Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is there anything worse

...than a pregnant bridesmaid?

"Oh, the horror! The tragedy!"

Screen shot from Psycho, stolen from here.

Please, give me a break.

I've had this post brewing in the back of my mind for a while, due to a situation one of my bridesmaids is in, but I was spurred to actually write it after reading a particularly hot thread on the Weddingbee discussion boards. Here is the original post:

a bit of a long story but bear with me...

I am getting married in March 09 and have three bridesmaids.

About 6 weeks ago bm#3 came to me and asked if it was ok if she was 3 months pregnant during my wedding (at this point she was just PLANNING to be) . Of course I said yes as i knew it would make her happy and 3 months really isn't that much. A fortnight later I heard her talking to bm#1 and saying that she was planning on being six months pregnant at my wedding. I thought this was a bit strange as she had said three months to me. I let it slide as it seemed to make her happy. A fortnight ago we all went out dress shopping (bm#1, bm#2, bm#3 and me). As they were trying on dresses she announced that she could not fit into this dress at eight months pregnant.

That night i decided to ring her and have a chat. I told her that i was worried about her being 8 months pregnant at my wedding as it is a very long day and we will be getting in and out of limo's all day, standing for long periods and i didn't want to stress her out heavily pregnant and stress the unborn baby. Also that there is a higher chance of her having to go into hospital with complications or labour etc and her to miss our wedding. Her husband is best man so of course we could lose our best man too.

She was very rude to me and said pretty much that it was happening whether i liked it or not. I couldn't seem to get it across to her how worried I really was. I then wrote her a 2 page letter explaining my feelings and how i was upset she dismissed my feelings.

She came around last night with her husband to tell us she was 6 weeks pregnant and that the baby was due three days after the wedding date.

What should i do? I don't see how she can remain a bridesmaid at 9 months pregnant. I don't know if she will even be able to stand three days before the birth. Also there is a high chance we will lose our best man too...

I'm very upset. She has hurt my feelings really bad and shes due to have a baby three days after my wedding. Can I have some advice please?

Now, I'm not actually going to respond directly to that post, mostly because I have only negative things to say and I'm sure the original poster would find out about it and would flame me for all of eternity. I'm instead going to write you a little guide of what I think you should do if one of your bridesmaids tells you that she's pregnant. I'm not talking about that poster. I am going to try hard to be objective and polite, and I hope not to offend. However, I am a little snarky and sarcastic; it's hard to do anything about that.

Here is what I think about bridesmaids:
  • They are women you feel very close to for some reason or another -- friends and family who you enjoy being with, and who you want to honor by giving them a special role in your wedding.
  • They are not slaves, or even poorly compensated employees to be used at your discretion.
  • They have their own lives -- whether it be school, work, families, whatever. Just because you got engaged and your own life is now tied up in wedding planning does not mean theirs should be, too.
  • They, like you (most likely), are not made of money.
  • Yes, there are certain things a bridesmaid is "supposed" to do (see here or here if you don't know what they are), but you still have to remember that this is reality, and things need to be reasonable.
So, if your bridesmaid (and let's assume she's someone close to you, like, say, a really really really good friend you've had for at least 10 years, and not some co-worker you asked to stand up for you just to make the male and female sides of the wedding party even -- another ridiculous thing, if you ask me) announces that she's pregnant, here is what you do:

2. Act as though you are NOT getting married for just 5 minutes (really, you can do it, I promise), and ask all the questions that would be appropriate if your really really really good friend just told you she was pregnant. You know:
  • How far along are you?
  • How have you been feeling so far?
  • Is there anything I can do for you?
  • Would you like me to buy you some pickles? (Haha)
  • Do you know if it's a boy or girl? (Some parents don't like this question, so be prepared; however, if they say, "We're not going to find out ahead of time," don't respond with, "Why not?" Instead, say, "Well then I'll just buy presents in pink, blue, yellow, green, AND purple to be prepared!"
  • Can I help plan the baby shower?
3. Be happy.
4. Don't say anything about your wedding. At all. The bridesmaid will bring it up. Yes, she will. Because, you see, she's been agonizing over the fact that she has to tell you, the bride, that she's pregnant, and she's worried about how you are going to react. And you should feel 100% ashamed that she has been, in between puking her guts out and craving pickles, stressed about how YOU are going to react.

Now, once the subject of pregnancy + wedding has been brought up, you should be as accommodating as you possibly can. No exceptions. If the bridesmaid dresses haven't been bought, keep a pregnant belly in the back of your mind as you peruse dresses. Ask if the designer has a maternity line. Ask if you can purchase extra fabric and have the chosen dress altered to accommodate a baby bump. If the dresses have been bought, then you and your bridesmaid can scheme about how best to address the situation -- order a larger size in the same dress, order a maternity dress from another designer, order extra fabric for alterations -- whatever it takes. Do not make your bridesmaid feel fat, ugly, or anything other than the glowing mother-to-be that she is. What kind of friend are you, anyway?

