Here’s a few tips on what Mom should wear on your big day.
Don’t fret! It’s really not that hard. Just use your head and go with whatever you feel most comfortable with. If you are one to follow rules, here’s a few basic etiquette tips to lead the way.
Q. What's the dress-buying protocol for moms?
A. It's customary for the mother of the bride to purchase her dress first. Her choice is usually meant to subtly dictate what the mother of the groom will wear. However, this approach can be a little old-fashioned, not to mention a little unrealistic. There's always some factor that make abiding by tradition a lost cause. My advice is to just play it by ear, and try to be flexible. It's not the competition of the Mom’s. It’s a wedding!
Q. When the mother of the bride buys her dress, is it her duty to then politely "inform" the groom's mother?
A. This is “old school”, but polite. She is expected to notify the mother of the groom (presumably to prevent overdressing, clashing colors, and other fashion faux pas.) And while it's certainly a good idea, it's not a requirement, especially if you're worried about seeming pushy or bossy. That said, the mother of the groom might really appreciate -- and even expect -- a heads up. You can either have your daughter subtly pass the details along, or give her a call yourself. Try to sound as friendly and helpful and non-territorial as possible. Chances are the mother of the groom will want to know more about your dress and how she will fit in the picture. Of course, she might be totally disinterested. If that happens, don't sweat it. You’ve done your duty.
Q. What length dress should the MOB wear, considering the time of the wedding?
A. The length of the gown or dress is a personal choice, even for formal weddings. Long dresses and skirts are fine for any wedding from noon on. The mothers do not have to wear dresses of equal length, although many do, feeling that it creates a more harmonious look, especially in wedding photos. Tea-length or shorter dresses are fine for morning weddings.
Q. What are the color and style restrictions surrounding the mother of the bride's dress?
A. Every wedding has a color scheme, whether it be pastel or primary, subdued or vibrant. Every wedding also has a tone, be it formal, semi-formal, or casual. It is generally considered to be within the standards of good taste to adhere to the chosen color scheme and to the level of formality. Traditionally, avoiding dresses in the white, ivory, and champagne color family (that match the bride's wedding gown), black gowns (that can suggest mourning) and red gowns (or similarly "flashy" shades) is the standard. Though I’ve seen moms in white who look tailored and elegant. I think black is classic, chic, and formal, and know that even red can be done with gorgeous good taste. Before you start shopping, talk to the bride. She may be very sensitive to the color issue or completely indifferent. If she expresses reservation, think about subdued-but-stately colors in the lavender, silver, burgundy, and blue families.
Q. Does the mother of the bride's dress color have to match the bridesmaids?
A. Some will swear by the "rule" that all the dresses must coordinate. Some brides really love that matched look. But there are countless alternatives. If possible, bring in a swatch of the bridesmaids’ gown fabric when you go shopping, or have a description of the gown’s color. But mixing and matching can be ultra-stylish, too. What's most important, is that everyone feels comfortable and beautiful.
Q. When it comes to choosing the Mother of the Bride's dress, how much say does the bride have?
A. Definitely consult her on color -- she may have issues with certain shades (white, black, red) or want your dress to complement the bridesmaids' dresses. She may also have ideas about style, length, and formality. Try to respect her wishes -- her opinion should count for a lot, and if she wants long sleeves or if she likes you best in pistachio, what's the harm in obliging? Keep her guidelines in mind while shopping, but the dress you settle on should make you happy, too.
Q. How far in advance should the Mother of the Bride purchase her dress?
A. It's never too early to start shopping. If you must put it off, aim to make a decision no later than one month before the wedding. We know you're going to get around to it eventually -- just be sure to let the groom's mom know she can forge ahead without you and keep the bride informed of your progress. My advice, order your outfit at least two to three months ahead of time, and allow at least two weeks for alterations.
Q. Does the Mother of the Bride have to get dressed up for the wedding, even if fancy isn't her style?
A. If it's an evening wedding, you're going to have to dress up more than usual. You don't want to stick out or appear disrespectful. But this doesn't mean you have to sport sequins and satin or velvet and rhinestones. There are many frill-free formal looks out there. Stick to your guns and you'll find an outfit (pants are okay!) that's unembellished, easy, and elegant -- perfect for your casual style.
Q. Can a young-looking MOB wear a strapless ball gown -- is there such a thing as looking too young or sexy?
A. On one level we think you deserve to wear a fabulously sexy dress, but always consider the bride first. If she's supportive, go for it -- you're both going to sizzle! If your daughter seems concerned about "Mommy" turning heads, not acting her age, and otherwise upstaging her, let her be selfish. But always remember you're not limited to "frumpy" or overly conservative attire at all. It's quite possible to be glamorous without ruffling any feathers. No matter what type of outfit Mom has, get specific advice on which undergarments, shoes, and hose will go best with your outfit
Want to learn more about the Mother of the Bride dress? Give me a call or send me an email.