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My Bridesmaids Are Pregnant. Hooray! Now What?

Nov03

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Your intrepid advice columnist has up and had herself a baby, and will be taking a couple weeks off from her bossing-around duties. In the meantime, she’s arranged a cavalcade of her favorite writers from around the Web to come and take a crack at some of your questions, share their personal style secrets and wisdom, and hopefully keep you entertained while Amy comes to grips with the terrible truth that SHE IS THE MOTHER OF TWO CHILDREN. WHO LET THAT HAPPEN?
Today’s guest columnist is the awesome Nicole of Not Perfect. She also used to write about her adventures as a wedding planner at another blog that made me regularly howl with laughter, until it turned out that brides? Are kind of sensitive? And would get very very defensive when she would say that such-and-such dress looked like ass on a sausage or that such-and-such behavior was straight-up awful and inexcusable and send her emails trying to prove that no, they TOTALLY were justified when they made their flower girl cry? But luckily I got her to agree to write about weddings just one more little time for us, right here at the Smackdown.

Dear Amalah,
I feel like this column is the best place for a bride who wants nothing more than to NOT be a bridezilla to turn. And since you’re currently all pregnant, I think that makes you extra qualified to address my situation.
I’m the bride, getting married in December. Nothing huge or elaborate (we’d rather buy a house than an ice sculpture), just a fun party with family and friends and a pretty strict budget. I’ve had my bridesmaids and maid-of-honor set for some time now (four of my best longtime friends), and we picked out the dresses a couple months ago. (Navy blue, floor-length, cap sleeve, white sashes.) Only one bridesmaid and my maid-of-honor were along for the shopping trip, but we took extra care to send everybody else photos of the possibilities to make sure that we picked something that worked for everybody’s budget and body type and everybody could order it from a local store and ANYWAY, it turns out that I was a little premature in declaring it a total victory.
My maid-of-honor AND one of my bridesmaids are now pregnant. Neither of them knew when we were choosing the dresses, although they were both apparently “trying.” My bridesmaid will be about five months along at the wedding, and my maid-of-honor will be closer to seven. I’m thrilled for both of them, but am at a loss about how to tactfully deal with the wrench this throws into the wedding plans.
I’m guessing that 1) they will both need maternity dresses by then, 2) there’s probably no way to alter the current dresses to accommodate their bellies without it looking pretty assy, and 3) they’ve already paid for one dress, so should I pay for the second maternity bridesmaid dress? If such a thing even exists? But I’m not really sure I can afford that?
I’ve so far only danced around the issue with them – wondering aloud if they could return or sell the first dress, whether they knew of any places we could find a similar maternity style (I checked with the dress manufacturer and they don’t offer one…of course we bought discontinued dresses on sale) — and needless to say, they’re pretty preoccupied with other pregnancy concerns rather than focusing on a silly little bridesmaid dress. And I understand! But! It’s my wedding! I certainly don’t want them to feel like they’ve created a huge problem or aren’t wanted in the wedding because they may have to wear a different dress, but…a little help here! Is that too much to ask?
Oh, I’ve rambled on far too long. I guess my point is: how would YOU want the situation handled, etiquette and money-wise, if YOU were the pregnant bridesmaid, and please please please tell me you know of a fabulous maternity store that has inexpensive bridesmaid dresses in navy blue.
Just sign me,
The Girl with The Super-Fertile Wedding Party