If your bridesmaid suggests that she might not feel comfortable standing at the front of the aisle for the ceremony, then you can have a discussion about "duties." (God, I hate that word when it comes to bridesmaids.) Again, be as accommodating as you can. If she wants to walk down the aisle, stand for as long as she can, then sit in a reserved spot in the front row, fine. If she wants to walk down the aisle and immediately sit, fine. If she wants to walk down the aisle but not wear anything resembling what the rest of the bridesmaids are wearing, fine. If she wants to be a reader instead of a bridesmaid, fine. Start by decreasing her suggested "duties" only slightly, and see what she wants to do. If you start off with, "Well, why don't you just take it easy and be a reader instead?" she's going to interpret it as, "You're going to be huge on my wedding day and I don't want people looking at you, so you can't be a bridesmaid anymore." Don't question it -- that's the hidden meaning that the pregnancy hormones have made her think is there (and that I, negative person that I am, read into your suggestion also), so be prepared for an equally rude response. You deserve it.

If YOU, for some ridiculous, brain-fart reason, suggest without provocation that she should decrease her responsibilities in any way, or, god forbid, suggest that she NOT be your bridesmaid anymore because she is pregnant, you should be taken out and shot.

Yeah, she looks a little uncomfortable, but she obviously survived! (Source)

Do not, for one minute, suggest that the "stress" of having to get into and out of a limo might be cause of concern for the pregnant bridesmaid and her unborn baby. Give me a break. Yes, someone who is 9 months pregnant probably can't stand for as long as someone who isn't pregnant, and she might need a few more breaks and water (and then potty breaks) than the rest of you, but she is no way endangering the health of anyone, born or unborn, by acting as your bridesmaid on the day of the wedding. (This is all assuming a standard, healthy pregnancy, of course.) If she needs to sit down a little longer than everyone else, FINE. If she feels horrendously queasy the day of the wedding and stays in bed a little longer than everyone else, FINE. She'll meet you at the salon if she needs to get her hair done (wait -- you didn't FORCE everyone to get their hair done, did you? Shame on you.).

I mean, say a bridesmaid got food poisoning the morning of the wedding. Would you throw a fit, ask why she ate that questionable egg, throw away her dress and refuse to let her walk down the aisle? No! You'd let her stay in bed, recover with some Gatorade, find her a doctor if she needed one, and get on with life. If she walks, she walks. If she doesn't, then go visit her in the hospital as soon as you can. This is really no different. Are you doing yourself any favors by worrying about all the things that might go wrong with a bridesmaid on the day of the wedding? No.

Now, even if your bridesmaid is 100% sure that she can fully participate on the wedding day and is 100% excited to hold your bouquet while you say your vows, things can still happen. A few months from now, she might realize that she doesn't think she's going to be able to do what she previously told you she could. Give her a break, and let her back out if she wants to, but I would seriously consider going back to the paragraph above where I tell you alternative things for her to do. If she does back down, don't take her name off the program, for goodness sake -- that's really bitchy. You still wanted her to be a bridesmaid when all of this started, right? That's what this is about.

If the wedding is out of town, she might not be able to come at the last minute (especially if it involves flying). Already printed the programs? Don't worry -- no one will notice a missing bridesmaid based on the program, and if they do, they'll assume something came up. Actually, they probably won't care (gasp!). If she can come, and she'll be majorly pregnant, she should talk with her Ob/Gyn about having a backup doctor available in the city she will be visiting and she should scope out a hospital, just in case. If her water breaks, don't worry -- someone will call an ambulance and she will be taken to the hospital. People might look at her and talk about her for 5-10 minutes, but don't worry -- all eyes will return to you when you dance your first dance or cut the cake or toss the bouquet or whatever else it is you have to do.

The bottom line is, if she wants to do it and thinks she can, who are you to say she can't?

The bride? Give me a break.

Pregnant bridesmaid? No problem!


Now that I'm done with my rant, I have to say that it was brought on originally by my FSIL, who recently announced her second pregnancy and is due in January. Congratulations!!! She won't be pregnant for our wedding, but instead will have a 4-month-old (who I predict will be a boy, and I'm totally going to spring a baby tux on him if it is!). However, she will be pregnant when she is in a friend's wedding in September, and there have been issues (mostly dress-related). She told Eric and I about the pregnancy pretty early on, and I witnessed her being stressed about the prospect of telling the other bride (and the bride's mother, who apparently is the bridezilla-esque one of the pair). Their bridesmaid dresses had already been ordered, and the dress shop ladies were quite rude and disgusted at having to deal with a pregnant bridesmaid. Luckily, it has all worked out, but I think -- in my opinion only -- a lot of bridesmaid stress could have been relieved by a more accommodating bride/MOB.



