What Makes The Perfect Maternity Wedding Dress?

Updated September 27, 2022
What Makes The Perfect Maternity Wedding Dress?

Finding a maternity wedding dress can be tricky, as you can’t be sure of your size on your big day.

Furthermore, pregnancy brings not solely visual changes – you may feel overwhelmed and lost, which doesn’t help decision-making.

Being a bride-to-be and a mom-to-be simultaneously is exciting but also stressful. Therefore, knowing what you want from your dream wedding gown is vital to saving time and nerves.

Thankfully, there’s a maternity bridal gown for any preference – from modest, flowy empire styles to alluring mermaid dresses. You don’t need to sacrifice your unique style due to your pregnancy.

Most importantly, consider your comfort and follow your heart. Your pregnancy is a blessing, not a burden, so take a deep breath – you’ll find that perfect dress eventually.

Stretchy Fabrics

A woman’s weight and figure change drastically during pregnancy, and you likely don’t want to pay for double the alterations a regular wedding gown requires.

Fitting a non-maternity dress to your growing belly is unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming.

If you’re dreaming of a form-fitting dress, consider options from stretchy fabrics to avoid extensive alterations. Today, you can find an elastic version of nearly any material – look for elastane on the label.

Alternatively, stretch can be achieved using specific knitting techniques. Dresses that don’t contain elastane but feature flexible thread loops are typically less stretchy but will still accommodate your changing body.

Note that the dress fabric is unlikely to stretch by multiple sizes, so you should take a size close to the one you’ll have on your wedding day.

It isn’t always simple to estimate, but still easier than altering your dress a dozen times.

Empire Silhouette

If you aren’t a fan of stretchy fabrics, not to worry- there’s an even simpler solution. Empire gowns are the most popular maternity wedding dress silhouette, and it’s no wonder.

The high waist allows avoiding alterations entirely (unless you need basic hemming or wish to customize the design).

Traditionally, empire gowns have a fitted bodice that ends right below the bust and a flowy skirt that gradually flares towards the hem.

The empire silhouette originated in Ancient Rome. Roman women especially favored this style for their weddings. Later, empire silhouette became popular in 18th-century Europe.

Empire wedding dresses are impeccably romantic, elegant, and always appropriate. The best fabrics for this silhouette are lightweight and flowy – crepe, chiffon, or silk.

If you consider the traditional empire silhouette an overly obvious maternity wedding dress idea and are looking for something more creative, consider high-low or tea-length empire gowns.

They accommodate the growing belly equally great but aren’t as common as floor-length options.

Empire silhouette gowns are usually very modest as they conceal the body below the bust, but they don’t necessarily have to be such. You may find a dress with a plunging neckline or high slit if you prefer more seductive styles.

Straight silhouette dresses are another popular maternity wedding dress style. Unlike empire gowns, such dresses don’t have a waistline – think the 1920s’ fashion.

Of course, you don’t have to go for a flapper style, but you can draw inspiration from that era silhouette.

When buying an empire or straight silhouette gown, one point to be aware of is that the growing belly may affect the hem length.

Leave the hem alterations for the last month before the wedding. This way, your dress won’t be too short at the front on your special day.

Wrap-Style Gowns

Wrap-style wedding dresses have been increasingly popular in recent years.

This style is very feminine and elegant, perfectly balancing formality, comfort, and sensuality. Furthermore, it’s among the best wedding dress styles for pregnant women.

Avoid fake wrap dresses – such styles imitate wrap closure, but the parts are already sewn together, so you can’t adjust the waist.

Look for actual wrap gowns that can be fully opened like a bathrobe – they will let you tie the belt as you wish. Typically, such gowns have an additional closure on the inner side to securely keep the dress parts in place.

Wrap dresses come in all styles: minimalistic silk gowns, alluring midi gowns from stretchy fabric with draping, and multi-tiered gowns with flowy sleeves. Overall, it’s a very versatile dress style.

Depending on the skirt and sleeve style, fabric, and embellishments, a wrap-style dress can be a perfect option both for a beach and a castle wedding. Such gowns can be modest or sexy, formal or laidback, modern or traditional.

