As if the excitement could get any bigger, those of you who are adding another major life milestone into the mix with a baby on board have an even bigger reason to celebrate! However, a growing belly and changing body does make the dress shopping a bit trickier. To help you navigate between finding the perfect dress that will make you feel beautiful and comfortable, we asked Tina Mak, a designer who specializes in maternity wedding gowns, to share her tips.
Start the search as soon as you can. “Custom designing a dress typically takes at least four to six months, and oftentimes, pregnant brides don’t have that luxury,” notes Tina. You can also go with ready-made maternity gowns which are typically in-stock and less expensive.
Allow two weeks for alterations. “I would suggest scheduling the fitting about three weeks before the wear day for best results since your body is changing.”
Choose a silhouette that complements your body type and personal style. “My favorites [for maternity dresses] are the A-line and empire,” says Tina. “The empire style is typically cut right below the bust and if you combine that with a long, flowy skirt that skims the body, it’s easy to wear and very ethereal. For brides who want to embrace their new curves, form-fitting silhouettes are best achieved with fabric with lots of stretch. You still want to be comfortable.”
Choose a fabric that will keep you comfortable. “We all know pregnant women are always hot, so you want to select soft, flowing, lightweight fabrics such as chiffons or charmeuse.
As far as sizing goes, Tina recommends ordering your pregnancy size. “Our dresses are designed in line with your pre-pregnancy clothing size for your convenience,” she adds. “If you are having twins or this is not your first pregnancy, we suggest going up to the next size.”
Regular wedding dresses are not created to fit the changes in your body during a pregnancy. “You may be able to get away with [wearing a regular wedding dress] during the really early stages but you will realize it just doesn’t fit at the later stages. Maternity dresses are cut specifically for the extra curves.”
Be true to your own style. “You wouldn’t be comfortable wearing a strapless maternity wedding dress if you weren’t comfortable wearing a strapless dress before you were pregnant,” she says. “And don’t be afraid to show off your curves!”