk midi dress and features an empire bodice, gathered skirt, and puff sleeves. “At the time, I didn’t know if we’d have our micro wedding or not, but I figured I’d be able to use the dress for one of the pre-wedding events whenever the big one took place.”14of 30

A Dress Fit for the Ceremony, Reception and After-party


Alice Usanase-Lalui knew she wanted a wedding dress that could work for the ceremony, the reception, and the after-party. “I knew it was the one because I just felt at home in it,” she says. “The detail of the leafy ruffles reminded me of the outdoors and it was just perfect for an outdoor wedding. I can’t describe the feeling but when you know, you know.”15of 30

A Modern Take on Tradition


“I wanted a Xhosa wedding dress with a more modern design and silhouette,” says Sandiswa Sotashe, revealing she took her time dress shopping. The ultimate winner was an off-white Duchesse satin creation by Asanda Madyibi with Xhosa beading and black stripes.16of 30

A Timeless Berta Gown


Candice Wilson-Olensky, who is a film and TV producer and head of development and production at Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Network, found her Berta gown before visiting a bridal salon! She originally saw the dress in an image promoting an upcoming trunk show, and, of course, made an appointment. (Her mom even flew across the country to join her!)

“I tried it on and fell in love immediately. I knew instantly. I felt beautiful and timeless in it,” she says of the dress, adding that shopping was “100 percent better” with the company of her mom, who made the experience feel like playing dress up.17of 30

A Sparkling Sari


Isha Sathya and Suraj Philips flew to India together to pick out their bridal looks, including Isha’s Sabyasachi sari. She wanted to honor her South Indian roots and wear a sari, and she was elated to happen upon this tulle number from an archival collection.

“When I stepped out of the fitting room with the sari draped perfectly, I knew it was the one,” Isha says. “The sparkles gave it the perfect amount of glamour without being over the top. It was edgy, modern, with a hint of sensuality.”18of 30

Minimalist in Alexandra Grecco


“I love it because it’s an upscale and more glamorous version of the types of things I typically wear,” says Clare Stone of her minimalist Alexandra Grecco crepe silk gown. To create the illusion of a slip dress, she added thin, delicate straps—a task that was completed mere minutes before the ceremony began. She adds, “There’s something so powerful about feeling like yourself on your wedding day.”19of 30

Simply Elegant in Reem Acra

megan roup

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it and was comparing all the other dresses I tried on to that one,” says Megan Roup of her silk chiffon gown by Reem Acra. However, while Megan knew the dress she wanted, she says saying “yes” wasn’t entirely seamless—she had to go dress shopping by herself thanks to COVID-19 restrictions!20of 30

Goddess Vibes in Sophie et Voila


Dulce Martin’s dress shopping experience was an international one. “I tried on dresses in Mexico, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Paris, the Netherlands, and Spain,” she admits. “I also did it all by myself, as I wanted to hear myself think and decide according to what felt perfect for me, and I also wanted to surprise everyone, including my mom. Nobody saw the dress until I walked down the aisle.”

She ultimately chose two dresses: A custom-made gown for the ceremony and dinner by Sophie et Voila, and a second for the reception by Cortana Brides. “Both of them felt unique, they were both very comfortable to wear, and most importantly, they felt like me—or a very elevated version of me,” she says with a laugh. “They reflected two very different sides of who I am. One is classic, elegant, with a goddess vibe, while the other one is a little rebellious, and slightly sexy but simple and classic too.”21of 30

THAT Amazing Oscar Dress


“I had no intention of wearing a strapless dress,” Amanda Greeley says of her Oscar de la Renta ball gown made of silk and cotton lace. “I almost didn’t want this dress to be the one. I had seen it on the runway.”22of 30

Modern in Adam Zohar

bride and groom

When Danielle Moson went shopping at The White Dress bridal boutique in California, two Adam Zohar gowns caught her eye. “I literally couldn’t decide,” she admits. “One was super geometric and edgy—what I always thought I’d wear—and the other was beautifully soft and romantic—not my personality at all.” But when she came back to the boutique the following morning, her dress choice was clear: She had to go with the latter, a light-weight long-sleeve chiffon gown with intricate floral details.
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A Last-minute Day of Switch


