Do Wedding Dresses Run Small: Should You Size Up?

The answer to do wedding dresses run small is yes, and you can read the reason below. We’ll also guide you on whether you must size up or down and the sample sizes to expect when you shop at a bridal salon. 

You will even know the equivalent sizes of common bridal gown sizes. And for getting the perfect fit on wedding dresses, read what is my wedding dress size.

do wedding dresses run small


The Truth Behind On Do Wedding Dresses Run Small

Wedding dresses run small, so don’t be surprised during fittings that your expected size is too tight when you try on a bridal gown. Bridal designers purposely make the sizing small for wedding dresses because each has a size chart according to their patterns. 

Furthermore, remember that most wedding dress designers are European, and their standard size chart is smaller than American sizes. And finally, wedding dresses don’t follow the exact clothing sizes as ready-wear clothes; the latter are the sizes you’re likely familiar with when shopping. 

Ready-wear sizes are standard in almost all clothing stores, while wedding wear sizes are smaller and usually two sizes down from ready-wear clothes. Keep this in mind when shopping for bridal attire, and don’t freak out if your usual size fits small with a wedding gown. 


Should You Size Up Or Down In Wedding Dress?

Since wedding dresses have smaller sizes than what most brides know about their size when shopping for their clothes, it’s best to size up or request one to two sizes up when trying on wedding gowns. However, it’s best to consult the boutique’s in-house seamstress so they can accurately alter the wedding dress. 

You don’t want to buy an oversized wedding dress, and usually, the maximum sizes you can alter your gown is two to four sizes down. Therefore, a bride can get a size 14 wedding dress and get it altered down to size 10 without losing the structure and design of the dress. 

And when it comes to altering wedding dresses, remember to plan your schedule accordingly. It may take up to three alterations, so buy your wedding dress in time and never too close to your wedding date. 


What Size Are Wedding Dress Samples?

Since wedding dresses run small and are not true to size, expect that wedding dress samples on bridal boutiques will also fit tight when you get your usual clothing size. Wedding dress samples are usually in bridal sizes 10 or 12. 

This is expected since it’s usually for a sample design to be available for just one size. Furthermore, it shouldn’t surprise you if they don’t fit perfectly; they’re sample dresses for a reason. 


What if the sample dress is too tight? 

If the sample wedding gown is too snug, the stylist at the store can offer some designs that are similar to the style you want. If you loved the sample dress, you might get alternative recommendations, so you shouldn’t stress about the sample fitting or not. 


What if the sample dress is too loose?

Some brides might find the sample dress too loose, and the boutique will use clips. This way, you’ll discover the best fit and how the dress will look on you if it’s your actual size. 

To make your bridal appointments easy and comfortable, read what to bring to wedding dress fitting


Are Wedding Dresses Meant To Be Tight?

Since wedding dresses have smaller sizing than your usual clothes, this doesn’t mean that your bridal dress should fit you too tightly on your wedding day. Even if wedding dresses run small, it doesn’t mean you must select your ready-wear size and settle for the same size on your gown since you believe it’s how it should fit. 

You’ll make several alterations to the dress according to your body measurements. It shouldn’t slip off you, but the dress should be tight enough for a flattering silhouette without you feeling suffocated. 

Very tight dresses can move your skin around and create unflattering bulges in some areas. You want a smooth silhouette with the dress and there is no bunching, especially on the back

And, of course, practice moving around so you can sit and walk comfortably. You don’t want to pull up the dress since it’s too big constantly, but it shouldn’t also be sized down so that you can’t even walk down the aisle or sit at the reception, fearing it might rip. 


What Is A Size 10 Wedding Dress Equivalent To?

A size 10 wedding dress is equivalent to a size 8 in ready-to-wear sizes. However, every bridal boutique is different, so ask for their size chart when trying on dresses.

It’s common for the wedding gown to be two sizes smaller than the size given. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your dresses from the mall are in size 10, but it fits tight for a wedding dress sample. 


What Is A Size 12 Wedding Dress Equivalent To?

Since wedding dresses run small, expect that a bridal gown in size 12 fits like a size 10 ready-wear clothing. Therefore, if your street size is size 12, request two sizes up when fitting at your bridal appointment. 



Was this guide helpful? To recap do wedding dresses run small, the answer is yes, as the designer usually follows European sizing or their own sizes. 

Therefore, expect your ready-wear size to be two sizes smaller when you try it on the wedding dress. Sample dresses are also usually limited to sizes 10 or 12 only when asked for availability. 

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