If you’re planning on both a pregnancy and being a bridesmaid in the near future, here are some of the bumps (pun totally intended) in the road to consider before officially saying yes.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bride-to-be shall be in want of a good bridesmaid…or three. And chances are that when a friend comes to you basking in that newly engaged glow and asks you to be one those bridesmaids, you’ll jump at the chance to support her on her big day: The dancing! The shoes! The dresses! The CAKE!.Before you can say “yellow organza chiffon,” you’ve committed to being a bridesmaid and all that the honor entails. But what if you are
expecting to have a big (and getting bigger) event of your own sometime in the next nine months?
While the costs associated with being a bridesmaid can vary from wedding to wedding, one thing is certain: a baby on the way means unexpected expenses will be particularly unwelcome. After all, your priorities are changing, and whether it’s saving for diapers or a college fund, you want to make sure being a bridesmaid won’t mean being expected to pony up for expenses you soon won’t be able to afford. Accordingly, it’s important to clarify just what kinds of expenses will be expected of you ahead of time. A few to inquire after:
1. Will you be responsible for your dress, or will the bride pick up the tab? The same goes for those dyed shoes and your fabulous wedding day up-do and manicure.
2. If travel is involved, how costly will that be? Airfare, cab fare, hotel and eating out should all be considered.
3. How much (if any) will you be expected to contribute to a shower or bachelorette activities?
2. The Dress
Since bridesmaids dresses are known for being so lovely and flattering, finding a dress that will work while you are pregnant should be no problem at all! Um, yeah…Back on planet earth, bridesmaids dresses can be itchy, lumpy, scratchy, and pinchy (yes, you know pinchy is a word). But this is not to say that you cannot totally rock the pregnant bridesmaid look
as long as you keep a few things in mind.
1. Comfort and Fit: Ultimately, you want a dress that flatters your figure and that you’ll feel great wearing. Look for a flowing empire-waisted gown, or a dress that can be ‘enhanced’ with an extra panel to accommodate that lovely baby bump of yours!
2. Alterations: Make sure you’ve got a good tailor who will be able to make last minute alterations a little bit in advance of the wedding date. As you know, all of those measurements are going to change. And then change some more.
3. Support: Speaking of those changing measurements, the right maternity bra can do wonders for a girl’s mood at a wedding, not to mention her back! Once you reach your third trimester, you will likely need to trade in those lacy bras and reach for something more substantial. Just don’t forget to make sure that your maternity bra works with your dress as the date nears.
3. Your Due Date
Let’s put this right out there: Going into labor at your friend’s wedding is not ideal. If your due date falls very close to the wedding date (or even within a month), you should feel free to humbly decline being in the wedding. Consulting with your doctor is also a good idea, as he or she will have likely dealt with this issue in the past and can make an individualized recommendation.
However, if your due date is farther afield from the wedding date, then the most important factor to consider is likely to be travel. While most airlines will allow pregnant women to travel through their eighth month, you need to consider what your own personal comfort level will be.
Tips for safe air travel while pregnant include walking the aisles on your flight to prevent blood clots, drinking lots of water, and wearing your seatbelt under your belly rather than across it. Travelling during pregnancy can be challenging, but if you and your doctor think you are up for it, then you’re a go.
Just one thing though: You know those teeny tiny airplane bathrooms? Need we say more?
4. The Time Commitment She’s the friend who consoled you that time you broke up with that jerk during freshman year…and then consoled you again when you broke up with that other jerk that next year. She’s been with you through thick and thin and late night pizza runs. So of course you want to be the absolute best bridesmaid possible.But take a moment to consider what that might mean: stuffing invitations, licking stamps, shopping for wedding favors, liking her Facebook posts, and talking. Lots and lots of talking. You owe it to yourself and to your friend to think realistically about what you can handle during your pregnancy. No friend wants you to overtax yourself while you should be focusing on your health and the health of your baby. Let her know your concerns and ask in the gentlest way possible what will be expected of you so that you can both make an educated decision.
5. The Friendship Style
Before you say yes, think about the type of friendship/relationship that you have with the bride. Is it filled with drama or is it mostly peaceful? Communication will be key to making this situation work. She needs to understand that there will be times during this pregnancy that you will be tired, anxious, or painting adorable ducks on a nursery wall, and therefore will be unable to check out her Pinterest board right this moment.And you will have to understand that this is one of the most exciting times in her life, and that she will need your support throughout, even if your feet are swollen and throbbing, and the ducks need
painting. If you two have that covered, the rest of the stuff will be a breeze.
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor, for sure, and it’s no wonder you might be tempted to fill such a position for a friend you care about so dearly. But true friendship means knowing your limitations — something your friend should likewise honor and respect. And don’t worry: if you can’t participate as a bridesmaid, there are plenty of other ways to show your friend you care throughout this process. So, consider your next steps carefully and you’re sure to make the decision that will best balance your friendship and your own needs. And by the way, congratulations!
— Alyssa Ennis