Today’s expectant brides and pregnant wedding guests want fashion-forward alternatives that offer the security of comfort and fit throughout pregnancy and even after baby.

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Deirdre Wall, an actress in Brooklyn, N.Y., was eight months pregnant when she got married in New Hampshire last summer. While planning for the wedding, even amid impending motherhood, she found the task of dress shopping the most worrisome.

“There is a real hole in the market for cool maternity bridal dresses,” Wall says. “I looked really hard throughout New York and couldn’t find a place to try one on that would also let me return.”

Wall finally ordered two gowns from Tiffany Rose, a British-based designer of special-occasion maternity dresses. The best part was that Wall could try them at home and send one back.

“Both dresses are beautiful yet stretchy, and I felt like I could gain 30 pounds next month if I wanted to,” she says. “I’m relieved that I have options.”

Wedding-dress shopping is a rite of passage for any bride. But throw in the physical demands of pregnancy — a rapidly expanding middle, growing bra size and disappearing waistline — and the process becomes all the more complex: How will it look a few months, and pounds, down the road? The same goes for pregnant wedding guests and bridesmaids who want to look and feel great while on their feet all night.

Though traditional maternity labels have long offered empire-waist gowns with endless ruching and layers of stretch jersey, for a growing number of stylish women, these dresses feel matronly and passé. Women today want fashion-forward alternatives that offer comfort and fit throughout pregnancy and even after baby.

Ariane Goldman founded maternity-minded label Hatch in 2011 after wearing a strapless dress she designed for a wedding while pregnant with her first daughter.

“I got stopped constantly by people saying how beautiful and comfortable I looked, but also how formal and appropriate,” says Goldman.”

New Yorker Lindsey Evans chose the Fete gown by Hatch, a black sateen maxi style with a crisscross top, for a summer wedding in France. She was just over 30 weeks pregnant.

“The fabric felt really expensive, and it didn’t look like a bag hanging over me,” says Evans. She then wore the gown to a friend’s wedding in Mexico at the end of the year, long after her baby arrived.