How to shop for a pregnant bridesmaid

Contrary to my belief when I was a bride, people don’t plan their entire lives around your wedding. They should, but they don’t. Just kidding.

The problem with weddings though, is that they require a degree of forward planning. You don’t choose your bridesmaids based on aesthetics (at least I hope you don’t) but when you have no idea what size your maid will be by the time the wedding comes around, it can be hard to shop for her in advance.

So those perfectly pretty bridesmaids’ dresses you’ve been lusting after go out the window – nobody will match and the theme will be a disaster – right? Well, no, actually. There’s still huge scope for your best gals to look amazing. One of the problems can be dressing all the girls the same – but there are ways to get around that. Here are a few tips to ensure that you and your bridesmaids still have the look you and they want even if you can’t plan the exact details:

But before we get started, a few don’ts:

A few “don’ts”

 Don’t sack a bridesmaid for being pregnant. That’s just horrible.

 Don’t give her massive heels to wear if she’s far along. That would be cruel.

 Don’t limit yourself to maternity dresses – with alterations and a little bit of creativity the fashion world is your oyster.

If she’s your maid of honour

If she’s your maid of honour you have a bit more leeway in terms of choice. You can style her slightly differently – for example, if your bridesmaids are wearing pink dresses and black accessories, you could invert these colours for your maid of honour so it doesn’t look odd that she’s wearing a different dress, so black dress, pink accessories.

Soft, stretchy fabrics, empire line dresses and elasticated waists are your friends

If one of your bridesmaids is pregnant and you don’t know what size dress she’ll need, go for more pliable fabrics and elasticated waistlines, or an empire line dress with more room at the bottom. You should have a rough idea of how far along she’ll be so account for this in your preparations. It’s important to remember that how your bridesmaid feels about different parts of her body can change during pregnancy – so adjustable dresses, like those from Two Birds Bridesmaid are the perfect way to pre-empt this. Your bridesmaids all get the same basic dress but can wrap it differently.

Julie of Julie Anne Images has seen her fair share of pregnant bridesmaids as a photographer. “My cousin had a pregnant bridesmaid who looked stunning – each bridesmaid’s dress was the same fabric but all a slightly different style – and she also sang (and played kazoo!!) in the signing of the register!”

Image © Julie Anne Images 

Avoid fitted, patterned dresses 

Avoid any rigid cottons, or fitted bodices as they are much harder to work with later on. Patterns can also make it harder to make any adjustments that are needed as do heavily sequinned dresses.

Mismatch and mix it up

Do you have a colour scheme? If you have a pretty pastel palette, for example, you can mismatch your bridesmaid so each maid has a different coloured dress. Make one thing match, like the fabrics, but don’t get hung up on detail – eclectic bridesmaids can look really awesome if they complement each other.

Alterations, alterations, alterations

Although you can prepare for the stage of pregnancy (to a degree) you can’t prepare for how your bridesmaid’s exact body shape will develop. Alterations aren’t very expensive and can make all the difference to how your bridesmaid looks and feels in the dress. They can also be turned around quickly, so book in early for the week before the wedding with a local dressmaker. And speaking of preparing for the stage of pregnancy, here’s a story to show that being pregnant, no matter how pregnant, won’t hold you back from being a bridesmaid:

An unlikely success story

This story, and the accompanying images, were kindly sent in by Julie of Julie Anne Images. I thought it was so brilliant it deserved its own section. Julie says: “Just goes to show that pregnancy doesn’t rule you out of dressing up and being a bridesmaid!  This wedding was last December, baby Teddy born to mum Cat on Christmas day, and four days later as a first-time mum she was attending at the wedding of her very close friend. I was totally in awe of her, she took it all in her stride! The dresses were zip-back and she had a large shawl which she used when feeding the baby.”

Given that baby Teddy was born just four days before the wedding, nobody could predict whether she would be nine months’ pregnant or not pregnant at all anymore! These brilliant images, taken by Julie, speak for themselves.

All images © Julie Anne Images 

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