The topic of pregnant or nursing bridesmaids (or even guests) comes up lot and as I gear up for my second maternity leave, the topic is fresh on my own mind. I'd love to share some helpful thoughts on having your BFF by your side even with a belly bump!
I always like to start with a story, if you haven't noticed. I have a friend that when asking her gal pals to be her bridesmaids, also asked that they not get pregnant between then and the wedding. I was really embarrassed to know her in that moment. Most of you will be equally appalled but you know what, it's a real emotion. As a bride, this is about you. And until someone struggles with infertility or becomes a parent themselves, they truly can't grasp everything that goes into it. That a few months of 'trying' here or there can make a large difference. I say all that just to share a little insight from this side of the bridge- to be asked to not get pregnant is very hurtful and for me, would be grounds for re-evaluating the friendship.
But let's unpack this- pregnant bridesmaids cause challenges, let's be honest. Here are a few of those challenges and my thoughts on combatting them.
1. The Dress:
You've fallen in love with a form fitting dress and if anyone gets pregnant, game over. Your look is gone. The good news is that a lot of designers are creating a maternity option so with fingers crossed, it's not an issue. Also, with the expectation really being more of a mix-matched affair to accommodate varying body types anyway, you're still on trend if you allow the gals to wear different dresses in either the same or complimenting colors.
Oh! And if at all possible, be flexible on shoe choices. Or at least let momma know that once pictures are taken, she is free to change into something more comfortable.
2. The Bachelorette Party:
Okay, so I've been pregnant or nursing for three years now and I like to think I'm still fun. ;) Sure, I miss my pal, Tequila... and I may peter out earlier than the rest of the crew. But I'm not broken. And neither is your friend. It's a total bummer, I get it. Even for me as the preggers or nursing momma that misses the full experience but the encouragement here is that a great time can still be had. I recommend that MOH put together a lose plan and ask the mother or mother- to- be how the plan can accommodate her needs in a way that allows her to not bring everyone else down. That may mean that momma slips out for a cat nap and returns or maybe not. It may just mean making sure that a nursing mom has a place to pump. Easy peasy!
If traveling- plan during a trimester that is safe and comfortable so she can join. Alternatively, don't be disappointed she can't come and find another special time to that the two of you can celebrate together.
3. Wedding Day:
With hair and make up, wedding days can be really long (for anyone). My tips here include letting your stylist know that you would like the pregnant person to go towards the end so if they wake up not feeling well, they can move a little slower and not over do it. And if your bridesmaid is nursing, ask if there is a time to avoid so the stylist can work around that.
Having access to the bridal suite is really the most important thing for a pregnant or nursing mom. That way, she can slip away to refresh or to pump in privacy. If your venue doesn't have a private space, talk to the manager ahead of time to arrange something. There is usually an office available. And worst case scenario, momma has to pump while standing in the bathroom. Can't tell you how many obnoxious times I've had to do that in our 'man built' world, but you know what, it didn't kill me. Do give your bridesmaid a heads up so she knows what 'equipment' to bring. :)
As a planner, we of course see a lot of pregnant and nursing mothers in wedding parties and they bust out the adrenaline and hold their own. I hope to have provided some encouragement around the challenges we mommas can create. Trust me.... we hate it more than you do. I look at you all skinny minnie in that dress and know my rib cage will never be that small again.