In August 2016, in the middle of wedding season, and the day before a wedding, I stood in disbelief as the little plastic pregnancy test in my hand read 'pregnant'.
Despite reading the same results from two more tests part of me still wouldn't believe. Most likely it was shock. I don't remember much of the rest of that day but I'm fairly certain I didn't get much done.
Getting pregnant during wedding season left me with some concerns but I was fortunate to have an easy pregnancy. It's something I worried a lot about. We contemplated the best time to have a baby. Is it better to be pregnant during wedding season or during winter? But until you try you can't know how long things will take or how they will go so ultimately we went with when the timing was right for us.
Once over the initial shock of finding out we were expecting and confirmation from the GP we decided to document the journey with monthly photos. Set up near the back window in our tiny kitchen, this is one of the last images before I popped. Had I given it a little more thought I would have chosen a dress with a bit more stretch in it. It was a tight squeeze by the end! Here I am at 36 weeks.
So how did I manage weddings and pregnancy? Getting into shape beforehand was essential to me as I didn't want to suffer through wedding days. I regularly did HIIT sessions and was following a paleo diet for well over a year. And I'm totally convinced that as well as a healthy diet having started prenatal vitamins early combined with extra magnesium supplements via oil spray kept the nausea and sickness at bay. Once pregnant I continued to exercise and eat well right through to the end. Though, exercise became less intense as the weeks passed. Continuing with HIIT helped with the heavy lifting and long days standing that comes with a wedding day. Finding time to eat regularly on a wedding day was the tricky bit. My advice is to pack as many easy, healthy, on-the-go snacks as possible and find moments throughout the day where you can sneak some food and always bring more water than you think you need. Dehydration and hunger is worse when working on your feet all day which can cause swelling, nausea, or extra exhaustion. Towards the last few weddings I also made sure not to do much heavy lifting and to sit when possible. Don't be afraid to ask for help moving furniture or your heavy camera bag up big flights of stairs. Your weddings won't suffer from taking it a little easier.
Having a baby due in April meant that my wedding season was over (or hadn't fully started yet) before the arrival and I could put my feet up in the last few months. I only had 2 weddings in 2017 before Valentine arrived and only on two weddings towards the end did I bring a second photographer or assistant. Trust yourself to know if you'll need help. I knew my pregnancy was going well and I was feeling mostly fine so could handle a full wedding day. My last wedding was a month before the due date and while I knew I was still feeling ok I felt better putting everyone's mind at ease to have a second photographer there for any emergency that could arise. Don't get me wrong, being pregnant and working a wedding definitely has it's challenges. Those including not being able to bend fully, being extra tired, and dealing with heavy swelling in the legs and feet. But if you're having a good pregnancy it's totally manageable. And the belly is really easy to hide! It wasn't until I was 6 months did anyone take notice that I was pregnant. Don't take the risk of pushing yourself too hard. Pregnancy is a delicate time that requires a lot of looking after oneself.
I can't finish this post without thanking my wonderful female wedding photographer friends who generously passed on all their knowledge and experiences with being pregnant during weddings. I'm constantly surprised by the generosity of all of you for your advice and helpful offers. If I can be of the same use to any photographer reading this story please don't hesitate to get in touch.