Having a pregnant bridesmaid or maid of honour as part of the wedding party is something many brides discover becomes part of their wedding planning process. Of course, you may be aware of a pregnancy (or potential pregnancy) well in advance. More often, however, you’re well into the planning process when you hear the happy news. And it is very happy news, of course! But once you’ve celebrated the blessing of a child, you may find yourself wondering what it means for the wedding. What will your pregnant bridesmaid wear? Will she be able to perform all her duties? Will she be able to be part of the wedding at all?
Worry not! Managing the needs of a pregnant bridesmaid just requires a little flexibility and understanding, as well as good communication. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you along the way.
First and foremost, don’t panic! It’s perfectly normal to wonder how a pregnant bridesmaid might affect your wedding vision, but it’s important to react in a supportive way, and not be angry or annoyed. And certainly, keep any thoughts about your friend stealing your thunder to yourself. You have every right to enjoy the extra attention you’ll receive as a bride (and she’ll want you to have it too)! Just be careful not to make everything about you or try to make her feel bad. Friendship is all about celebrating each other’s milestones.
DO have an honest conversation
Once the initial excitement has died down, it’s fine to raise the topic of your wedding. Let your friend know you still want her to be part of your wedding, but that it’s her decision. Talk about her concerns and discuss different options for both the wedding day and for pre-wedding events like your bridal shower or hen party. Make sure you also keep the channels of communication open throughout the planning process. Your friend should always feel comfortable being honest with you about what she can and cannot take on, and some of that may change as her pregnancy progresses, depending on how she is feeling.
DON’T assume she can’t be part of the bridal party
While a pregnant bridesmaid may not be able to give you the same level of commitment, that doesn’t mean she definitely can’t be a big part of your wedding! Again, a lot will depend on how her pregnancy goes and on how close her due date is to the wedding day. She may not be able to attend every event but make sure she always feels included. And if she decides not to be a bridesmaid, you can also recognise her in another way, for example, as an honorary bridesmaid or in some other role.
DO choose maternity-friendly bridesmaid attire
When it comes to dresses, there are plenty of options for a pregnant bridesmaid. You could opt for a mismatched look and let her pick a comfortable, flattering gown like an empire line or maxi dress. Or, if you’d like your ladies to match, you could choose a convertible dress or one from a range that has maternity options. Long dresses are always a good idea. And heels are out (at least for her).
DON’T forget to consider travel if it’s a destination wedding
If you’re having a destination wedding, then a pregnancy can throw a spanner in the works. Some destinations are off-limits to pregnant women thanks to Zika, and long haul flights can be a problem in the third trimester. If your bridesmaid won’t be able to attend, you can still include her in the pre-wedding festivities and any post-wedding celebration at home. And be sure to set her up to attend the ceremony via Zoom!
DO be flexible and make adjustments where needed
There are lots of ways you can make the experience of being a bridesmaid more pleasant for a pregnant friend. For example, you could have her sit in the front row instead of standing at the top of the aisle. Serve mocktails as well as cocktails and make sure she has appropriate accommodation. It’s all about putting yourself in her shoes (flat ones!).
DON’T forget why you asked her to be your bridesmaid in the first place
Throughout the process of planning your wedding with a pregnant bridesmaid, the most important thing is to remember how much you love each other. Your friendship is about more than a single day or a perfect bridesmaid dress. It’s about being there for each other for all the important moments, and supporting each other however you can.
Slán go Fóill,
Image by Aspect Photography