By: Gabriela Babila
Founder & CEO of Matana Organics
We found out I was expecting five months after our engagement. Although we didn’t plan it out exactly. It also didn’t come as a complete surprise. After our engagement the timing to start a family just felt right and if it happened before or after our wedding it didn’t really matter to us. So, I guess you can say I wasn’t so concerned whether it’d effect wedding planning. I just knew I wanted to become a mother and start a family with my best friend.
Early on we both agreed we didn’t want a huge wedding or to spend the equivalent of a deposit on a house on one night (proud home owners because of that). I always wanted an intimate wedding and was not one of those little girls that dreamt of a “perfect” wedding. This might sound cheesy but I always hoped for a Carrie Bradshaw fairytale ending. Yes, a courthouse wedding ceremony in Manolo Blahnik’s, wearing a label-free dress. The idea of no pressure, no expectations of others or stress of planning sounded like a beautiful way to focus on what we were celebrating—LOVE.
When I told my husband I wanted a courthouse ceremony he wasn’t totally on board—initially. My husband has a big middle eastern family and the typical big Jewish wedding was an expectation his family had for us. Anytime we discussed wedding plans my husband felt so conflicted. The pressure to please his family but also the desire to fulfill my wishes. We both started to realize a small ceremony might be impossible with his family. And often a big guest list means you’ll spend more money (kosher food ain’t cheap!). And to be honest we’re far from traditional and have always done things our way. So, when we found out we were expecting we weren’t just excited to become parents but it made the decision of having a small ceremony a no brainer.
Now that I was pregnant my husband left me in charge of all the planning. From the date, location, guest list, cake, pretty much every detail. His exact words, “if you’re happy then I’m happy” but in all honesty have you ever tried winning an argument with a pregnant woman (near impossible). Plus both of our families were so overjoyed about welcoming a baby they didn’t care how or when we chose to tie the knot.
I knew getting married while expecting might be challenging but having our baby girl along for one of the most special moments of our lives felt special. And if our daughter growing inside of my body isn’t further proof of the commitment we’re making than I don’t know what is. Most wedding planning requires research but when you’re expecting details like when, where and how are influenced largely by your bump. For instance, the second trimester is typically the best time to get married. Why, well for 1 the first trimester is spent enduring uncomfortable symptoms (morning sickness was all day sickness) and secondly it allows you more time to plan without stress. Unless you find out your expecting while planning a wedding. In that case, don’t panic you might just have to change or tweak a few things.
Location, location, location. Living in southern CA makes finding a beautiful venue easy. After all, California is one of the top ranked picturesque states to get married in. But I still couldn’t shake off the idea of having a courthouse ceremony. So, I went on the hunt for the most beautiful city hall or courthouse in southern California. That’s when I came across the Santa Barbara Courthouse. It was the perfect combination of historic and romantic and less than two hours away from us! Traveling when you're pregnant can be exhausting so I suggest organizing your travel plans if you decide to have a destination wedding.
Then came wedding dress shopping. The best advice I can give when It comes to wedding dress shopping while you’re pregnant is to be open minded and not to set such high expectations. Weight gain is a given and that might sound like a bride-to-be’s nightmare but in this scenario it’s out of your control. If you already purchased a dress before becoming pregnant, a trip to your seamstress is a must. When shopping for a dress sizing up is the safest way to go or trying dresses on 2-3 weeks before. I bought my dress 2 weeks before the wedding and while that sounds last minute or stressful it really wasn’t. I window shopped months before and bookmarked a lot of the styles and dresses I loved. The goal was to find a dress that was comfortable, flattering and my style. Just because you’re pregnant does not mean you have to sacrifice on the style of dress you envisioned. The dress I wore was not even a maternity dress nor a wedding gown.
Most importantly, prepare for any of your needs on the big day (have snacks and water handy at all times). You must take care of yourself and your bundle of joy first. Even if it means forgoing the multi-day wedding events that are so popular (big rehearsal, day brunches, etc.). Minimize stress, stay organized, delegate and ask for help if needed and enjoy your beautiful day. At the end of the day it is about you, your partner and your future.