Hello bride-to-be!
Congrats on your upcoming wedding! And on your super-fertile wedding party.
You want them to get their dress situation under control, but the truth of the matter is that they are probably not thinking about it quite yet. And this sucks because you totally want them to think about it and to figure it out because it’s your wedding, dammit!
When I was still planning weddings I saw this happen a few times. Mostly, brides were PISSED that their bridal party was not going to look how they had planned. I have seen bridesmaids demoted to guest status and quite frankly, I find that deplorable. I saw a bride who made her bridesmaid hide her bump in pictures so she didn’t look out of place. On the other hand, I’ve seen brides play up the bumps, posing with them in photos all of their own (in that particular case the family was calling the baby-to-be Stewie Griffin and I’m pretty sure he had a fabulous time at the wedding) and really take it all in for what it is, a celebration. You chose these women to be in your wedding party because you love them and you want them to be close to you on your wedding day.
It’s reasonable to ask what they’re planning on wearing. Let them choose something convenient and affordable, and ask them to have it coordinate. They did go by the original plan with the original dresses, but life happened – in a very good way. Though it’s definitely not what you had envisioned. Don’t push the issue too hard because if you do, they will feel bad. If you make a pregnant woman feel bad, you will look like the bad guy.
You never know how bellies are going to grow so maybe, just maybe, their dresses will be able to be altered. Some people, especially those who are tall, don’t really pop until later – think Nicole Kidman.
If there is no way to alter the dresses then they’ll have to get new ones, obviously. You’re only obligated to pay for them if you want the entire bridal party to get new dresses so they all match. I’d recommend that they sell the dresses they currently have on eBay or Craigslist, and then look there for replacement dresses. Ideally they will match each other; you’ll probably have to settle for coordination.
Are there maternity bridesmaid dresses out there? Yes. Many collections have a maternity design or two. However, they tend to look like ass and your friends would probably be better off getting formal maternity wear instead. And yet, there’s still not much of that to be found, especially in floor length or in navy. I would suggest having them try some non-maternity dresses with empire waists and billow-y bottoms which can accommodate a growing bump, though they’ll probably need to be altered in the bust and in the length. Where should you look for actual maternity wear? Eden Bridals seems to have the best selection of what you’re looking for. David’s Bridal also carries an option in their stores. You can check Isabella Oliver’s collection, Nordstrom, House of Brides and even Amazon for dresses as well.
I know this seems like a big deal now but I assure you that once you get to your wedding day, you really, really won’t care. Have a fantastic time and enjoy every moment!


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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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29 Responses to “My Bridesmaids Are Pregnant. Hooray! Now What?”

  1. Bethiclaus Nov 03 at 10:41 am Reply Reply

    I was in a wedding this summer and was so happy that the bride simply told us what color to wear. We were free to pick whatever we wanted to wear (for me, that meant pants). While I know that won’t work for this situation, and many weddings don’t want that much freedom of decision-making in the hands of their bridesmaids, it allowed all of us to choose something that would work for us. I had originally thought I might be heavily pregnant by the time of the wedding, but instead was recently post-partum. Having a bride who was so laidback about what we wore made the whole situation much easier.

  2. Brooke Nov 03 at 10:43 am Reply Reply

    Another suggestion would be to buy another regular sized bridesmaids dress exactly like the ones your wedding party has already purchased. Then two or three weeks before the wedding, have the bridesmaids go to a tailor and use the extra dress between the two of them for alterations and extra material and essentially, you have the tailor create two maternity dresses. Then they all coordinate and likely will continue to have a uniform appearance among the entire wedding party. You could buy the extra dress and then let the bridesmaids handle the alterations (which almost all bridesmaids’ dresses need anyway – b/c seriously, how can you wear a size 6 normally, but then have to order a size 16 dresss??? Could someone straigten out the sizing in the wedding industry? Gah.) Hope this helps! Good luck!

  3. Margaret Nov 03 at 11:08 am Reply Reply

    My mother was the maid of honor at a wedding while 8 months pregnant with (10 lbs +) me. IIRC, she went the tailor route and ended up with a coordinated dress that only made her look a little like a parade float. It can be done!

  4. Danielle Nov 03 at 12:02 pm Reply Reply

    A friend of mine was demoted from maid of honor to bridesmaid when she got pregnant because the bride feared my friend wouldn’t be up to the challenge of hosting the myriad of gift-giving occasions she felt was necessary (an engagement party and shower each in her hometown and her fiance’s, plus a bachelorette party). The dress fitting should have been no problem because the baby was due 2 months before the wedding, but the bride insisted that my friend go to all the same fittings as everyone else, so she ended up having to get the largest size the dress came in and then have it tailored down to her (enviably thin) postpartum size.
    As long as you don’t do that, you can’t possibly be the worst bridezilla ever to have a pregnant bridesmaid. And those Eden maternity dresses were pretty nice — one even had cap sleeves.

