Words of wedding wisdom: IF YOU’RE PREGNANT – before, after, or what?

Welcome to this series of articles based on my popular book, “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” … a few juicy extracts that you might like, to give you a taster of what the book can do to help make your wedding (or a friend or relative’s wedding) superbly successful.

This time, we look at…

Pregnancy and getting married

Except in very rare circumstances I think the days of the “shotgun wedding” are well and truly over, and that’s a very good thing. That’s not just because it averts the illegal use of firearms, but also because it means the stigma of being pregnant out of wedlock is now firmly where it belongs – in the past.

Of course in some cultures and religions there still is a stigma about pre-marital pregnancy, but in most industrialized countries society has become far more comfortable with the idea than it was even in the mid 20th century. You might still get the occasional disapproving sniff but no longer will you get Pappy using his rabbit gun as a cattle-prod to get the groom up the aisle. At least I hope not.

So in these modern times the only issues that arise from being a pregnant bride are connected with practical things like when to get married, what to wear, and how the bride will feel at that particular stage of her pregnancy.

Pregnancy: when to get married

That’s a tricky one. A lot depends on whether:

  • Your pregnancy was planned or not
  • You need to use the wedding money for the new baby
  • You will feel up to organizing a wedding while pregnant
  • You want to wait until after the birth

Let’s look at the two main options. They’re pretty simple; before, or after.

First, before: the advantages…

  • Your baby will be born “in wedlock”
  • You will not be trying to organise a wedding with a young baby in tow
  • Your family – especially the older ones – might feel more comfortable with this
  • You can get away with a smaller, simpler, cheaper wedding than you might otherwise

And now, before: the disadvantages…

  • You will be organizing a wedding when you may not be feeling at your fittest
  • You will need to think carefully about what you will wear
  • Realistically you probably won’t have as grand a wedding as you would have if not pregnant
  • You probably won’t have as much money to spend on your wedding/honeymoon
  • You may not be in a position to enjoy your honeymoon quite so much

OK. Now, after: the advantages…

  • You can choose a date when your figure will have returned to normal
  • You can wear a dress that does not look like a tent
  • You should be feeling OK again provided your baby sleeps at night (some do, so I’m told…)
  • You can organize the wedding without the sensation of a meter running

And after: the disadvantages

  • Your baby will not have been born “in wedlock”
  • You will be organising a wedding while caring for a young baby
  • You might just get some disapproval from certain family members
  • Your honeymoon may have to include baby too (not necessarily a disadvantage!)

Other alternatives

Fine. Those alternatives are the obvious ones. However if we lift ourselves out of the “obvious box” there are some other possibilities you can consider.

For starters, you could “split” your wedding plans. In other words, have a small wedding – maybe just a registry office do – while you’re expecting your baby, then have a big reception or party after baby arrives and you’re all feeling slim and fit again.

Assuming you have an understanding wedding officiant, you could even develop a religious blessing to be held at an appropriate time after your civil wedding – which could be combined with a baptism service for your baby. Then, you could move that on into a combined wedding and baptism reception.

So what do you do?

Where getting married before the birth is concerned, I would say let your pregnancy guide you. You will know fairly early on in your pregnancy whether you are going to be feeling nauseous or not. If you are, don’t despair, as that usually dies down in the second trimester of pregnancy. However in your shoes I would avoid a wedding in the third trimester – especially the latter stages – because you may find standing and sitting and in fact everything (!!) somewhat uncomfortable. You may also feel very tired, very easily.

Talk to your doctor and your nurse specialist. They know all about pregnancy and all about you, so are well qualified to advise on whether a wedding before the birth is a good idea or not.

Whatever happens, don’t be panicked into making hasty decisions about getting married if/when/while you are pregnant. Keep calm and analyse everything carefully. Once again, never forget whose wedding it is. Even if others try to pressurize you into making a decision, consider what’s best for you, your fiancé and your baby. You three matter most.

Wedding dress

This may be an obvious one but if you’re pregnant, when choosing or commissioning your dress make sure you allow for the stage of pregnancy at which you will be on the date of the wedding. Empire line designs are very useful here. Some designs can hide an early pregnancy very effectively, but many women these days are proud to share their “bump” with all and sundry. If so, let the design of your dress show that.

Finally, be mindful of pregnant ladies among your wedding guests – don’t expect them to stand around for too long, and allocate somewhere comfortable for them to sit!

For all 174 pages of helpful tips and advice, grab your copy of “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” from Amazon (USA), Amazon (Canada), Amazon (UK) and all other Amazons.




  1. Hi Ryan … I would say, er, before … wouldn’t you? LOL