“Say Yes to the Dress” meets “Sister Sister”—that’s how sisters Yukia Walker and Yuneisia Harris describe their new show on TLC, “Curvy Brides,” which premiers on Friday night. The show follows the business owners throughout their day-to-day life at their bridal salon Curvaceous Couture in Columbia, where fuller-figured brides can find gowns sized 14 to 44.
The salon, which opened in 2008, was born out of Walker’s frustration at the lack of plus-sized options when shopping for her own wedding dress. Unable to find a gown that fit her curves, she ended up purchasing a gown that was too small on top, and as a result she felt uncomfortable and unhappy with how she looked throughout her entire wedding day.
Not wanting other brides to experience what she did, Walker called up her sister and asked her to start a salon that would cater to plus-sized brides who want high-quality, couture gowns for their wedding day.
“We found that we needed to find designers that have dresses with great structure in them—that is really important for a plus-sized bride,” says Walker. “A lot of the high-end designers tend to use softer fabrics and softer structures underneath, so it’s been a challenge.”
But Harris and Walker have filled their salon with designers who appeal to curvy silhouettes, from Ian Stuart to Maggie Sottero to Enzoani. As soon as the designers added Curvaceous Couture to their online lists of retailers, the phone started ringing.
“Our store wasn’t ready, but girls were calling us,” says Walker. “They said, ‘I don’t care—we’ll try them on in a bathroom!’”
And it wasn’t just the brides who were interested. Television producers who knew a good idea when they saw it started ringing the sisters up, asking to chronicle their story on a show. At the time, Walker was newly married and having kids, so they turned the producers down. But a few years ago, Walker and Harris received an offer that was too good to pass on.
“You cannot say ‘no’ to TLC—they are the forefront of TV and bridal,” says Walker.
They shot a pilot episode in March 2014, and it aired on August 1. After a positive reception, they filmed the rest of the 12 30-minute episodes in October.
As with any reality television show, the episodes will be as much about the dynamics of the sisters’ relationship as it is about the salon, and rather than being contained to the store setting, the cameras follow Harris and Walker into their lives outside of work and even up to New York Bridal Market. Though reality television shows can have a penchant for over-dramatizing scenes, Walker says “Curvy Brides” is true to what actually happens in the day-to-day life of a family-run business.
“I’ve looked at a lot of reality TV, and a lot of the time, I’m thinking, ‘No, no, that’s not real,’” says Walker. “But from watching our pilot episode and the little bit that I’ve seen of the series, it truly is a representation of who we are here as Curvaceous Couture and how Yuneisia and I are as sisters running a business.”
The show is set to premier on May 1, and both sisters are excited to share their story with viewers.
“I’m looking forward to the world seeing how beautiful any bride can be on their special day,” says Walker.
Tune in to TLC on Friday at 9:30/8:30c and 10/9c to watch the premier of “Curvy Brides.”