    • Fanny May 30 at 4:37 pm Reply Reply

      There is good advice on http://weddings.gatheringguide.com/ac/wedding-etiquette/what-to-do-with-a-pregnant-bridesmaid for brides dealing with pregnant bridesmaids.

  5. shannon Nov 03 at 12:38 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding in April, and I might be pregnant at the time so we planned accordingly. We found this great dress from David’s Bridal that will work either way: http://www.davidsbridal.com/bridesmaids_bycolor_detail.jsp?stid=3733&sid=24447&cfid=55
    There are a number of comments from other posters on the page who were pregnant and had great success with it. It’s super comfortable and very flowy/forgiving. It doesn’t come in Navy, but the blue or lapis might be close enough.

  6. Anne Glamore Nov 03 at 12:55 pm Reply Reply

    I was in a small wedding when I was still popping out younguns, and I was the first one asked to be a b’maid – months before I knew I was pregnant. (Slow on the uptake here.) I asked the bride if she’d prefer that I do a reading or something and she said yes and we were both thrilled.
    Maybe there’s a tactful way to ask whether the ladies still feel comfortable being bridesmaids, because I sure didn’t and I was much happier waddling up to the lectern to recite some Biblical happiness.
    On the other hand, 2 of my bridesmaids were pregnant at my wedding and we just waited until the last minute and did alterations using copious amounts of black material as the dresses were black. That was cool, too. I asked them what they preferred and they wanted to be maids so we went with it!

  7. Sally Nov 03 at 1:07 pm Reply Reply

    I was that bridesmaid. I got pregnant after we ordered dresses, with twins, no less. I was 5 months with twins at the wedding (and fricking huge). We just called the store and changed my order from my size (12) to “the biggest size you have.” I think that ended up being a 16 or 18. It was a strapless style that laced up the back, and with the laces loosened, I was able to squeeze my belly in long enough for the ceremony. I changed into comfy pants and a tank top for the reception, and all was well. I offered to step down as bridesmaid, but the bride didn’t want that.

  8. Kristin Nov 03 at 1:18 pm Reply Reply

    I was in a SUPER fertile wedding party (not even kidding, FOUR of us were 5 months plus preggo!) And luckily we knew at the time of the dress picking, BUT instead of picking pre-made dresses, the bride picked fabric and we got to choose the style and have the dresses made. This could be a great option, since I found several patterns for maternity formal wear. Maybe you could find nice fabric similar to your other dresses and have the new dresses made as close to the day as possible to get the right size. Good Luck!

  9. Stacy Nov 03 at 2:37 pm Reply Reply

    When I was pregnant with my son I was a bridesmaid in two weddings. For the first I was about 4 months and bought the dress she had picked in a larger size and had it altered. For the second I was 8 month, it was my sister or I totally would have bailed, and went with a maternity dress that (kind of) coordinated. I have to say that I felt and I think looked better in the maternity dress. And some point “regular” clothes just aren’t going to cut it. Both dresses came from David’s Bridal, they do have a “bump” that you can try on to see what the dress will look like.

  10. Suzy Q Nov 03 at 2:50 pm Reply Reply

    Nicole, I do so miss your beasty bride column! And I share your utter disdain for strapless bridal gowns. Yuck.
    I also don’t undestand why bridesmaids have to be so matchy. It’s kind of ridiculous, when you think about it, to make your best friends buy some (usually) godawful dress that they will never wear again just so they look like a “set” in the wedding photos. Why? Because that’s what’s “supposed” to happen?
    I liked what Bethiclaus said, and that’s what I will do when I get married. Pick a color (probably black) and send them off to get what they want. I’m all for individuality and would never want my very diverse friends to look like clones.

  11. MichelleB Nov 04 at 1:22 am Reply Reply

    Well my boyfriend recently proposed to me with gorgeous diamond engagement ring from http://www.idonowidont.com and as a bride-to-be I decided that our bridesmaids can wear any dress they choose.
    So since My BFF is pregnant this will be good for her so she can maternity dress she can be comfortable in during our celebration!

  12. crazylovescompany Nov 04 at 9:48 am Reply Reply

    I can’t imagine that the bridesmaids haven’t thought about it at least a little bit. Fingers crossed they can be altered, but if not, looks like there are options out there. Please don’t make them attend as guests, way to make them feel lousy for creating life.

