First Person Singular: Curvaceous Couture owner Yukia Walker

Yukia Walker, 33, of Upper Marlboro
Yukia Walker, 33, of Upper Marlboro (Benjamin C. Tankersley - For The Washington Post)
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

I always dreamt of having a beautiful wedding gown. I wasn't a bottom-of-the-basement-shopping bride; I had a nice budget. I knew I wanted to try several boutiques and look at several high-end designers. When I went to go do this, I found out that most salons only carried their bridal gowns in a size 8, 10, normally a size under 10. It didn't work for me. My sister ended up having to try my wedding gowns on for me. It was very humiliating. [This was] something that me and my mother had looked forward to doing for years. It got to the point where I just didn't want to go anymore; I kind of settled. I ended up with a gown that I was totally miserable with. Until this day I hate looking at my wedding pictures.

I started Curvaceous Couture about 2 1/2 years ago, after I got engaged. I actually took a portion of my wedding budget and started the business while I was planning my wedding. I figured at that time, at a size 14, if I was having issues, what were some of my friends, who were slightly larger, what were they going through?

I was told by several bridal salon owners: Plus-size gowns don't look good on the hangers; they didn't think this would work. But as a plus-size bride, I didn't care what my gown looked like on the hanger. I wanted to see what it looked like on me. What was I going to look like on that day? That was what was important to me. I did a lot of research for my wedding 'cause I was willing to fly anywhere. If I had found a plus-size bridal store that had the standards and the items I was looking for, I think I'd have flown to Timbuktu.

I can't tell you how many young ladies come in and they are just so happy that they can zip the dress up. Even if they are smaller and they have to pin the dress, they are in the dress. That's what they appreciate. Some of them have been to other salons and have been humiliated, and they are so scared and timid when they get in. When they find that gown -- just their excitement and the family's excitement and the tears -- it just gives me some piece, every day, of what I didn't have.

-- Interview by Robin Rose Parker

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