E.S.C. said...

I just like that the page header says, "Holy #$!%, We're Engaged! Is there anything worse"

Alissa said...

LOL Eric :)

Did that chick seriously invoke THE HEALTH OF THE UNBORN as a reason to cut a pregnant lady out of her wedding? I'm appalled.

If one of my bridesmaids had been pregnant, I would've thought it was cool! And I would've wanted to take a picture of me giving that preggers belly a smooch so we could say, "Look, you kissed me on my wedding day!" to my niece/nephew when they're older.

Unless my friend was one of those people who does not appreciate people wanting to touch/hug/kiss their midsection. In which case I would maybe just get a picture of me waving at the belly? Blowing it an airkiss? Pointing at it and giving the camera a thumbs-up? Whatever, I would think it would be really cool and would be happy to accommodate a fetus bridesmaid/groomsmen.

Blablover5 said...

My MOH and best friend had actually told me that she would be hoping to get pregnant and we looked for dresses with that in mind.

I couldn't be happier for her, and I'm excited. Plus it can be a learning experience for my FH to hold her baby.

I've seen even worse posts from brides concerned about someone who has a 3 month old and the mother doesn't want to leave the child behind for the wedding so they're all in a huff.

Frankly I don't blame the mother, she just had the kid for christsakes, of course she's gonna be attached.

hwong14 said...

@Eric: I know, like you've forced me into this life-long relationship or something. Haha.

@Alissa: Appalled was pretty much how I felt when I read that, too. Did you catch this line? "Of course I said yes as i knew it would make her happy and 3 months really isn't that much." {insert eye roll here.} And I love the idea of your pregnant belly photo op!

@Blablover: Couldn't agree more. And I definitely like the fact that "it can be a learning experience for my FH to hold her baby." Needs some training, does he? :)

whenigrowupcoach said...

Amen, sister. I have nothing to add - you said it perfectly!

PCJ said...

Yay, thank you for this!

I found out I was pregnant about 10 days after we ordered the dresses. The gorgeous, slim-fitting, very-defined-waistline dresses that I was SO PROUD to fit into a smaller size than I expected to. I knew there was a chance I'd wind up pregnant, but didn't want to be jinxy or make plans too early or count my eggs before they implanted or any of that. So I ordered the skinny, slinky thing. And then, I got fat. Fast.

To be fair, the only Bridezilla-esque thing about the MOB was her firm preference that we match 100% exactly. Luckily, the bride herself has been fabulously un-stressed about that, and has told me it's no big deal to wear something totally different. And it looks like alterations might actually be possible, and another bridesmaid is pregnant, so I won't stick out too badly.

But yeah, I WAS crazy worried about it at first. Mostly because it was still so early and I felt like I had to make decisions so fast, when I really wasn't ready to be announcing this or totally counting on it for certain.

Plus, I looked damn good in that dress when I first tried it on.

Lauren said...

I couldn't agree more. I would be thrilled for my pregnant friends and personally would go out of my way to make sure they had everything they needed the day of the wedding (extra water, snacks, chair at the front, etc). How cool is that to be able to show the baby when they're older that they were in your wedding too!

Anonymous said...

Oh.My.Gosh. I am sooooo glad you posted this. I saw that post on WeddingBee. I never even thought of it as a problem or an issue. My BFF/BM told me she was pregnant and was due 4 weeks before my wedding. I was SO EXCITED for her! It never entered my mind on how her life might affect my wedding. She more than likely wont be able to come now (She lives in Orlando, I live in Vegas and am getting married here) but I am so happy for her.
LOVE this post and your LOVE blog!

Anonymous said...

UUUHHHHH I dont know how my comment got names "david" but my name is GingerBride. Oh, BLOGGER!
Here's my post with my correct name!

Oh.My.Gosh. I am sooooo glad you posted this. I saw that post on WeddingBee. I never even thought of it as a problem or an issue. My BFF/BM told me she was pregnant and was due 4 weeks before my wedding. I was SO EXCITED for her! It never entered my mind on how her life might affect my wedding. She more than likely wont be able to come now (She lives in Orlando, I live in Vegas and am getting married here) but I am so happy for her.
LOVE this post and your LOVE blog!

hwong14 said...

I was wondering about the David thing. :)

And, thank you for all your comments, everyone. I wrote this to get it off of my chest, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way about this.

I totally agree that I would be excited about having a pregnant bridesmaid. In fact, there's another one of my bridesmaids who *might* be pregnant by the time the wedding rolls around, and I secretly hope she is!

Amber said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Really, I am right with you 100% - that post ticked me off too!