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How to Choose the Best Maternity Wedding Dress

If you are expecting another happy event in addition to your wedding, then the likelihood is that you will need to look for a maternity wedding dress for your special day.

The main challenge in choosing a maternity gown is what size and shape you will be on the wedding day. It’s fine if you are going to get married quickly but if you are going to plan for around six months ahead, then you are going to look completely different. It sort of puts paid to the tried and tested notion that you should always start planning early when it comes to the dress!

Where to begin choosing a ‘bump friendly’ wedding dress

Pick a good bridal salon and tell them that you are expecting when you make the appointment and also tell them the due date so they have a gauge of how far on you will be in the pregnancy when you actually want to wear the dress. Use this helpful pregnancy due date tool to help you work out how far on your pregnancy is in weeks.

Some designs may have to be ordered in advance as most boutiques won’t carry a huge stock of maternity wedding gowns so it can be helpful if you have some idea of what you want or at least a firm view on what you don’t want.

Before you go, do your research online first, this will help get the ideas flowing and give you an idea of what you like and don’t like.

Choosing a dress style for your pregnancy

Some dresses are just pregnancy friendly and not necessarily pitched as maternity wedding gowns. For instance, the empire line style where the waistline is effectively right underneath the bust, is a classic design that works well for brides who are not particularly slim or brides who just don’t want a figure-hugging gown, and also brides in the early to mid-stages of pregnancy. This style gently disguises the baby bump.

However, some brides are loud and proud and want a figure-hugging gown that leaves everyone in no doubt at all that there are three people at the party. A mermaid or a sheath dress is a great choice if you want to accentuate the bump.

In reality, most dress types and hem lengths are available as maternity gowns but what will be common to all of them is the change in waistline which tends to go upwards to sit under the bust, described as an empire line fitting, rather than around the bride’s actual waist.

Don’t forget the fabric

A good couturier will always tell you that the choice of fabric is just as important as the design of the dress.

Consider fabrics that are comfortable to wear for long periods like lightweight tulle, chiffon and stretch jersey. Comfort is a really important factor for any bride, pregnant or not.

Stretch jersey can work without alteration and accommodate both size and shape changes if they are not too radical. This takes the worry out of fitting a dress closer to the wedding day.

Chiffon or tulle skirts are endlessly elegant and complement an empire waistline perfectly. They are easy to move in and create a feminine look even for pregnant brides who are quite big.

Light fabrics like chiffon and crepe will stop you overheating and feeling dizzy whereas heavy fabrics can feel oppressive and uncomfortable.

Colours for your pregnancy dress

Pale pastels can be more flattering to an expectant bride than the traditional white which can make some ladies look washed out when they already feel washed out!

Equally, pregnancy causes an increase in blood flow around the body by around 50% so this can make some brides feel permanently overcooked and a bit red faced as well as bloated. Sometimes a soft blush pink or champagne colour can help take down any higher than usual face colour which white or ivory might accentuate.

Choosing the size

This is the tricky bit! Most boutiques will tell you to order up one size if your wedding is within the next 3-6 months. Take their advice. The answer may depend on the style of the dress and the choice of fabric too. Remember, a dress which is too large can be altered and tailored to fit but it is difficult to do anything with a gown that turns out to be too small.

Most bridal boutiques and salons offer an alteration service so discuss the gown with the seamstress when you choose it so you can establish together how it can be adjusted to fit in a few weeks’ time.

Brides vary in how large they are at different stages in the pregnancy. Brides marrying during weeks 36-40 may find that the bump has dropped somewhat because this is when the baby’s head engages although most brides don’t tend to leave their wedding that late. So, you need to think about not just about what size you may be but also what shape.

Style suggestions for your pregnancy wedding dress

  • A plain satin full-length and fully lined gown in white with a fashionable knot front bodice and V-neckline which accentuates the empire waist – classically understated elegance which subtly acknowledges the baby bump. Finished with flutter sleeves, this gown has a bo-ho type feel about it and looks lovely with a simple posy and hair worn long over the shoulders
  • Choose a flowing chiffon dress in an off the shoulder flattering A-line style. Elegant and slightly Grecian, the empire line waist is both comfortable and effortlessly feminine whilst adding more than a touch of glamour to the occasion
  • A light, silver grey tulle gown, full length with a beautiful flow and line and a slight train and soft capped sleeves. Delicate floral embellishment adds just the right amount of pizzaz to catch the light
  • Look the part in a plus-size lace maternity gown which is designed as a stretch fit made from lined jersey. The floral lace overlay is feminine and stylish and the dress is finished with pretty scalloped sleeves, customisable with your own satin sash
  • Don’t fancy a full-length dress then a simple sheath dress can look stylish and contemporary with an on the knee hemline and a blank canvas just ready for flowers or decoration

There are literally hundreds of maternity wedding dress designs and designers online to help you find inspiration for the right choice of gown.

It’s easy to see from the images that a pregnant bride can still look feminine and glamorous, some might say even more so because they are pregnant. So, if you think you are going to be confined to the oversized and frumpy dress rail then think again!

Are there any bits you do want to hide?

Some pregnant brides might worry about puffy ankles so a full-length gown will disguise this perfectly.

Maternity bridesmaid dresses

Yes, maternity bridesmaid dresses are a thing and some of these designs can work really well as wedding dresses too especially if you are not sold on having a traditional white or cream gown.

Are maternity wedding dresses cheaper than standard, non-maternity gowns?

It’s an interesting concept and yes, they do seem to be more competitively priced, and this is probably because maternity wedding gowns tend to be plainer with less embellishment and decoration. You’ll find plenty of maternity wedding dresses for sale here on Bride2Bride and use our marketplace if you have a wedding dress to sell.

Top Tips

  • Be comfortable – getting married is one thing, getting married when pregnant really is up a level and it can be very tiring. Make sure your choice of gown is something you are comfortable in for several hours and your shoes too. If you want to change from heels to flats, then you will need a hemline that can accommodate this otherwise a change of dress will be required
  • Choose a colour that flatters your complexion – this can alter during pregnancy particularly if you are really feeling the heat and also, if you are getting married in the summer. Choose fabrics which will keep you cool and a colour that tones down any florid moments rather than accentuates them
  • The second trimester is probably the best time to plan your wedding, this is months 3-6. It avoids the possibility of morning sickness and that awful tiredness which can accompany the early stages of pregnancy and, the discomfort of the final stages of pregnancy around months 8 and 9. Some brides don’t even show at month 3 and can manage a standard fit wedding dress and, at the other end of the spectrum, if your baby puts in an earlier than planned appearance, this can scupper your late wedding plans in an instant so it can be a risk to plan a wedding late on towards your due date
  • As any mum will know, pregnancy involves much more frequent trips to the bathroom so choose a dress design which is easy to hitch up so you can go to the toilet in comfort
  • Remember, every bride is different, and every pregnancy is different so do what feels right for you and your baby