One of my best friends recently tied the knot in the most beautiful fairytale wedding in Malibu. Before she knew we were pregnant, she had asked me to be one of her bridesmaids and I didn’t think twice before of course saying yes! As the months of our pregnancy passed by, while I couldn’t wait to be a part of her special day, it became increasingly real to me that I’d have to squeeze into a bridesmaid’s dress at over 8-months pregnant. As my bump continued to grow, I came to realize that this would not be as easy a task as I had thought back in my first trimester. 

Thankfully, the bride let all of us pick the dresses we wanted to wear (as long as they were in the same color by the same designer) and I not only lived to tell the tale–I learned a bunch of tips along the way to help other future preggo bridesmaids too. It was such a beautiful night and I’m so thankful I could be a part of her wedding!

SILHOUETTE: If you’re looking to find the perfect bridesmaid’s dress silhouette that will fit your bump during your pregnancy (and make you feel comfortable which is no easy feat!), the first thing to determine is how far along you’ll be on the big day. I knew I’d be in my third trimester for this particular wedding and ordering a dress in my first trimester felt so nerve-racking! We had to order our dresses early to ensure they would arrive on time but I had no idea how big I would be in my third trimester. Would I be gigantic by then? Would I have to order extra fabric?

Here are some tips I learned in terms of ordering a bridesmaid’s dress for weddings taking place in all three trimesters:

First Trimester: You can wear pretty much anything in this stage and you don’t have to worry too much! Your bump may just be starting to show so something more form-fitting that’s defined at the waist could be adorable if you’re comfortable enough. If you have not yet told your family and friends your big news, of course go with more of a bohemian flouncy dress that will be more roomy. 

Second TrimesterI know a lot of women love showing off their bump but if you’re anything like me, I wanted to live in roomy maxi dresses during this time (especially since my bump didn’t really show until at least 7-months into pregnancy). I personally didn’t gravitate towards curve-hugging dresses during this time because I felt so uncomfortable. That said, looking back, if there is a time to wear form-fitting dresses that will show off your little bump, second trimester is the perfect time! Most women are over morning sickness at this point (I wish I had been!) and they’re feeling their best. Loving this ruffled dress, this simple sheath dress and this halter.

Third Trimester: By the third trimester, pregnancy often gets a lot more uncomfortable. I ended up choosing a wrap dress back in my first trimester for this particular wedding that tied above the bump. That said, in looking back, my advice would be to choose more of a sheath style in this trimester (again, totally a personal preference). I love this dress that draws attention to the neckline instead of the waist, as well as this one-shouldered option that you can wear without the belt. 

SIZING: Chances are, you will not gain too much weight in your first trimester (and you probably already ordered your dress a long time before you knew you were preggo!). If you’re in a wedding in your second trimester and you need to order a dress that doesn’t come in maternity sizes, I’d suggest ordering your dress at least a size above what you normally wear so that you can take it in. If you’re in a wedding in your third trimester like I was (and need to order a dress that doesn’t come in maternity sizes), the general rule is to order at least two sizes up. For instance, if you’re usually a size small, order a size large.

The only caveat here is that if you and your bump have not grown as large as you were expecting, you will have to pay an arm and a leg to get your dress altered. This is what ended up happening to me but in the end, I was so relieved to at least have a larger dress on hand that had too much material rather than too little material! 

WHEN TO GET YOUR DRESS TAILORED: I was told to get my dress fitted 1-2 weeks before the wedding since most women grow so much in their third trimester quickly. I followed this suggestion but made the big mistake of not re-trying on my dress after I picked it up until the day of the wedding. My only excuse for this was that we were in the midst of moving into our new home and I ended up accidentally putting my dress into a pile of things to be moved. If I could go back, I would have kept it with me!

Once I got to the wedding, I tried on the dress only to realize the tailor had not fully finished her alterations! I was so embarrassed, I raced to the ladies room to figure out how to pin the dress myself to make it work. Ladies, save yourselves and don’t let this happen to you! If you plan better in advance, you will be absolutely fine. #Bigfail on my part.

In the end, I had so much fun being a part of my friend’s wedding at 8-months preggo and I’m so happy I was able to be up there with her! It was such a special weekend and I can’t wait to share these photos with our daughter someday. If you know you’re going to be super pregnant in a friend’s wedding, you don’t have to tell her you can’t be a part of it. Make sure you plan ahead, try to think about what will make you most comfortable that day, drink tons of water and definitely wear comfy shoes (go for flats or wedges)! 

THE LOOK: Joanna August / PHOTOGRAPHY: Katrina Jayne and iPhone