When Curinne Polizzi got engaged, she spent countless hours searching for a bridal shop that specialized in plus-size wedding gowns. She found plenty of stores and brands that offered some plus-size dresses, but none that sold them exclusively.
“How odd is that?” said Polizzi, 41. “It’s New York. It’s kind of like, wedding central.”
When Polizzi talked to her fiance, Paul Infantolino, what happened next was “not even a conversation.” The couple decided to use the money they were going to put toward their wedding to instead open their own bridal shop.
In addition to their wedding money, they added extra funds to create Ivory & Main on Main Street in Sayville. In all, the couple says they’ve put more than $100,000 into the boutique.
“We wanted a really elegant, chic kind of a place that people could come in and feel comfortable and think, ‘Wow, this is a plus-size store?’” she said.
The 1,350-square-foot space is filled with plus-size bridal gowns, mother-of-the-bride and bridesmaid dresses, and even some options for wedding guests. The shop also sells plus-size lingerie and gifts for wedding parties.
The boutique carries sizes 16 to 32, with most of its sample dresses in the 22 to 28 range. In bridesmaids dresses, they offer sizes 2 to 32 because, while the boutique is for plus-size brides, size ranges may fluctuate in wedding parties.
It also carries brands such as Essense of Australia, Maggie Sottero and Jasmine Bridal. Prices for bridal gowns range from $1,200 to $2,500, which Polizzi said she found is the “sweet spot” for women’s budgets on Long Island.
“[The brides] really just feel like it’s judgment-free,” she said of Ivory & Main’s atmosphere. “They can feel themselves, they don’t have to worry about getting undressed, and they just feel comfortable because they know that pretty much everyone in here is plus-sized.”
Polizzi’s business is believed to be the only exclusively curvy bridal gown boutique in New York, according to Yelp and XO Group Inc., which owns wedding website TheKnot.com.
While she says it’s difficult to determine profitability as the shop just opened in May, Polizzi said her early projections have already been exceeded.
Polizzi believes that the fall will be one of the more popular seasons for brides-to-be booking appointments, adding that some women come from as far away as Louisiana and North Carolina to try on gowns.
Before opening Ivory & Main, Polizzi conducted a Facebook survey asking where brides had purchased their gowns, how far they traveled and what size they needed, noting that a “14 in a regular dress size” could be “like an 18... or a 20 in bridal.”
Polizzi said she received about 50 responses, and was “floored” by some of them. One bride said that while shopping, she was too big to fit in any of the sizes at one store, so her sister had to try on a gown for her just so she could see how it looked.
“A couple of the surveys actually made me tear up,” Polizzi said.
The local reception to the boutique has been positive since the shop’s opening, Polizzi said.
Holbrook resident Kathleen Dugan, 32, said she discovered online that a lacy, floral Wtoo by Watters gown she had her eye on was available at Ivory & Main, so she stopped by with her sister, Erin Villa, to explore the selection and try on what she thought was her dream dress.
Instead, Dugan wound up falling in love with a strapless Essence of Australia gown dripping with jewels that her sister picked out. She loved it so much that she said yes to the dress that day, surprising even herself.
While Polizzi is now helping other brides-to-be get down the aisle, she and Infantolino still have yet to tie the knot. They say they’d rather focus for now on the business and raising their daughter, Gianna, 13.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Polizzi said. “We know neither of us are going anywhere.”