“Up until the day of the wedding, I thought I was going to wear a sage green collared shirt under my white blazer even though I never really loved the way it looked,” revealed Laine Strickland. But, she made a last-minute switch the day-of, wearing a floral 7Diamonds collard shirt with her white J. Crew suit instead. “I am so glad that I did and Kaila loved the whole look,” she says.
Kaila Strickland tried on several dresses before slipping into this strapless Pronovias number. “I loved it instantaneously,” she says of the gown, which featured a deep sweetheart neckline and lace overlay.
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A Self-Portrait Number for an Intimate Wedding

bride and groom

Before changing her wedding plans, Justine Victoria Roach had planned on wearing a Valentino gown down the aisle. But when the extravagant nuptials turned into an intimate garden occasion, Justine opted for this floral lace midi dress by Self-Portrait instead—a look she decided on just five minutes before heading to the altar! She accessorized with her mother’s jewelry, including a diamond and platinum bracelet from 1935, and carried a bouquet of white roses wrapped in silk.25of 30

Green Velvet and Bridal Separates

The couple walk along the waterfront

Katie Hathaway wore an ensemble from Suistudio. “I immediately knew the green velvet blazer was for me,” she says. “My mom also bought me amazing earrings from the Sundance Catalog and sweet velvet lace-up Oxfords from Bruno Magli.”

Lilla Goettler chose bridal separates from BHLDN. “I spent about a month trying the outfit on over and over again before I decided,” she admits. “I really wasn’t expecting to love a long-sleeved dress, but it ended up looking great and keeping me cozy.” She paired her dress with a pair of white sneakers. “The outfit didn’t feel completely right until I tried on the Converse,” she says. “It was a great androgynous touch that made the whole outfit feel more ‘me.’”26of 30

A Designer-approved Choice

The bride changes into her wedding gown

Following the ceremony, Maanasa Indaram changed into lace-and-crepe gown by Sarah Seven. “After having gone dress shopping several times in San Francisco, I was prepared to show my mom, mother-in-law, and sister the dress that I was intending to buy while on a trip back to New York,” she recalls. “However, when we walked into the studio, all our eyes caught this dress. It was comfortable but flattering, sweet but also very chic.” The icing on the cake? The designer was in the studio and gave the Maanasa her seal of approval. She says, “Sarah immediately stopped by our group to give me the thumbs up when she saw me in it!”27of 30

Matching Mikado Silk Looks

Portrait of the couple kissing

“I’ve modeled many wedding dresses during my career but never fell in love with any,” Meaghan Garland admits. But, when she tried on her Mikado silk dress by Pronovias, “it became the dress of my dreams!” Meaghan completed her look with a veil, pearl drop earrings, pearl hairpins, and a diamond-and-gold necklace passed down to her by her mother.

Kiyomi McCloskey chose a white suit made from the same Mikado silk material as Meaghan’s dress. “It was unique, chic, and everything I’d envisioned,” she says. She completed her look with personalized cufflinks—which were a gift from Meaghan—as well as a white tuxedo shirt and a white bowtie. Her boutonniere featured plum ranunculus, heuchera leaves, and olive branch.28of 30

A Custom Creation by Brandon Maxwell


Choosing a dress (or three!) was easy for Stephanie Puntillo: She turned to client-turned-friend Brandon Maxwell for everything she wore on her wedding day. “I told Brandon I didn’t want a big princess dress, but when I showed up for my first appointment, the photo I brought with me was of the biggest pink dress from his Spring 2019 collection,” Stephanie says with a laugh. For the ceremony, he created a white basket-weave organza ball gown with a fitted scoop-neck bodice. Stephanie wore her hair in a sleek chignon to match the gown’s clean lines.29of 30

A Hanbok Found on Instagram


“I had seen a hanbok that I just loved on Instagram so when I was in L.A. I went by the shop that had made it,” Megan Rose says. “Even though I knew exactly what I wanted, the process was so much fun, they had me pick the fabric for every little part of the dress.”30of 30

The Jumpsuit of the Year

bride and groom

After dinner, Danielle changed into a second look, a lace-and-silk jumpsuit by Rime Arodaky. “I have followed Rime for a while and love how modern and edgy her pieces are,” Danielle says. “It was fun, playful, and sexy—the perfect thing to wear to the party portion of the day.”

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