My Bridesmaids Are Pregnant. Hooray! Now What?
Guest columnist Nicole of Not Perfect sets the etiquette record straight when the bumps in your wedding planning are of the baby variety.
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.
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
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!