Hannah Nodskov, the visionary fashion designer behind the innovative bridal brand, Hannah Caroline Couture, is transforming the wedding industry with her commitment to size inclusivity, body positivity, and redefining traditional bridal norms.

Her passion for creating non-traditional and plus-size wedding gowns has not only gained recognition but also challenges the conventional standards in the bridal world and fashion industry.

Although Nodskov doesn’t identify herself as the young girl meticulously planning her future wedding, her childhood was enchanted by shows like Say Yes to the Dress. Seated eagerly in front of the TV with a sketchbook, a cherished possession to this day, she would reimagine the dresses she fell in love with on the screen.

With Hannah Caroline Couture, Nodskov has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to offering brides of all sizes the wedding dresses they deserve. Her story began in high school when she taught herself how to sew. As a plus-size individual, she had experienced the limitations of finding clothes that matched her unique style and personality.

“I was starting to figure out my personal style and I couldn’t just go to the mall like my friends and leave with a bunch of outfits,” Nodskov explains. “I didn’t want to wear basics all the time, so I took to YouTube and Pinterest, learning how to sew and make my own clothes as a form of self-expression.” Starting with everyday clothing, homecoming and prom dresses, when she started wearing her designs to school, her friends began making requests for custom clothing of their own.

Much to her surprise, in 2015, Nodskov was asked to create her first wedding dress. “I remember telling the client, I think you’ve reached out to the wrong person,” she laughs.

After accepting the challenge, she soon realized the demand for custom bridal gowns that embraced individuality and found herself falling in love with bridal fashion, particularly non-traditional wedding gowns.

Now, Nodskov focuses exclusively on bridal wear, primarily creating non-traditional wedding gowns and plus size gowns.

“Last year, I designed 52 wedding gowns, and only four of them were white or ivory,” Nodskov says with a smile.

For Nodskov, non-traditional bridal wear means designing dresses that break free from the constraints of conventional bridal shops. It’s about designing a dress full of color, infusing character, going all black, or even integrating unique styles like bridal jumpsuits and two-in-one styles that allow brides to switch between looks effortlessly. Her portfolio even extends to bridal attire inspired by cosplay, providing endless possibilities for brides who yearn for individuality.

The heart of Nodskov’s mission lies in providing brides with a body-positive bridal experience. She refuses to perpetuate harmful ideas about body image which are common in the wedding industry. Instead, Nodskov focuses on making brides feel beautiful and confident in their own skin, regardless of their size.

“I hate that I even have to call it that—a body-positive bridal experience—or that it needs to exist,” Nodskov says with frustration. “I wish the bridal industry itself was more inclusive, accepting, and open.”

Stepping into a wedding dress for the first time can be rather disheartening. The norm is that wedding gowns are typically produced around a size two, which converts to a size six in bridal. This sizing can make you feel like you’re wearing an even bigger size than your everyday clothes—something no bride ever wants to hear.

In the midst of her own wedding preparations, Nodskov found herself in the bustling heart of New York City, ready to fulfill a childhood dream at the bridal shop immortalized on Say Yes to the Dress. Armed with a pre-filled questionnaire detailing her size, preferences, and a desire to explore unconventional styles, she stepped into what she thought would be a transformative bridal adventure.

To her dismay, the reality was starkly different. Not a single dress could fit her body; zippers refused to budge, and fabric clung stubbornly where it shouldn’t. The only partially fitting dress carried a staggering price tag.

“My mom asked for the price, and they told her it was $4,000,” Nodskov recounts. The price was quickly redacted, and the worker promptly corrected herself, saying, “Oh, wait. In your size, it’s actually $5,200.”

A moment meant to be filled with joy and discovery turned into a cascade of disappointment—each ill-fitting dress, a blow to both her confidence and excitement.

Nodskov recognizes the lack of size inclusivity in the bridal industry and has taken it upon herself to bring about change. Her bridal collections feature samples in sizes that extend from 16 to 28, ensuring that brides across the size spectrum can experience her creations. Moreover, her marketing campaigns prominently feature plus-size models, providing much-needed representation in an industry that often falls short.

“When all those samples you see in bridal shops are made to a size two, they’re also modeled by size two models,” Nodskov explains. “It’s very hard for even a midsize plus size person to imagine what their body would look like in that dress.

Nodskov will never ask brides to lose weight before their big day. She doesn’t insist on shapewear if it’s not desired. She firmly believes that brides should have the freedom to express their personalities without societal constraints. Her unique approach involves producing wedding dresses for all sizes, without discrimination or price variations based on size. Her commitment to making bridal wear accessible to everyone has garnered immense appreciation.

“Fatphobia runs so deep that even fashion design colleges don’t teach how to make plus size clothing,” Nodskov says.

Being a plus-size individual, Nodskov has an acute understanding of where specific design elements should be positioned. This awareness influences the shaping of sleeves to ensure an optimal fit. Attention is also dedicated to finer details, such as the placement of the waist and positioning of pockets, strategically avoiding elements that might accentuate the hips.

“All those little details and insights come from my lived experience,” Nodskov notes.

Her influence extends far beyond her home base in Omaha, Nebraska. She collaborates with brides nationwide, as well as internationally, and her work has not gone unnoticed.

In 2023, Nodskov was recognized as a finalist for Outstanding Designer by the Full-Figured Industry Awards in New York City—a full-circle moment after her breakout show there in 2015. Now, her dedication to celebrating diverse bodies and pioneering Non-traditional bridal wear has gained recognition on a global stage.

“People in the audience of my runway shows, who aren’t even planning a wedding, come up to me afterwards and say, ‘I’ve never seen someone who looks like me on a runway. That was a big deal for me, you know?’” Nodskov beams.

Nodskov also played a key role in co-organizing the inaugural Alternative Wedding Expo of the Midwest. This event showcased vendors dedicated to rewriting traditional wedding norms, attracting couples who seek a different kind of wedding experience.

The expo not only united like-minded individuals in the Omaha area but also served as a platform for Nodskov to showcase her exceptional designs and reach a broader audience.

Beyond the heartland of Omaha and Kansas City, her influence has transcended regional borders, making waves on prestigious runways in New York City, Atlanta, and Portland. One of her dresses even graced the esteemed Emmy’s red carpet.

Nodskov’s collections continue to inspire brides worldwide, reminding them that their wedding day is a moment to celebrate their individuality and to wear a dress that makes them feel confident and beautiful. Her trailblazing work goes beyond the seams and stitches, offering brides a liberating experience that echoes the empowerment of self-love.