I was 10 weeks pregnant when my college roommate asked me to be a bridesmaid in her summer wedding. My first instinct was to cry. Both out of joy for my friend, and also fear for myself. Let's not forget, I was a big, hormonal, hot mess, at this point.
A thousand reasons to say "no" went through my head. How the hell would I manage traveling to a wedding with a two year old and a newborn? Who would watch them while I performed all of my very important bridesmaid duties? And, most importantly, how would I ever conceal my post-pregnancy wobbly bits in an already unflattering bridesmaid's dress? I panicked and felt like I was going to throw-up. Ok, I did a little. Probably from morning sickness, but after a deep breath, I said "yes."
Now, one month post-wedding, four months post-delivery, here are a few gems I learned from my experience.
1. The Dress
Bridesmaid dresses suck. They just do. They make normally fit people feel gigantic, and post-pregnancy women feel like a tractor-trailer trying to park in a small car only spot. If you take anything away from reading this, this should be it: Do not assume you will fit into your pre-baby dress size. BIG MISTAKE. Why? Boobs.
Your boobs will likely be the size of beach balls, though you won't feel like a Baywatch beauty. You can pretty much guarantee that they will triple in size during the ceremony alone, as your milk lets down. It's not pleasant. Order up a size... or four... You'll thank me, and so will your seamstress, when you call her crying that you have a wedding in a month and you can't zip your dress.
Also, full-body Spanx will be your best friend. And, if given the choice, get a dress with straps. A strapless bridesmaid dress will make you a prime target for a Janet Jackson Super Bowl moment. Nipples are for the bachelor party friends, not for the wedding party entrance. A drunken uncle will clearly enjoy it, but the bride's grandma, not so much.
2. Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk
No one has ever faulted a bridesmaid for having too much fun and spilling champagne on her dress (as long as it happens after the professional photos are taken). I've been that girl, at least twice. That being said, I think it would be frowned upon, or at least painfully stared at, if your boobs start leaking as the bride and groom say "I Do." Stuff those cups with as many nursing pads as humanly possible. And if they fail -- distract, distract, distract. Bridesmaid bouquets were created for a reason. This is one of them.
3. Bring Snacks
No really, I'm serious. While everyone is drinking wine and devouring the perfectly crafted hors d'oeuvres, you'll be pumping away in the supply closet or if you're lucky like me, the bridal suite, with a film crew from Bustle buzzing around you. Don't worry, they cut out the film of me pumping, who would want to watch that anyways? No one, absolutely no one.
If your nursing cravings are anything like mine, you'll be ready to gobble a 100 of those bite size, adorable cheeseburgers, or bacon wrapped scallops. Tell your husband to be a love and bring you a plate and a tasty beverage too. It will make the 30 + minutes you sit alone, half-naked, contemplating how you are going to get back into your dress, much more enjoyable. I promise.
High-heeled shoes become "frenemies" after giving birth. Of course they look pretty and treat you well for about five minutes, but those bitches will turn on you quick. Bring flats to change into. It will save your life.
My friend gave her bridal party totes to hold our flats in as part of our bridesmaid gift. Genius.
I swear, your feet will thank you, and the chance of you falling on your face in front of everyone will decrease tremendously. It's a win-win.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
You did just birth a human. Try not to compare yourself to the bridesmaids who are a size zero and eat only chicken with dry greens. Do what I did and pile your plate with tasty treats from every buffet station, get grease on your dress from pasta sauce splatter, and finish off your husband's cake once your plate is licked clean. It will be so worth it, AND you can dance those calories right off.
Don't let the thought of your back rolls stop you from eating, drinking, and being "marry." Get on out there. No one will laugh at you. And if they do, I guarantee it will be directed at your pitiful attempt to "whip it," and of course, "nae nae," not because of how you look in your dress.
I'm so glad I said yes and you will be too!