  13. Anonymous Nov 04 at 12:24 pm Reply Reply

    On one hand why didn’t those bridesmaids tell you that they were thinking about becoming pregnant when you were searching for dresses? Admit it… I know you are thinking it. But assuming you want to have children it’s good luck to have pregnant bridesmaids isn’t it? and hey you are double lucky.
    As for the dress situation.. maybe have both of the ladies go shopping together to select a maternity option in the same relative hue/design as the other dresses. That way they would coordinate if that is the issue. But as you did pay for the first dresses, those should be their responsibility.

  14. Gillian Nov 04 at 1:11 pm Reply Reply

    Great advice here! None of my bridesmaids were pg at my wedding, but none of them matched either. We had some body shape differences that would have been hard to accommodate, so I let the girls pick their own style. In brown.
    I think you should gather the handful of suggestions here and go ask the girls what they want to do. Solve the problem together. Start the conversation with “I still want you both in my wedding, of course, and I want you to be comfortable and beautiful. I know you don’t have a lot of money to throw around right now, and neither do I, so let’s figure out a solution together that our pockets can handle.” Busy as they are, I’m sure the issue weighing on their minds as well, and they’d probably be relieved to get it out in the open.

  15. Jen Nov 04 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    I had two 7-month pregnant bridesmaids. We were able to order extra fabric from the bridal shop and alter the dresses to fit. The seamstresses just took out the side seams and added panels to the sides. You couldn’t tell the dresses weren’t meant to be that way.

    • Jayna Jun 18 at 11:39 pm Reply Reply

      The girls did pay for their own dresses initially.   And if one is ‘trying to have a baby,’ most women would prefer to keep that between themselves and their husbands for a multitude of reasons.  A possibility of needing a different dress or alterations (which 99 percent of bridesmaid dresses need anyways) really doesn’t add up to providing information rather left personal until it can’t be personal anymore.

  16. AJU5's Mom Nov 04 at 1:33 pm Reply Reply

    One reason the bridesmaids may not be talking about it is because they don’[t know what size they will be in a month! The 5 month pregnant one might not be showing much at all, so she might be perfectly fine in the original dress (I was barely showing at 5 months), especially if she had to order a little larger to fit another part of her body. And, they might not have been trying – we weren’t! Some times people just stop preventing or the birth control just doesn’t work…

  17. Anonymous Nov 04 at 2:01 pm Reply Reply

    I am 5 months pregnant and am the MoH in a wedding on Saturday. I’m really showing and had to completely alter my bridesmaid dress to make it work. Luckily we had empire waist dresses so it wasn’t the end of the world. One thing I would mention is the shoes. I am really happy that the bride in this wedding is letting me pick my own shoes that are comfortable. Her sisters all had these matching shoes that I know would be killing me by the time her dad gives her away! Also, I didn’t tell the bride I might be preggers because we’d been trying for a year and I had no idea when things would “take”. Don’t get on the bridesmaid’s cases too much…sometimes you just don’t know what’s going to happen!

  18. SleepyNita Nov 04 at 7:22 pm Reply Reply

    If the dresses are long then a really good seamstress could alter them to a maternity dress pretty easily.
    I say this because this happened to my best friend ***ooopsseee me bad*** and instead of my dress being floor length like every one else it was just below the knee with a cute set of pleats built in under an empire waist. The dress matched perfectly – just had a different style. And with 2 out of 4 girls being pregnant it will look like you deliberately chose to have slightly different dresses.

  19. MomBabe Nov 04 at 8:51 pm Reply Reply

    I was a bridesmaid when I was 9 months pregnant. And we had the same kind of deal with the dresses, solid color, floor length, capped sleeve, with a sash. It was totally fine. I had a dress made in the same fabric as the other girls, but instead of wearing the sash at my waist, it was above my very fat belly. And yes, I paid for it myself because it was my friend’s wedding and I very much wanted to make her happy. And it wasn’t all that much anyways.

