Congratulations! You’re celebrating more than one amazing event in your life and your wedding day will be extra special. Bridal fashion can be a challenge for expectant mums, but there are hundreds of stunning maternity wedding dresses and fashion options to choose from.
Talking to an expert is a must, so we asked Tiffany London, owner and founder of Tiffany Rose, a maternity occasion wear brand that specialises in maternity bridal, and Ann Beggs, owner of Ann’s Bridal Room, for their fashion advice for pregnant brides.
When you design dresses for pregnant brides, what factors do you take into account?
Tiffany: First, the “wow factor”, because every bride deserves to feel amazing on her special day. Second, a flattering fit: confidence is everything, and if you feel your absolute best, this shines through. Third is comfort - we ensure all of our fabric is of the highest quality.
When an expectant bride comes into the shop, what do you need to know?
Ann: First thing is how pregnant she’s going to be at the time of the wedding as this affects the styles we consider. Then we ask if this is the bride’s first pregnancy: if the bride already has children, chances are her waistline will expand much quicker than if she was having her first baby.
Do most brides want to hide or show off their bump?
Tiffany: We prefer to work with the bump rather than disguise it. The majority of our customers are around six to eight months pregnant on their wedding day, so their biggest concern is wearing something that is flattering. Often, pregnant brides opt for an empire waist which can be very flattering as it accentuates the slimmest part of the body – it doesn’t show off or disguise the bump.
What fabrics suit pregnant brides and why?
Tiffany: If the design is done well and the fabric is good quality, any type of fabric can be used. It’s best to avoid anything overly stiff and we specialise in floating silks, soft satin jerseys and elegant lace fabrics - all of which are breathable and tailored to enhance growing curves.
Ann: Soft fabrics like chiffon and tulle for heavily pregnant brides as they are more comfortable and flow over the bump. For earlier stages of pregnancy, lace or lace appliqué is good, as the pattern distracts from the bump.
What cuts are the most flattering?
Tiffany: Our customers love the empire line. It nips you in at your “new” waist giving a beautifully, feminine shape. We also offer a wonderful range of beaded or diamante sashes that are finished with silk tails - perfect for enhancing your waist and creating a finishing touch of bridal glamour.
Ann: For brides who are heavily pregnant, empire line gowns are the best option. Brides up to about seven months can wear A-line gowns with pleating or ruching over the waist, giving the bride a great shape. Width at the bottom of the skirt also helps to create the illusion of a smaller waist.
What happens when a bride falls pregnant after she has ordered her gown?
Ann: This is the case for the majority of pregnant brides I deal with. We have to work with what we’ve got. We’ve converted many zip back gowns to lace-ups, let out side seams, and more recently taken a waisted ballgown and shortened the bodice to create an empire line dress.
Can any trend be incorporated into maternity bridal?
Tiffany: A good designer knows how to adapt the style and tailor it accordingly so it works on all levels for pregnant brides. They will select the right fabric for weight and drape and focus on the fit and areas of the body that can expand during pregnancy.
Ann: The current trend of low backs and sheer backs wouldn’t work. Lace-up backs are preferable, allowing the bride greater flexibility.
What would you say to a pregnant bride who is hoping to wear a non-maternity dress for her wedding?
Tiffany: Many customers originally bought a transitional non-maternity dress, only to find out that it no longer fits further down the line, or that it has been adjusted so many times it is barely recognisable. At Tiffany Rose we hold all of our bridal dresses in stock and have saved the day for many brides in distress!
Are maternity bridal dresses more expensive than other bridal fashion?
Ann: Maternity gowns tend to be of a similar price point to your average bridal gown.
What kind of accessories would you recommend to go with a maternity bridal dress?
Tiffany: Minimalist styling tends to work best. We love pearl drop or chandelier earrings to draw your eye to the neckline and shoulders. A silk satin or beaded sash along your empire line provides a beautifully neat touch. At Tiffany Rose we stock a selection of sashes, my favourite being the Diamante sash Katherine Jenkins wore recently.
Ann: It depends on the bride’s own sense of style, but if you don’t normally wear statement jewellery, don’t do it in the hope that it will distract from your bump - it will just annoy you when you look back at photos.
Is there any other fashion advice you would give to a pregnant bride?
Tiffany: Don’t compromise on your style: you can still wear your dream dress whether you are pregnant or not. Also, choose a dress designed for pregnancy and opt for Made in Britain to be assured of high quality, beautiful craftsmanship and personal customer care.
Ann: Stay true to your own sense of style and don’t assume that because you’re pregnant you have to have an empire line gown – but definitely have a lace-up back, not a zip.