Blooming gorgeous – how to shop for your wedding dress when you’re pregnant
Pregnancy and getting married are two of life’s big milestones to be celebrated but just how easy is it to dress your baby bump if you’re expecting on your wedding day? Katie Bletcher finds out.
Full disclosure; pregnancy was not one of the joyous times in my life.
While I was delighted to be expecting and fully aware of how lucky I was, the day-to-day humdrum of growing a baby was not altogether fun.
Feeling a bit fragile I felt like a proper hero anytime I had to pull on a fancy frock for an event or hen do, so I’m always slightly in awe of any pregnant bride who manages to look like a goddess on her wedding day.
As for those who rock their bridal look when they’re only weeks or months postpartum – ladies, I salute you.
We always advise brides to start their wedding dress search around eight months to a year before the day.
However, what happens if you need to factor fitting a bump into that special dress.
“Having experienced this over the years, our expert advice is the whole experience of choosing your gown should never falter,” says Hollie Connelly at June Brides Glasgow boutique.
“We simply take into consideration bump or potentially expecting bump and choose styles that will be beautiful, feminine, flattering, but most of all, comfortable for the big day!
“A bump is always something that should be celebrated, never concealed.”
That’s definitely a sentiment echoed by designer Mette Ballie of Freja Designer Dressmaking.
“It is so so sad to see brides in my shop crying their eyes out because they have lost their waistline,” she says.
“When so many women struggle to conceive, their beautiful pregnant shape should be celebrated for what it is.”
A question of size
While these beautiful baby bumps should be a cause for joy, they can change the dress shopping process.
“In the first trimester the waist doesn’t change much but the boobs go up a couple of sizes, usually very early on,” says Mette.
“In the second trimester it starts on the stomach. If it is your first baby, then it happens later than if you have had babies before.
“In the third trimester you start to get big.”
Sore skin on your stomach and sore boobs may also have to be taken into account and comfort is paramount.
“We look at the chosen style of gown and focus on the key areas to ensure a perfect comfortable fit, meaning a bride can sit, enjoy her meal and, most importantly, dance on their wedding day,” says Hollie.
“We don’t want a style that can add pressure to the bump.”
This usually means playing it safe and going a couple of sizes up, she advises; “After all, a gown too big can always be altered.”
The same rule also applies if you’re tying the knot in the weeks or months after giving birth.
No one wants to feel pressure to fit into a dress that was the perfect size pre-baby.
The style files
You may think opting for a less figure-hugging gown is the way to go but it all comes down to personal taste.
Hollie says, “I wouldn’t say any bride should ever feel limited in their style of gown, as long as they always anticipate alterations for the perfect fit.
“Any gown can look fabulous when the correct size is ordered and alterations are carried out.”
Generally speaking, Freja advises softer fabrics for a big bump, while with a smaller bump you can often get away with a bigger princess cut dress.
Leave alterations as close to the wedding as possible.
Interestingly, Mette says, most pregnant brides are bigger at night than in the morning, so make sure your fittings are as late in the day as possible.
Embrace the changes
With the pandemic putting so many wedding plans on hold, we’ve heard of many brides who’ve had a surprise bump on their big day or who’ve actually had their little ones by the time it comes round. Embrace these changes.
“My biggest advice is be happy you are pregnant!” says Mette.
“Cherish this time. Live a healthy life and know that you can get your shape back after the birth.”
And Hollie entreats all new mums to be kind to themselves.
“Take your time and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself,” she says.
“Find a store you feel has a good vibe and trust your expert.
“It’s all about finding a gown that gives you that inner confidence and lets your personality shine through.”
Baby on board
When Holly and Paul were planning their July 2021 wedding at Dalduff Farm they hadn’t banked on Holly being pregnant with their little boy Rory.
But looking back at their wedding photos by Daniel Mainland Photography they’re delighted.
“It really feels so so special and now we’re able to say you were in mummy’s tummy at that point!” smiles Holly.
