04/04/2012 12:27 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2012

A Bridal Baby Bump -- A Pregnant Bride's Guide to Shopping for a Dress

When consulting with a pregnant bride, it is our job at Bridal Reflections salon to help them understand that although this may be a stressful period of time in their lives, between planning for a wedding and a baby, this is also a time to be celebrated and not feared. The right consultant will know the necessary questions to ask the expecting bride to make her experience enjoyable and comfortable.

An important question I always ask a pregnant bride is how far along they will be the day of their wedding. Brides who will be marrying during their first trimester will not have as many complications regarding fit and have more options to choose from, considering they would be early on in their pregnancy. Brides in their second or even third trimesters may have many more concerns to take into account.

In the past, brides have often times disclosed to us that they are pregnant and have not told her family and friends. When a bride is coming in for a fitting and does not want her family to know she is expecting, she will usually either call ahead to let the salon know or pull the fitter or bridal consultant aside during the appointment to tell them.

No one can predict one hundred percent how a woman's body will change or how she will carry during her pregnancy; however, at Bridal Reflections, we do our best to help the bride determine the appropriate size to order and tailor a gown precisely to her body. When doing so, we first measure her bust and ask her several questions including how many months along she will be on the wedding day and if and how her weight fluctuates normally. Keep in mind you should never base a woman's current pregnancy on a past pregnancy because every one is unique and different. Next we show the bride the designer's size chart and what size she is falling into at the time of the appointment. Typically a bride should add one inch per month of pregnancy to her measurements. We then physically show the bride what she would be falling into at the time of the wedding and suggest that they order one size larger.

It is important to understand what type of look a bride wants to portray on her wedding day. Does she want to hide her baby bump or show it off?

For a bride who wants to hide her baby bump, I would recommend going for an empire waist gown. This style will be fitted around the bust and flowing from the bust-line down. Empire styles are typically made of lighter fabrics such as chiffon, organza, or georgette. An Empire-waist style allows for the bride to feel comfortable and not constricted. A V-shaped neckline will elongate the neck and make for a more slim appearance.

For the bride who wants to show off her baby bump, it is key to find a professional seamstress who is experienced and can do proper alterations. A fitted dress will help to accentuate her curves. Many brides go for a trumpet or mermaid style gown, which is fitted up top and flows out at the thigh or lower calf. But when choosing styles such as these, it is imperative that a bride schedule a fitting(s) the final week before the wedding to ensure a perfect fit. This is something we recommend to every bride, especially a pregnant bride who may experience more shifts in weight.

When choosing from this range of styles and fabrics, a bride should also take into consideration her own comfort in addition to the time of year the wedding is taking place. For instance, if she plans on getting married during a warmer season, she should opt for lighter fabrics. It is also recommended that a pregnant bride wear very comfortable shoes or flats.

In some cases, the brides aren't only worrying about their own fitting but about a pregnant bridesmaid's as well. We once had a bridesmaid visit Bridal Reflections who was actively trying to get pregnant but was not actually pregnant yet. She chose to order a size that would accommodate a pregnancy in the seventh month to be safe. If she happens to be less than seven months pregnant the day of the wedding, we can always tailor and alter the dress to her actual size.

In the event that a bride puts on more weight than anticipated, there is always a solution! Our in-house seamstresses have the ability to add several customizations such as adding a side seam into the dress or perhaps a corset back. We want the bride to feel comfortable and beautiful during this wonderful time, and it starts with the dress!

We have had brides that will either move the date closer or postpone it. Some brides prefer to have the wedding sooner rather than later, this way they aren't showing too much and have more of a selection to choose from rather than just Empire-waist styles. Brides that decide to postpone the wedding until after the baby is born will find some way to incorporate the baby into the ceremony, which is always nice. We have had some brides that plan to make the baby their flower girl or ring bearer and others who choose to have a combined christening and wedding.

If you are a pregnant bride, remember to have fun with this as well! A creative way to celebrate both your pregnancy and your wedding is to reveal the sex of the baby, if you feel so inclined, through the color inside the wedding cake. Cutting the cake reveals either pink or blue filling, providing an element of surprise for guests along with even more excitement!

No matter what style a bride decides to go with, one thing is for sure -- a pregnant bride will be glowing extra bright on her wedding day!

Enjoy your special day!

Bridal Reflections is New York's premiere bridal salon that caters to worldwide clientele seeking the foremost American and international designers. With three locations, on Long Island's North and South shores and on Manhattan's prominent Fifth Avenue, this 39 year old family-owned and operated business is the salon of choice for the most discerning brides-to-be from around the globe.

Follow Bridal Reflections on facebook and Twitter: