I grew up in a very leafy, very dull village on the outskirts of Guildford. I suppose, in retrospect, I had the kind of childhood we all feel wistful for. At 10 we roamed freely on bikes, climbed trees, took ponies up to Aldershot’s military ranges and learned to dive through hoops into our cousins’ swimming pool. The summers of ‘75 & ‘76 were scorching, baking the clay soil into a Death Valley landscape. There were hose pipe bans, the nights were stifling and, whilst I was allowed freedom during the day, bedtimes were still militarily obeyed.
The British rarity of nights that were too hot and bright to sleep meant hours of languid wakefulness and eternal reading. One white hot night the sound of a violent argument had me virtually suspended out of my bedroom window as I strained to follow the altercation. My next door neighbour, purple in the face and landing punches, was hurling abuse at his teenage son. I was discovered by my Mum and hurried back into bed but not before I learned that the teenage son had got his girlfriend ‘into trouble.’
It was the theoretical summer of Anarchy in the UK; the suburbs were stirring, but it was still the ’70s. The speed that the poor boy and his pregnant girlfriend were rushed down the aisle, her pale blue dress marking her out as a ‘non virgin’ was unbelievable, followed by a quick exit to Australia as not to bring shame on the family. Extraordinary behaviour and a cautionary tale about ‘going too far.’ Or rather, a pretty effective lesson in being bloody careful with your contraception. The blue dress was ghastly…
For those of you that think I am as old as the hills this will seem like ancient history but for me it has taken one generation to see a complete volte-face with regards to pregnancy and weddings.
Referring to my article for Love My Dress, pregnancy, before or during wedding planning, is another thing there is no need to apologise for. Nobody is judging. Mercifully no one is getting a back garden beating and being sent into exile. As much as I could romanticise the long hot summer of 76, scented with Ambre Solaire and sountracked by bad girl punk, the morals and attitudes were Victorian, misplaced and misogynistic.
However, and this is a purely practical consideration, pregnancy can play havoc with your wedding planning!
In my experience there are a three different pregnancy scenarios;
- Unexpected pregnancy. I have often joked with clients there is nothing as good for fertility as handing over a sizeable, non-refundable deposit for an unforgiving wedding dress. Or, I expect, for a booking for a barn, palazzo or tipi
- Brides that are actively trying to get pregnant either naturally or with fertility treatment.
- Brides that are planning a wedding knowing that they are pregnant and plan to marry after giving birth.