Shopping for Plus Size Wedding Dresses – A Look at Different Dress Lengths and Hems

There are many different dress styles that are made to flatter various body types (Find your body shape here). The dress length and hem style greatly changes the way the fabric moves on the body, and can even add height by creating an illusion of longer legs. In this guide we’ll take a look at the best plus size wedding dress lengths and hems to flatter your body shape.

Asymmetrical Hem

An asymmetrical hem is not a very common style to have for a more traditional wedding dress, but there are some brides who look for something unique. An asymmetrical hem will be cut longer on one side and shorter on the other. It offers and interesting touch to the final look of a dress, and it tends to add more movement in the fabric. Some destination wedding dresses will have this type of hem.

asymmetrical wedding dress



For the bride who would like a long wedding dress without the fear of tripping over her dress, an ankle-length would work very well. Many beautiful dress styles come in this length and it’s also a great way to show off those pretty wedding shoes.

ankle length dress


Bubble Hem

The bubble hem is a fun unique hem style for short wedding dresses. The hem is made up of a hidden hem that is tucked in to create a bulge at the bottom. Often found on shorter dresses and skirts, the bubble hem is another destination wedding dress style that looks beautiful on straight or hourglass body shapes.

bubble wedding dress



The cocktail dress length is quickly becoming a popular choice for many brides because the length is often flattering for any height and body shape. A cocktail length varies according to the dress brand. Some styles will fall mid-calf, while others will fall just above the ankles or just below the knees.

Check out our cocktail dress post for examples of styles and lengths.

cocktail wedding dress



A floor-length wedding dress is very popular choice when you don’t want to have too much dress trailing behind you throughout the day and night. These dress styles just graze the ground and look best with a nice pair of heels. Most traditional and contemporary wedding dresses will be floor-length.

floor length wedding dress


floor length strapless


Flounce Hem

A flounce hem adds a flirty feminine touch to a dress. The flounce is essentially a large ruffle at the bottom of a dress (usually a sheath dress cut). This hem style will often be on dress lengths that range from mini to cocktail, but never longer. A similar style on longer dresses would be the mermaid hem.

flounce dress



A handkerchief hem is a unique hem style that is usually made up of several panels sewn together. The end result is a rough irregular look. The handkerchief hem will normally have one hem layer, but there are many skirts and dresses that will have several layers. This gives more depth and movement when worn. This is another hem style that only destination wedding dresses will have.

white handkerchief dress



A hi-low hem length is another version of an asymmetrical hem style that some brides choose because it’s a unique choice away from the traditional. The front will be cut shorter and the back will be longer, giving the dress an almost flamenco feel to it. Hi-low dress lengths are a very popular choice for destination weddings.

Take a look at one of our previous posts to see examples of a hi-low hem.

hi-low long dress



A knee-length wedding dress may seem far from traditional, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite for brides of all ages. Flattering and easy to wear, this dress length is especially popular for contemporary and warm climate destination weddings.

knee length wedding dress



A maxi dress length is essentially like a floor length, except this term is generally used on more casual dresses. The length will vary between just below the ankles to just grazing the floor. Some less traditional brides will find an array of cute white or cream maxi dresses for their low-key weddings.

maxi wedding dress


plus size wedding maxi dress



A mini wedding dress is perhaps not the first choice for most brides, but there are many beautiful mini dress styles available that flatter the body and keep you comfortable throughout the day. Most mini dresses are worn in destination weddings, as the reception wedding dress or even for rehearsal dinners. A great option for something unique yet still beautiful.

plus size mini wedding dress


mini wedding dress


mini dress


10 thoughts on “Shopping for Plus Size Wedding Dresses – A Look at Different Dress Lengths and Hems

    • Miho says:

      We were unable to find the exact same dresses that you would like, but you can find lots of very similar styles at Kiyonna and ModCloth.

  1. Chrissy says:

    Where can I purchase this handkerchief dress? I have been searching everywhere for the perfect, light weight, flowy beach wedding dress for plus size!

  2. Phoebe P says:

    The cocktail dress is really cute! Can you tell me when it is acceptable to wear a cocktail length versus the more traditional full-length dress? And do I need to tell my guests so that they’ll know it is to be less formal? And how would I go about that (on the invitation somehow)? The good news is that I have a while to figure all this out. I need to find a potential groom first. LOL

    • Miho says:

      LOL, Pheobe. Lots of time to find the right one! If you are planning to have a formal wedding, then a full length dress is most suitable for the occasion, however, it’s your special day, so I say you can choose whatever you like, no matter what the setting!

      If you want to give your guests an idea of how to dress for the wedding, the invitations and wording are the best way to let them know. If you choose a formal/sophisticated invitation design and use very formal wording (i.e. “A and B request the honor of your presence at their wedding…”), the guests will understand that it’s a formal event. For something a little more casual, choose a fun/casual invitation with casual wording (i.e. “A and B invite you to celebrate their marriage.” or ” Come celebrate with A & B as they tie the knot on Saturday…”).

      I hope that helps!

  3. Cass Wilson says:

    When I was married, I wore a tea length dress, which is sort of between cocktail and ankle length. I am a bigger girl, and I found that a tea length dress was very flattering! It was sort of full at the bottom, and allowed me to show off a tasteful amount of leg as well as my bright blue wedding shoes! I received so many compliments on it and wanted to show others that this option is out there.

    • Miho says:

      Thank you for sharing Cass! A tea length dress is certainly a flattering choice for many ladies. As you said, it does fall pretty much between cocktail and ankle, though many dress brands lump them all in under “cocktail” these days.

  4. Favia says:

    Oooh la la! I want to get married…again. In a gorgeous dress appropriate to the occasion. Take it from me ladies, the article is right on target when it comes to destination weddings in warm climates. Go for a shorter hemline and for something that doesn’t weigh you down, especially if you intend to wear it through to the reception. Doing your best Beyonce impression on a terrace in the tropics, in a floor length gown, makes for a wedding to remember. My guests distinctly remember when I got woozy and it wasn’t because I’d been boozy. If I could do it all over again, I’d choose that first mini number with the bit of bling, cute bustline, and feathers to top it all off. How fun – and perfect for dancing.

    • Miho says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t feel well on your wedding day, but I’m sure now, it adds to the memories of your special day. The tropics would be beautiful for a destination wedding and I bet your photos are lovely.

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