“I kind of liked it, it was like our little secret,” Sarah found out she was pregnant two weeks before her wedding and — despite the morning sickness — thought that it added to her wedding. “There was something nice about feeling like our whole family was there, baby and all.” But, still in her first trimester and nary a bump in sight, her experience of walking down the aisle while pregnant isn’t exactly universal. Sure, she had to be subtle with the sparkling cider replacing the champagne at her table and felt a little off-color throughout the day. But, for the most part, it felt like a bonus.
Not everyone feels the same way. Unexpected pregnancies are usually stressful enough but then — if you’re already engaged or decide to get engaged ASAP — that getting married adds a whole new layer of complication. But what is it really like? Well, that depends on a lot of factors — like how far you are along, how many people you tell, and how much you’ve prepared. Here’s what it’s really like walking down the aisle when you’re pregnant.
Our Little Secret—Or Let’s Be Honest?
One of the most difficult things is that, unless you’re really early on, you probably are going to have to make a decision whether or not to tell people. And one thing that may be surprising is that, even if people do know, they may prefer to pretend that it’s not happening. “Getting married when I was pregnant was hard,” Chaunie Brusie writes in Babble. “It was stressful on both sides of the family, it was rushed, I was exhausted and nauseous, and it felt entirely like too much pretending everything was ‘normal’ I found myself wanting to stand up in the middle of the ceremony and shout, ‘I’m pregnant! Everyone knows it, so can we please stop pretending I’m not?’ I paused at the part of our church ceremony when they asked if we would accept children into the marriage – how did they expect me to answer that?”
But, even if the physical signs are obvious — or the pregnancy is common knowledge — some people may find it easier to ignore it completely. That can be a really frustrating experience for a bride, especially if you know that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Be Prepared for Opinions
Of course, if the pregnancy is obvious or you’ve chosen to tell people, there will almost always be a couple of people with a lot to say about it. Whether it’s a comment about the dress or open (often religiously based) disapproval, some people still have issues with a pregnant bride. “It’s amazing how blunt and nosey people think they can be, if suddenly a baby is involved,” Sarah says. Even though most people have sex well before marriage these days, a pregnancy is a more pronounced sign of that, so some people can find it provocative. If you’re worried about this — try not to be. Yes, it can be uncomfortable — but it’s a sign of their close-mindedness, rather than a commentary on your life decisions.
But Don’t Forget the Practicalities
Weddings can be whirlwind at the best of times, but when your pregnant you need to make extra preparations. “You must take care of yourself and your bundle of joy(s) first,” Bianca Dottin, who was married at 7 months pregnant, explains. "Have water and snacks with you at all times so that you are always hydrated. Having a snack on hand in between meals is smart just in case you have a packed schedule and aren’t sure when your next meal will be. Ask one of your bridesmaids or maid of honor on the day of your wedding to be the person to carry all of your snacks and to make sure that you’re drinking lots of water and eating. The last thing you want on your special day is to faint from dehydration. Trust me I know because it almost happened to me.”
You must take care of yourself and your bundle of joy(s) first.
It may seem like you don’t need another thing to plan for, when planning a wedding is already stressful enough. But walking down the aisle when pregnant means thinking ahead, especially at later stages in the pregnancy. But it’s worth it — because you can still have an amazing celebration and a day that means the world to you and your partner. You just have to recognize your needs and take care of them.
There’s a lot to consider if you decide to get married while pregnant, but the truth is — it’s all just details. If you and your partner are happy, then that’s all that matters. You should never feel uncomfortable or awkward (even if your Great Aunt Helen can’t keep her mouth shut). As long as you make sure you prepare for any of your needs on the day, then getting married while pregnant is just like getting married every other time — a day about you, your partner, and your future.