Alternatively, consider wrap-style wedding jumpsuits. Some stores carry maternity bridal jumpsuits with a dropped waist. It’s a great option if you value comfort and look for relaxed bridal attire.

Modest or Seductive?

Some believe that a maternity wedding dress must be modest. However, there’s no rule stating that open styles are inappropriate for pregnant brides – it’s all about how you feel.

There’s a wide range of modest wedding dresses that will accommodate pregnancy, featuring an empire waist, long sleeves, and a high neckline.

Such styles are perfect for a bride who doesn’t feel like showing her body and wishes to achieve an innocent and romantic look.

On the other hand, if you wish to embrace your pregnancy instead of hiding the belly, you may look for fitting silhouettes, open necklines, strapless styles, short hemlines, or slits. In other words, your pregnancy doesn’t limit your selection.

There’s no right or wrong – no one knows how you feel better than yourself. Don’t budge into getting a gown you aren’t keen on only because your mom or friends insist it’s a better fit for a pregnant woman.

Flowy Skirts

Most maternity bridal gowns have a flared skirt for a reason. Pregnancy changes not solely our looks. You may be already familiar with increased tiredness and leg swelling and understand that comfort is vital.

Therefore, avoid dresses that chinch your legs and restrict movement. Fitting gowns are often uncomfortable even for brides who don’t expect a baby, and for a pregnant woman, a tight mermaid dress certainly isn’t worth the trouble.

A flowy skirt is the best option for a maternity wedding dress. It will ensure you can move freely without getting tired quicker than you should.

On the other hand, ball gowns with overly voluminous skirts aren’t your best bet either, as they tend to be heavy. Look for lightweight fabrics and naturally flaring cuts.

Fitted Maternity Wedding Gowns

While most maternity wedding dress styles are relatively loose, with voluminous skirts and empire or dropped waist, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a figure-hugging gown.

You don’t have to give up your dream about wearing a mermaid wedding gown if you’re pregnant. However, you should keep in mind a few tips when shopping for a fitted maternity wedding dress.

Firstly, don’t buy a dress from a rigid, inelastic fabric. Even if you don’t mind the alterations, you may feel uncomfortable walking in such a gown the entire day.

Instead, look for fabrics with good stretch to eliminate the need for alterations and flatter the belly shape. It’s especially important for gowns with tight skirts – the stretch will let you walk freely.

Secondly, try to find a figure-hugging dress from a maternity bridal collection. Fitted dresses that aren’t designed for pregnant brides may require an immense number of alterations that can be very costly.

Meanwhile, gowns from maternity collections feature a different cut than usual wedding dresses – instead of narrowing, they widen at the waistline.

Thirdly, don’t go overboard – keep it appropriate. If you’re showing off the belly and the bust in a strapless fitted dress, choose a floor-length skirt. And if you want to wear a fitted sheath dress with a slit, select high necklines.

What to Avoid in a Maternity Wedding Dress?

There are no style limitations when it comes to maternity wedding dresses – you should choose a dress you love and don’t have to comply with anyone’s perception of a pregnant bride. However, some things are best to avoid for the sake of your comfort.

You already know that rigid, inelastic fabrics are a big no for maternity dresses. The same applies to all heavy synthetic fabrics, especially if your wedding is in summer.

Synthetics such as polyester and acetate won’t let your skin breathe and can trigger increased swelling. That’s an essential concern for any bride, especially for pregnant ones.

You don’t necessarily have to choose 100% natural fabrics, as they rarely have stretch. However, strive to find a dress with balanced natural and synthetic fiber content.

Avoid mini hemlines. If the baby bump is already prominent, the skirt’s front will rise further and look inappropriate. And if your wedding is outdoors, the dress will rise with every wind blow.

Your shoe choice is critical for your comfort. Heels are uncomfortable even on a regular day, let alone during pregnancy on a hot summer wedding day when your feet are swelling.

Refrain from stilettos and choose cat heels or block heels if you can’t stand flats.

On the same note, a floor-length dress allows you to wear any shoes you wish, even fluffy slippers. But if you want to achieve a creative modern look, pair white sneakers or ballet flats with a tea-length or high-low dress.

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