The bride was nearly 23 weeks pregnant when they were married by George McLean of Fuze Ceremonies.
“Our pregnancy wasn’t planned for the wedding,” she says. “However, it made our day so special knowing our little bundle was there with us.”
Holly wasn’t pregnant when she went dress shopping at Wed2B the August before their wedding and admits there were a few tense moments wondering if it would fit.
“But in all honesty, I felt amazing with my little bump and my gorgeous dress,” she says.
And the fact Holly’s capped-sleeve lace gown fitted her so beautifully is down to her mum’s talented best friend, seamstress Catherine Tweedie of Sew Dedicated.
“I had multiple appointments right up to the week of the wedding making small adjustments to my dress.”
And the bride reckons their baby loved the wedding just as much as she and her husband.
“I think baby enjoyed our piper a lot,” she says. “He kicked as soon as he started playing!”
I don’t know about any other mums reading this but two weeks after having my kids I was still in a strict wardrobe of surgical stockings, leggings and baggy
So you’ve got to take your hat off to bride Tamara Murray who looked stunning on her wedding day to husband Steven at Rosslea Hall Hotel, just 17 days after giving birth to their beautiful wee girl Isla.
“We didn’t plan on falling pregnant that close to the wedding but I wouldn’t change it for anything,” smiles Tamara.
Like so many others, this couple planned their wedding throughout lockdown and had the added stress of Tamara being pregnant at the time.
They worried their daughter might not arrive on time for the big day and even when she did, Tamara was concerned the Anna Sorrano dress she had chosen
pre-pregnancy wouldn’t fit.
“I am forever thankful to my past self I didn’t get a fitted dress!” she says.
“I was so nervous about trying it on after having Isla because it was so short notice to try to sort something else if it hadn’t fitted.”
Luckily, this bride was back to her normal size after about a week and no changes had to be made, although she had an amazing seamstress check it over a few days before.
“I was just super-lucky,” she says. “Don’t get me wrong, my dress was tight but because of the style you would never have known. It was very forgiving.”
The couple were married in a Humanist ceremony and their celebrant Marjory Russell of Fuze Ceremonies included a sand ceremony to represent their family coming together.
They also had Isla included in their vows.
“I’m so thankful that we had her there,” says Tamara. “It made the full day more special as family who were travelling for the wedding got to meet our baby.
“When we look back at our pictures and wedding video we get to see how teeny tiny she was!”
Mum’s the word
One of our ‘I do’ diary brides Debbie Edmond got engaged to fiancé Andrew on Valentine’s Day 2020, two weeks after their baby boy Lewis was born.
As the couple originally planned on marrying the following April, Debbie started her wedding dress shopping in June 2020.
“I didn’t really give my body time to recover but I was just super-excited to pick my dress!” she says.
However, that’s not to say the idea of buying her wedding gown only months postpartum wasn’t tough.
“I was apprehensive,” she remembers. “Full-length mirrors and trying on dresses in front of my gals whilst carrying baby/lockdown weight didn’t have a positive impact on mindset at all!
“I felt really insecure and not like myself in body or mind.”
Debbie says she definitely put pressure on herself once she started dress shopping and envisaging her gown.
She had her heart set on the ‘Farida’ dress by Modeca at first but when she tried it on she knew it wasn’t for her.
“It just didn’t suit my shape,” she says. “It was beautiful with the lace detailing and long sleeves, but very fitted.”
With the help of Gwenne at Gwenne Wedding Services she changed approach and found a dress that complements her figure.
“Even feeling the way I did at that time, I felt great in it as soon as I put it on.
“I couldn’t wait to wear it.”
Since then she’s lost over two stone so the dress will have to be taken in.
Only months after finding her gorgeous gown Debbie and Andrew made the difficult decision to postpone their wedding until this year.
She was gutted at first but says everything happens for a reason.
Speaking a few months before her April wedding she added, “I’m in such a happy positive mindset now and I’m really loving our planning journey.”
Have you found your dream wedding dress yet?
Check out our list of suppliers here