  20. Gen Nov 04 at 8:57 pm Reply Reply

    It can be done! Don’t panic yet! I was 6 months pregnant in my sister’s wedding, and I wore the same dress as all the other bridesmaids, just altered a bit. I knew I might be pregnant when we went shopping, so I ordered the dress a couple sizes larger so we’d have extra fabric to work with. My MIL is a professional seamstress, and she altered the dress to fit when we were a couple weeks away from the wedding. Even ordering it larger, it was a little tight, but she was able to fix it up in such a way that you truly couldn’t even tell it had been altered. (It helps that it had an empire waistline, for certain.) I’d suggest checking to see if you can change their dress sizes or find some extra fabric, and then find a great seamstress! Good luck!

  21. mrs. q. Nov 04 at 9:01 pm Reply Reply

    Wow. As a former bridesmaid and mother of two, there’s nothing worse than having to buy a bridesmaid dress you’ll never wear again, than having to buy a MATERNITY dress you’ll never wear again. Give your gals some options and then let it go. Pregnant ladies can get easily overwhelmed and emotional, so be flexible. And remember, while it’s wonderful that you want your maids to feel beautiful and comfortable, ultimately, everyone will be looking at you.
    I like the idea of ordering a huge extra dress for alterations, but I bet the cost of alterations will run higher than getting coordinating maternity dresses. Is it too late to just pick a basic color and have everyone choose a style in that shade? Get everyone matching shawls or flowers and they should all ‘go’ just fine. If you give them the option of buying the dresses they want (and since you already paid for the first set), I see no reason you need to pay for round two.
    Good luck. And remember, the wedding is just one day. Slow down and enjoy the journey.

  22. Christy Nov 05 at 11:26 am Reply Reply

    OK, now I seriously want to read Nicole’s old blog – I don’t mind combing through archives. Can anyone give me a hint as to where I can find it? Thanks!

  23. Diane Nov 05 at 6:27 pm Reply Reply

    Christy – I’m assuming she was the writer of Bridehood Revisited, which you can find at http://bridehoodrevisited.typepad.com/

  24. Christy Nov 06 at 10:50 am Reply Reply

    Yay! Thanks Diane!

  25. MommyTime Nov 06 at 11:38 am Reply Reply

    I was that bridesmaid. We were given a pattern to make (or have made) in black silk. It was an elegant straight dress with two seams down the front (the kind that run the length of the dress about 6″ either side of your belly button). I just altered the pattern to turn those seams into deep box pleats and change the shape of their curve. When I stood still, they still looked like seams, but when I moved the dress was flowy. The point is, most designs can be altered: raise the waistline to an empire in the front, insert pleats or an additional center panel, change the wide white sash to a thinner one that’s just under the bustline, and they should be fine. You can either do this by making their dresses a bit shorter, and using the excess fabric from the hem up top (as someone suggested above), or you can have them do something different, like insert a panel of pleated chiffon (which is easy to buy in navy blue). OR, since they won’t be able to wear a wide sash, you could have them forgo a tie around the waist altogether, and use the white fabric to make a bold vertical stripe on the dress — either center front, or down both sides, to add girth. A clever seamstress will have good ideas. Whatever you do, have the dresses altered so that they are not fitted but are instead created with some give in them (pleats, etc.) to accommodate the exponential growth that can sometimes happen practically overnight.
    Good luck!

  26. Anna Nov 07 at 7:41 pm Reply Reply

    Some great suggestions here! I am -going- to be that bridesmaid. I will be a pregnant MoH, and I told the bride we’ve been trying for ages (and now under treatment), before they got engaged, so she knew beforehand. I plan on either ordering an empire waist in her chosen color and altering it, or making my own (I AM a seamstress) dress, which would be a lot cheaper for me.

  27. Monique Thompson Nov 13 at 8:33 pm Reply Reply

    I happen to have two wine colored bridesmaid dresses. One is maternity (size small) the other is a medium that is cut for maternity. They are brand new with tags still attached since both girls decided not to travel for the wedding (that was a disaster in itself since I paid for the dresses and then had to buy two more for two other girls). If you haven’t found dresses yet let me know and I’ll sell them to you for $60.00 for both. Of course, that would include shipping and handling. I know how hectic weddings can be…. Just let me know because if you don’t want them I think I will just sell them on ebay.

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