One of our brides’ most common concerns is how to choose bridesmaid dresses that work for every member of their bridal party. For many brides, this includes finding styles that work for bridesmaids who are pregnant, or who are planning to be pregnant by the time the wedding day comes around.

Finding the right dress size is always a little bit different than it is for everyday clothes. Each designer has a unique size chart, and your individual size is often different from designer to designer. Brideside dresses run close to regular sizes while Sorella Vita dresses can run 2-3 sizes smaller than regular sizes. And when you’re expecting, everything fits a little bit differently.

Finding the perfect dress for an expectant mother doesn’t have to be hard. Brideside can help you find maternity bridesmaids dresses that are beautiful and flattering, and that will keep you comfortable at any stage in your pregnancy.

Mind the Bump

Good news: there’s no need to squeeze into a style that’s not bump-friendly. Many designers carry bridesmaid dresses in maternity styles. Some are exact replicas of other styles, but with extra fabric and stretch in all the right places. If you’d like all of your bridesmaids to wear the exact same dresses, try pairing Brideside’s Kerry and Mary Kate together. They look the same, but Kerry has extra give for changing bodies. Most women can get away with wearing a regular style if they’re less than 5 months pregnant, but we recommend choosing a maternity style if you’ll be more than 5 months pregnant on the wedding day.

Step 2: Take your Measurements (And Size Up!)

Always take your measurements before placing your order. Visiting a showroom for a fitting is the best way to get your measurements right, but you can also them at home and share them with a stylist over by phone or email.

To measure your body, wrap a soft tape measure evenly around the widest part of the hips and backside. Then, measure around the widest part of the bust, leaving the tape across your back straight.

Bridesmaid dresses are typically fitted around the bust and waist, so it’s especially important to get those measurements right.

If you’re ready to take measurements, you can get started with our easy guide.

Step 3: Consider the Stage

Not Pregnant Yet?

If you’re hoping to get pregnant, you should hold off on buying your dress until it’s truly necessary. For most designers, this means placing an order 6-7 months before the wedding. If the time comes and you’re not pregnant yet, find style with a little bit of give in the bust, waist and hips, and order 1 size higher than you typically would. Worst case, you’ll take the dress in when it arrives. Best case, your bump will be comfy and cozy.

3-5 Months Pregnant

If you’re going to be 3-5 months pregnant at the wedding, expect to order 1-2 sizes up from whatever your measurements are during your fitting. Don’t cut it too close with your bust measurement—your measurements are likely to expand here, so be sure you leave plenty of space. At 3-5 months you can still consider non-maternity bridesmaid dresses with accommodating details like empire waists, full skirts, or elastic waistbands.

5-9 Months Pregnant

Shop our maternity favorites mentioned above, or check out our full collection of maternity bridesmaid dresses. Jenny Yoo, Amsale and Dessy all offer flattering maternity bridesmaid dresses—and they come in the same gorgeous colors as the rest of their collections.

Postpartum

If you expect to give birth before the wedding, there are still important considerations to be had. Whether or not you breastfeed, your cup size will fluctuate in the weeks after giving birth. Many women expect to hit the gym right away, but it’s important to give yourself time. Don’t order a smaller size in the hopes of losing weight quickly—your body needs time to recover.

Instead, opt for bra-friendly maternity styles, and waistlines that will flatter your changing midsection. An empire waist looks good on every figure, and it drapes enough to be versatile as your body changes.

Carrying Multiples & Second (or Third or Fourth!) Pregnancies

If you’re carrying twins or triplets, you can still follow all the guidelines above. But assume you’ll be 2-3 months ahead of the regular timeline, which means you’ll want to wear a maternity style as early as 2 months in, and tack an extra size on at each stage. For women who are on their second or third pregnancies, remember that every time is different. Our stylists recommend that you never make assumptions based on past pregnancies, but instead follow the guidelines anew each time.

Last, remember that extra length is a good option at any stage–the longer dress can accommodate your bump and still dust the ground at the right length.

Step 4: Choose the Best Style for your Body

Empire waist dresses work well for expecting mother because the waistband hits just below the bust, where your size shouldn’t fluctuate as much as at other points on the abdomen.

Fabric matters, too. Anything fabric with the word stretch in its name is a safe bet, and crepes have a little bit of give too. Avoid ruched styles if possible. The delicate folding these types of styles can be difficult to alter.

Don’t be afraid to ask the bride if she’ll consider special options for you, or for all bridesmaids to ensure an exact match. There are lots of styles and fabrics that look great in maternity and non-maternity styles.

Step 5: Share What You’re Willing.

Starting a family is a personal and special time, but it can be scary and stressful too. Sometimes bridesmaids are ready to talk about it with their bridal party; other times they’re not yet ready to share.

If you’re comfortable doing so, you can talk with your stylists about your pregnancy or potential pregnancy, so she can discretely guide you to the best styles and sizes.

When the time comes, share what you can with the bride. Your ability to travel, or to help plan events like bridal showers and bachelorette parties might be limited, but that’s OK! Missing a special event or needing extra time to find an appropriate dress style isn’t always fun, but planning ahead will help make the wedding day as stress-free and joyful as possible. Both you and your bride are celebrating special milestones, and it’s wonderful to be able to do so together.

Ready to start looking for the best bridesmaid dress for your girls? Sign up to meet your free stylist. She’ll help guide everyone to the perfect fit, and make your bridesmaids feel special and celebrated along the way.