Enter Yukia Walker and Yuneisia Harris, sisters and owners of Curvaceous Couture, a first-of-its-kind bridal salon specializing in couture gowns to fit all body types. Yukia and Yuneisia have made it their mission to help curvy brides look and feel amazing in the right dress for their figure on their special day. The spirited sisters are living their dream as they help women of all shapes and sizes in TLC’s new reality series, Curvy Brides.
Yukia and Yuneisia first conceived the idea to open a specialty bridal boutique after Yukia had an awful experience shopping for her own wedding dress in 2008. After not being able to find a dress in her size, Yukia needed Yuneisia to try on gowns for her. With limited options available, Yukia was forced to buy a dress that she didn’t feel comfortable in. It became clear to the sisters through this experience that the market was seriously lacking. Every bride deserves a bridal moment they will remember forever and a dress that fits, no matter the size. And from there, Curvaceous Couture was born.
Obviously, the sisters recommend that, if at all possible, a bride should make an appointment with them so that she’ll definitely have samples she can actually try on. But with their salon located in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area, that might be difficult for Minnesota brides. When a girls’ weekend trip to the east coast is out of the picture, brides might find some value in checking out smaller sample sizes for inspiration.
“Sometimes there is a dress that a bride will have seen in a bridal magazine or online and she desperately wants to see in person,” Yukia says. “It may be that a standard bridal salon in your area has a sample of that dress, but they may only have it in a size 6. The trouble is that even seeing it in person on a hanger or a model isn’t the same as seeing it on your body, which is why we encourage brides of all shapes and sizes to come to our salon.”
In general, the sisters advise that a curvy bride should avoid being pigeonholed into one shape or style because of other people’s opinions. “We often get brides in the salon who think that they can only wear what we affectionately refer to as a ‘bridal muumuu’ because they aren’t a size 10,” Yuneisia says. “We’ve had brides come in and say they only want an A-line dress and walk out with a figure-hugging trumpet gown, or a waist-defining ball gown.”
In the case of same-sex weddings, the sisters say to go for styles that make you happy. If both brides want to look like princesses, then the consultant’s job is to find two dresses that complement each other, even though they will have similar shapes. Yukia says, “In our experience, brides want their personalities to shine out in their gown and rarely have our LGBT brides chosen looks that are too similar.”
“It is important to remember that when a salon is purchasing a sample they have to guess how many brides they can fit into that sample, and what type of bride is most likely to buy that dress,” Yuneisia says. “They also have to account for the sales rep from the designer recommending a size based on the shape of the dress. If most of the girls who come to that store are between a 6 and 12, and the designer recommends ordering an 8, then it makes more sense for a standard salon to purchase the 8 or a 10 than to purchase larger sizes.”
Despite the allure of creating a custom creation from scratch, the sisters don’t advise it; having a custom dress is a big project. It involves first finding a seamstress or tailor whom you trust, seeing their work, and going through the design process with them. Then it takes months of mock-ups and fittings, with no way to know 100 percent what your dress will look like in the end. It is certainly a great option for some brides, but it will be a much calmer experience for a bride to order a dress that already exists that she loves, and have custom touches added by a seamstress like sleeves, more sparkle, or a different back.