After some eye-opening comparison shopping, I went back to Mark Ingram to order my Ulla-Maija dress. My consultant extraordinaire Kelsey took my measurements for the half muslin so the designers could get started. The half muslin only cost $300 extra, and it ensured a perfect, custom fit! No giant dresses to be altered down 12 sizes; I was in good hands.

Before I left, Kelsey instructed me to go to Bra Tenders (where they send all their brides) for a corset. I was to bring the corset with me to the muslin fitting. Note: I did not need my wedding day corset to try on dresses at Mark Ingram. My consultant preferred that I wear my regular bra, and once the samples were on, push the straps down. You don’t need to buy your corset before you buy your dress; in fact, since corsets differ in style, it’s often better to wait to buy your corset until after you buy your dress and before your first fitting to make sure you get the best match, especially since you can get your corset altered by a tailor (more on this tomorrow!).

I called Bra Tenders and scheduled an appointment, since they don’t take walk-ins. I actually loved this system: you get a fitter’s undivided, uninterrupted attention, and you don’t have to wait around for a fitter or room to free up, a downside of one of my favorite bra stores, Linda’s Bra Shop. At my appointment, I told my Bra Tenders fitter that Mark Ingram had sent me to get a corset. They had just two corsets they sold to Mark Ingram clients because Mark thought they worked best with his dresses (talk about service!). The corset that worked the best for me didn’t come in my exact size (the biggest cup was a size too small in my band size), so they put me in the next band size up to get the cup size I needed and told me that Mark Ingram would hand tailor the band size down for me. The whole process was completely painless! Bra Tenders also told me that they have a tailor they recommend to have corsets altered if, for example, your bridal store doesn’t make alterations to corsets. Bra Tenders was hands-down the best bra store I’ve been to in New York for special occasion undergarments for busty women. Here are two of their full cup options for bridal corsets, which you can find here and here:

Tip #4: A good wedding dress store for busty women should know how to assist you in finding a great undergarment. Ask them if there is a specific corset style they recommend for your dress (smooth vs. lacy, for example) and if they do in-house alterations to corsets in case you need a part of your undergarment customized. If not, research a local tailor who does alterations to bras or corsets — just in case!