Whether you just got engaged or are nearing your wedding date, adding a surprise pregnancy to the mix can be both incredibly exciting and overwhelming. Planning a wedding is fun, but it's also undeniably stressful—there's so much to coordinate! The same rings true about preparing for a baby. When you combine the two life-changing events into the same timeframe, things can get even more hectic. Before you do anything else, recognize that this is now a doubly joyous time in your life, and remember that both events deserve to be celebrated and embraced.
To ensure everything goes off without a hitch, there are some adjustments you may have to make. Here, wedding planners share their step-by-step suggestions to help you streamline the process.
While it might feel like all of your plans have been derailed, remember that life often brings unexpected surprises—this is just one of them. Of course, you'll have to make a few changes and alterations, but the end result will be the same: You'll still have beautiful memories of a very special day to cherish forever. What's even more special is that it will no longer just be the two of you up there on the big day. Your little one will be a part of the ceremony, too.
Assess your timeline.
If you want to postpone or move up the date of the wedding, but have already booked the venue, Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design suggests reaching out to your sales coordinator immediately. "Many venues will allow you to move the date without penalty, but double check the contract you signed first," she says. "It might not be realistic to move the date earlier, so consider a later date, especially if you would prefer to focus on your pregnancy and not wedding stress." If you do decide to postpone your wedding date, don't forget to reach out to all the other vendors you hired. Some might be open to moving the date so long as it's available, but others may be less accommodating. If your save-the-date cards have already gone out, be sure to reach out to each and every guest in an effective way. Rothweiler recommends picking up the phone and calling guests instead of sending emails or Facebook messages.
Decide whether to embrace or hide your bump.
Just because you're a pregnant bride doesn't mean the world has to know. It's completely up to you whether or not you want to keep your news a secret. This is especially convenient if your wedding is in the next two or three months. If your date is more than four months out, however, it might be difficult to keep everything under wraps. "If you decide to keep the pregnancy a secret, be sure to let your VIPs know so that they can be on the lookout for your best wishes and ensure that you're getting extra rest and food, especially if you're in your first trimester," says Amy Nichols, wedding planner and owner of Amy Nichols Special Events. "At a minimum, tell your immediate families, venue, and planner so they can discreetly take care of you should anything arise."
Consider hiring help.
If there's one thing you should consider saving room in your budget for, it's help. "An expecting mother should be able to sit back and enjoy her pregnancy while a wedding professional does all the heavy lifting," says Kisha Barner, wedding planner and founder of K. Barner Events. "If you do not have a wedding planner, come up with a timeline of what you have to accomplish and when it needs to be done by." She recommends focusing most on the time-consuming tasks ahead of time.
Make alterations on your wedding dress.
If you've already found the wedding dress of your dreams, know that it might need significant alterations to accommodate your growing belly. Nichols suggests first contacting your dress designer or seamstress to find out if your current dress can be altered. "A-line and empire style dresses are most forgiving if you're starting to sport a bit of a bump," she says. "If you have selected a very body-conscious dress or something like a mermaid or trumpet style, however, you might need to make a different selection."
Be prepared to make menu adjustments.
While you already know you won't be enjoying a glass of champagne during your wedding toast, you might not be aware of some other foods and beverages that are now off the table. "Try not to go too heavy on the seafood, because you're not supposed to have a ton of that during your pregnancy," says Barner. "Instead of springing for the sushi or raw bar that you can't really partake in, select something else." Additionally, it's worth speaking with your bartenders about designing some fun mocktails that you can enjoy.
Lean on your fiancé, family, and friends.
They're there to help you in times of need, so let them. "Pregnancy can soak up your extra time, so avoid falling behind with wedding planning by delegating tasks to friends and family," says Lindsey Sachs, a wedding planner and owner of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs. This includes your soon-to-be spouse, too. "Whether he's super excited about helping, or wants no parts of it, he has to understand that you're both getting married and you're both having a baby," says Barnes. "Having his support will help in every way."
Take time for you.
"Just as you'd schedule time for doctor's visits, work, and social commitments, schedule time for you," says Sachs. "This may include a nap, time for healthy meal prep and grocery shopping, or time to take your favorite prenatal yoga class." Soak up this special time in your life.