We talk wedding dresses a lot here on SBB, but there’s one type that we’ve never really covered before, and that’s maternity wedding gowns, aka gowns for pregnant brides. Now I think a bride never looks more beautiful than when she has that gorgeous mama-t0-be glow, but at the same time, I imagine it’s a bit of a challenge to find the perfect dress when you’re not a hundred percent sure what your body is going to be doing between that first try-on, and the big day. You’re dealing with a whole new body shape, basically, and it’s hard enough for us to flatter the one we normally have, right? It’s your wedding day, and you want to look amazing, not like you’ve been swaddled in a big white mumu, or squeezed into something that shows every lump and bump either. Choosing a maternity wedding dress is definitely a unique challenge, but fortunately help is at hand. We’ve teamed up with our friends at GF Bridal Couture in Johannesburg (whose impressive bridal range includes a specialised section of beautiful maternity dresses) to answer all your questions on finding the gown of your dreams when you’re dressing for two.
CAN I WEAR A STANDARD WEDDING DRESS?
Well… maybe. The key factor here is how far along you’ll be in your pregnancy when the big day comes. Up to 14 weeks you have a bit more choice, and that can include a gown from a regular collection (although there are lots of gorgeous maternity gowns available, and even in the earlier weeks you may find yourself more comfy in one of them). Past the first trimester though, opting for a standard gown could be a big (and expensive) mistake – don’t assume that simply adjusting the size up will give you the result you want. Remember that your body will look completely different – embrace it, and aim for a style that both accommodates your changing figure and makes you look amazing! Plus, who wants to have tons of alterations and stress?
WHICH SHAPES FLATTER THE PREGNANT FIGURE?
When choosing your bridal silhouette, you have a choice between flaunting your bump, or discreetly masking it a little. You just need to take a look at pregnant celebs on the red carpet to know that either option can look spectacular, so it’s really up to you.
To hide your bump…
An empire line dress (often strapless, with a soft tulle overlay) is a classic choice, as the high waistline highlights the smallest part of your torso and allows the fabric to flow beautifully over your bump. Grecian styles work similarly, as do strategically gathered A-line gowns.
To accentuate your bump…
A mermaid or trumpet silhouette will flaunt your bump, especially when paired with a soft elastic fabric, like silk jersey or some laces. Pleats are another pretty option on the skirt, or you could opt for a slinky sheath (especially if you’re one of those who carries small, or stays very slender except for the bump). Short dresses are another sweet option, especially if you’re planning a summer day wedding.
Whichever style you choose, make sure you allow for plenty of comfort on the abdominal area. Pick fabrics that are stretchy instead of stiff, and as light and breathable as possible – remember, pregnant ladies get hot! Think chiffon, silk tulle or charmeuse. Look for boning (just as far as the rib cage) or built-in bust support if you opt for a strapless dress to support a growing bustline, and consider a V-neckline to flatter your enhanced assets. If larger arms are a problem, opt for cap sleeves or a pretty light jacket or wrap.
Finally, and most importantly, choose a dress that still really feels like ‘you’, even if it’s different to the one you might have imagined you’d wear.
CAN I WEAR WHITE?
YES. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. The tradition for white wedding dresses only caught on in Western culture when Queen Victoria wore one, and it was symbolic of wealth and affluence (since white fabric was more likely to be ruined) rather than purity. Not that you have to wear white, because ivory dresses can be more flattering and coloured dresses are absolutely gorgeous, but if white is what you want, you go for it.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT SIZE TO ORDER?
Your bridal consultant is the best person to advise you, but the short answer is that it depends on the range. Some suggest that you add 2.5cm to all your measurements for each month of pregnancy and then round up to the nearest size on the designer’s sizing chart, while others will automatically work in proportion to your pre-pregnancy size. A key thing is not to rely on measurements from previous pregnancies if this isn’t your first – they can vary vastly! You should also leave at least two weeks for alterations.
HOW SHOULD I ACCESSORISE A MATERNITY WEDDING DRESS?
Your bump is the ultimate ‘accessory’! Simplicity is the way to go as a result – you want to go for classic rather than fussy, and not compete with the bump (and your natural beauty!) when it comes to your accessories, hair and makeup. Opt for good quality seamless nude underwear. And MOST vital, you want to pick a pair of comfy shoes (yep, sorry, stilettos are out). Buy them in a half size bigger than your usual, to accommodate swelling feet.
Image sources (top to bottom, left to right): 1- Jessica Lewis Photography/Monique Lhuillier via Wedding Chicks; 2- Veronique Photography on SouthBound Bride; 3- Erich Mcvey/Emily Riggs via Once Wed; 4- Tiffany Rose; 5- Justin Alexander; 6- Callaway Gable/Ian Stuart via Brides; 7- Tiffany Rose; 8- Tiffany Rose; 9- Leah Hope Photography/WTOO via Marina McEvoy
CELEBRITY BRIDAL BUMPS
Some of our favourite slebs have rocked a beautiful bump on their wedding day (Drew is totally my fave!). Clockwise from top left: Drew Barrymore | Teresa Palmer | Alicia Keys | Doutzen Kroes | Lily Allen
Be sure to visit the GF Bridal Couture Facebook page to hear about their specials and book your appointment.