This article is reprinted.
For decades it was one of society’s biggest taboos: the bride with the baby bump having a shotgun wedding.
And of the avant-garde brides who would admit to being in the family way, few of them, if any, would have dared walk down the aisle in a white dress.
But times, it would seem, are a-changing. Last year, an estimated 20,000 brides in Britain were pregnant on their wedding day, accounting for 10 per cent of all first-time brides under the age of 45.
Brides with a bump: Tiffany London, founder of maternity wedding website Tiffany Rose, says she’s seen a huge increase in pregnant brides. Dresses here are from tiffanyrose.com
And if soaring sales at maternity bridal boutiques are anything to go by, more pregnant women than ever are opting to wear a traditional white dress.
One person feeling the benefit is Tiffany London, founder of Tiffany Rose – a website selling Wedding Dresses With Sleeves solely for pregnant brides.
She has seen sales of her range of maternity wedding dresses, ranging from £135 up to £369, soar recently, reaching sales of 1,000 dresses in 2008 alone – 50 per cent up on 2007.
“It’s been amazing to watch our maternity bridal range take off,” she said. “We’ve seen a steady growth in over the last few years, and it’s still growing. It’s really a reflection on our society: we’re much more open-minded than we once were.”
Most of the brides are aged between 25 and 29, say the figures from the Office for National Statistics, and are around three to five months pregnant on their wedding day.
White wedding: Most pregnant brides are aged 25-29 and are on average three to five months gone on their wedding day. Dresses from tiffanyrose.com
And it’s a trend among couples that shows no sign of slowing down.
“More and more younger couples are choosing to live together before they marry these days,” adds Tiffany. “And when they do get married, it’s more acceptable for the woman to wear white, even if she is pregnant.”
Tracey Wilkinson, founder of Expectant Brides, a dedicated maternity wedding dress boutique in Chiswick, London, says her sales have been on the up ever since she launched her company in 2006.
“There’s no doubt we’re seeing more brides than ever. In summer 2007 we were seeing 30 brides a week. A year later in 2008, that number had risen to 40 brides. Right now as it’s winter, we’re seeing just 20, but we’re expecting more than ever this summer”.
Our ever-changing society, she agrees, has a major part to play in the increase.
“Before if a couple fell pregnant, they might have thought about postponing the wedding, but now there’s so much pressure in our society, they don’t think they’ll have time after the baby to organise a wedding.”
And, she says, there’s much less stigma around wearing white as a pregnant bride.
“A few years ago you’d have struggled to find a white maternity wedding dress. Now, you can find one easily – and people are much less embarrassed about wearing one.”
The dresses are specially tailored to accommodate the baby bump, and designers are trained to estimate how much a bump will have grown by the big day, with extra fabric added into the dress to help with adjustments if a bump grow faster than expected.