Maternity Wedding Dress Shopping
You’re pregnant and engaged – congratulations! Whether planned or unplanned, you’ll soon be celebrating two of life’s biggest changes. Don’t feel overwhelmed, we’re here to help you pick the perfect wedding dress, so take a deep breath, and let’s go shopping.
Normal or Maternity?
If you’re walking down the aisle with a barely there bump, you should be able to wear a non-maternity wedding dress, but when there’s no hiding your protruding belly, you’ll need to look for dresses specifically made for pregnant brides. Maternity dresses have extra curves, to accommodate your changing shape, and they’re also designed so that they can easily be altered, in those places where you’ll need more breathing room.
How Far Along Will You Be?
The most important issue is figuring out the size your tummy will be when you get married. No easy feat for a first-time mother, or in fact any woman, as all pregnancies are different. Getting married in your first trimester won’t pose too many problems for your waistline, whereas a wedding when you’re in your third trimester is the hardest to plan for, as it’s when your tummy balloons the most.
The general formula is to add 2.5cm to each measurement per month remaining of your pregnancy, until your wedding date. Take this new number, see where you fit on the size chart, and then go up another size. No woman really wants to be upping their dress size, but it’s far easier to take in extra fabric than to let it out.
You’ve chosen to go with a maternity wedding dress, your next big decision is how you’re going to cover your growing belly:
To Hide the Bump
By far the most common style for a pregnant bride is the empire silhouette. It has a fitted bodice and a waistline just under your growing bust. The skirt falls loosely from this high waistline, perfectly concealing your expanding midsection. The design of the empire dress means that it accommodates your growth, without clinging to your tummy. It’s a safe and popular style, and it takes the stress out of wondering if you’re going to fit into your dress. Look for fabrics like organza and chiffon, which are lighter and more comfortable. You can also wear a short, bright necklace which takes the focus from your belly to your face.
(Courtesy tiffanyrose.com/au/ )
To Emphasise the Bump
Gone are the days when brides had to rush their wedding day forward so they wouldn’t walk down the aisle under the disapproving glare of a conservative crowd. Increasingly, pregnant brides are choosing to celebrate and show off their state of being. To highlight your tummy you’ll need to wear a fitted dress that accentuates your curves, such as the mermaid or trumpet silhouette. These fit-and-flare styles hug the body, from the chest to the knees, and then fan out to the hem. You’ll want stretchy material to accommodate your belly, and make you comfortable, so pick a silk jersey or soft lace.
Long or Short?
While most brides will choose to wear a floor-length gown, there’s nothing stopping the quirky bride from picking something shorter. It’s fun and different, and you’ll be thrilled with your decision if you’re getting married in the hotter months, as a short dress will keep you cooler.
Let’s admit straight away that your breasts are going to look fabulous, but you’ll want to show them off in an elegant way, rather than having them as the stars of the show. A halter top will support your larger chest, and a V elongates your neck making you look slimmer, while also taking attention away from your waistline.
Strapless dresses are always a popular option, but make sure that you have a good bra that fits your changing bust size. For more reinforcement consider a dress with wider straps or sleeves, and you won’t have to worry about spilling out of your frock. Cap sleeves are an elegant alternative and they give you a bit more support up top. If you’re likely to gain weight above your chest, then pick longer sleeves which are feminine, and they disguise bigger arms. You can also consider wearing a shawl, bolero or wrap over your shoulders.
Can I Wear White?
According to tradition this virginal colour represents purity, and suggests that the bride has saved herself for her wedding night. Not only is this a rather naïve assumption in our modern (and sexual) society, but the original reason brides wore white had nothing to do with their status in the bedroom.
Queen Victoria was a bit of a trendsetter, and when she got married in a white dress in 1840, she unwittingly started a tradition that persists today. At this time white clothing was impractical as it got dirty too easily, so it was seen as a symbol of cleanliness and wealth, not chastity. What does this mean for the pregnant bride? It’s your wedding day and you really can wear any colour you want.
Finding a Seamstress
Your best friend won’t be your maid of honour, it’ll be your seamstress. Make sure you pick someone who is good at their job, as they’ll be responsible for making your dress fit your altering shape. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more important your fittings become, and it’s absolutely essential to book your last session in the week before you get married. This gives your seamstress time to fix any problems, so that your dress fits you perfectly.
What If I Put on More Weight Than I Thought I Would?
The challenge to pregnant brides is guessing how your body will change in the months ahead. It’s very easy to put on more kilograms than you anticipated, but this is no time to panic. There are two easy solutions: gussets or a corset.
Not all dresses can have a gusset attached – this is a piece of fabric sew into the garment to widen it – and this is why it’s important to be upfront with your seamstress. These extra panels will also need to match the material of your dress.
A lace-up corset is a practical solution to unexpected weight gain, and it also gives the back of your dress a touch of femininity. It’s adjustable, so it means your belly has space to grow.
What Shoes Do I Buy?
This is the moment where you sigh, and then accept that you won’t be wearing your slinky stilettoes on your wedding day. When you’re carrying around more weight than normal, you’ll be far more concerned about comfort than fashion. If you must wear heels, then pick something chunkier and smaller than you usually wear, or find a beautiful pair of flats. You should also consider buying a half size bigger, to accommodate your inevitably swollen feet.
Just because you’re a pregnant bride, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a flattering maternity wedding dress. Embrace your pregnancy, be true to your own style, and find a gown that makes you feel confident and comfortable. And when you’re worrying about how your baby bump is going to fit into your dress, just think about how special it is that your little cherub is going to be there when you marry his or her mum or dad.