Outfitting your bridesmaids for the big day could already be a little daunting especially if one of your girls is pregnant. Don't stress! You are not the first bride to have a pregnant bridesmaid in the wedding party and you definitely will not be the last. Whether the dresses have already been ordered or you’re still deciding on what your squad will wear, your mom-to-be ‘maid has lots of choices for her perfect maternity bridesmaid dress.
Talk to your bridesmaids about dresses that will suit all of them. Empire-waist dresses and A-line silhouettes with a full skirt flatter almost every figure and are especially accommodating for a growing baby bump. Also consider having your girls wear coordinating, instead of matching, dresses. “This is one reason why the mix-and-match ‘maid trend is so popular,” says Caroline Dilsheimer, BHLDN head stylist. “If you allow each bridesmaid to wear a different dress in the same color or palette, the mom-to-be can select one in a silhouette and fabric that lets her feel and look her best.” Dresses made of stretch cotton lace, jersey, and stretch crepe are more breathable and a comfortable maternity bridesmaid dress option; and styles with elastic, adjustable, or no waist require little or no adjustments. “Soft tulle and mesh dresses with a stretch lining are also great options because they’re soft and eliminate the need for heavy alterations,” says Robin Cummiskey, assistant buyer for David’s Bridal.
Some designers, such as Hayley Paige and Jenny Yoo, offer their popular dress styles in a maternity version, making it easier for all of the bridesmaids to match. “Typically, a bridesmaid should go for a maternity dress if she’ll be five months pregnant or more by the wedding date,” says Chelsea Turner, Jenny Yoo Collection showroom manager. For a smaller bump, she can choose any style that allows room for her belly and hips and fits well around her bust. And just because she’s pregnant it doesn’t mean she’s limited to certain styles. “A mom-to-be can wear a fitted dress to show her bump if she feels comfortable with it,” says designer Rime Arodaky. “Otherwise, a loose A-shaped dress can be just as feminine.”
When shopping for her maternity bridesmaid dress, your pregnant bridesmaid can consult with a bridal stylist about picking her right size. Depending on the dress, she’ll want to go at least two sizes bigger than her current dress size. “That might sound too big, but along with a growing bump, her bust and hips will change; and the last thing she’ll want is a tight or uncomfortable dress,” says Rebecca Lau Marsh of White Runway.
Your bridesmaid should contact the dress designer or boutique right away. Some shops will allow exchanges for another dress style or size. “If the dresses were ordered far enough in advance, there may be enough time to order a new dress or the designer can check to see if there is a larger size in their inventory,” says Turner. Your bridesmaid should also ask if the designer offers the option to purchase additional fabric. Usually, you can order an extra yard or two in the same fabric of the dress for alterations.
Your bridesmaid should have the dress tailored by the boutique’s in-house seamstress or go to one recommended by the designer, as they’ll be familiar with the designer’s dresses and know creative fixes to make the dress fit. For example, the seamstress can add a shawl across the back and shoulders if the dress can't be zipped up or cut a too-long hem to add panels to the side seams of the bodice. “If the dress has a defined waistline and full skirt, the seamstress can try to raise it up to an empire or high waistline by shortening the bodice,” says Nayantara Banerjee, of The Williamsburg Seamster. “This will make the waistline sit just under the bust and slightly above her growing belly.” Other adjustments like adding tulle straps to a strapless dress for support can be made for a perfect fit.
And don't forget, it's all about making your friend feeling comfortable. "A chic modern dress important but comfort is key," says Amsale Aberra, creative director of Amsale New York.
Check out our pick of maternity bridesmaid dresses for the fashionable mama.