Being a bridesmaid is stressful. I knew it was for my own bridesmaids back when I was getting married, even though I tried to keep my crazy requests and midnight text messages to a minimum. But the bottom line is: when you are one of the best friends or sisters of the bride, and you accept the role, you know going in that the next several months are not going to be a cakewalk. However, if being a bridesmaid is stressful, being a pregnant bridesmaid is hell.
When one of my closest friends asked me to be a part of her special day, I didn’t even think twice. She’d been one of my bridesmaids a few years back for my own wedding, and I was excited to be on board. My husband and I knew, though, that we were ready to expand our family this year. We talked about putting off those plans until after the wedding but realised that was silly: we wouldn’t schedule a second child around a party, and anyway it could take some time to get pregnant. We would start, and worst comes to worst I would have a bump in the bridesmaid dress. No biggie.
We were lucky to get pregnant pretty soon after we started trying, and I was eager to share the news with the bride — especially because I knew the dress could be an issue and wanted to make sure she was aware of what she’d be dealing with when it came to my shape. We had done the maths and according to the date she’d selected, I would be far enough along to show, but not so far as to be immobilised with swollen feet and a massive belly. Well, oops. As soon as I told her I was pregnant, she revealed they’d changed the date: I would now be 9-months-pregnant for the big day, at an outdoor venue, and right in the height of the summer heat. Yikes.
But it isn’t my day, nor is it my choice, so I just settled back into full-on planning mode and tried to be a good sport about things. As my midsection began to swell, so, too, did the bride’s list of demands. We needed to be at this bridal shop on that date, at another one the following weekend.
Trips were made to random towns hours from my home to scope out shoes. I sucked down bottled water while the other girls toasted over glass after glass of champagne at every gown appointment from the initial search to the several subsequent fittings. I broke up my 2-year-old’s tightly-knit nap schedule to be at lunches and meetings, carrying bags of fabric swatches and paper samples alongside the pregnancy pops that promised (and failed) to keep unrelenting nausea at bay.
Then came bridesmaid dress day. It would have been comical had it been a movie, but since it’s my life, I couldn’t laugh. While we did select an empire waist and I was grateful that the bride’s choice accommodated my growing bump as well as the lithe physiques of the rest of her pack, the visual is interesting. When you see us all lined up in a sea of pastels, we look like a band of supermodels that found one exhausted, 30-something train wreck with a baby bump and a mean case of acne to stand up there and make everyone else look amazing. You’re welcome, ladies. Glad to do my part.
Now that the wedding date is almost here, things are getting really frantic. My phone never stops buzzing with texts, calls, and photo shares. I’ve had to download random apps that are intended to aid in the planning process, deleting photos of my kid and even Netflix just to make room for them. I don’t mind helping my friend and I’m more than happy to be a first point of contact on shoe selection, flower arrangements, and so on, but man it would be nice to get the occasional, “How are you feeling?” text, too.
It’s obvious I’m skipping the bachelorette party… but even that choice was met with some raised eyebrows. Let me ask you ladies, do you really want to see all of this in a bikini two weeks shy of the wedding and four weeks before I’m due to deliver? There were a few jokes about how nice it would be to have me along as a designated driver, and I almost considered it for a minute. But then I pictured 48 hours of endless partying all around me and my own huge feet in a bucket of ice water the whole time, and firmly declined.
The big day is approaching and I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous. And thankful for a floor-length gown that will cover my feet, as flip-flops are the only footwear that works these days. In the next several weeks of wedding countdown, I know my bridesmaid duties will only increase. I’m ready to take it on, but also so ready for it to be over.
I should have known that signing up to wear lavender chiffon heavily pregnant in a humid climate was a mistake, but then again, good friends are not easy to come by. I’m grateful that she asked, but with all the sleep I’ve lost stressing about every detail of this wedding, a part of me wishes I had politely declined. So while everyone dances the night away throwing back endless amounts of delicious wine, I’ll admit I’m looking forward to exactly one thing to reward me for my tireless efforts as a pregnant bridesmaid: wedding cake!