Etiquette + Advice

Choosing your dress as Mother of Bride

It’s exciting to be the Mother of the Bride, you’re excited that your little girl will be walking down the aisle to embark on the journey of marriage. You want to look good at your daughter’s wedding and you don’t want to humiliate her in front of her friend’s and the groom’s relatives. Worse off, with this social media era, you don’t want to trend as the mother of the bride with the funny dress! Here are a few tips which may help you in choosing a dress for the mother of the bride.

Don’t Procrastinate

Dresses for weddings don’t change drastically as the years go by, they just come with different designs. As the mother of the bride, you’ll need something appropriate for the time of year. For you to get the ideal dress as the mother of the bride, you need time to shop around for the ideal dress. You can shop around in bridal stores, department stores, and boutiques. Finding the dress earlier will also give you enough time to try different styles and colours and find out what looks best on you. Remember you’ll be on display at the wedding, so you have to look your absolute best.

Colour is important

The mother of the bride’s dress has to blend with the bride’s chosen colours. You can use the bridesmaid’s dresses as a palette, for example, if the bridesmaid’s dresses are green, you can’t choose a pink dress, instead, a different shade of green or even a dress in a complementary shade of blue would be a better choice. Avoid colours like white, ivory, black, red, or anything too bright or overdone. You want to look decent and elegant as the mother of the bride.

Black is slowly becoming fashionable but in some cultures, black is still associated with darkness and evil and some might mistakenly link your black dress to ill will towards the wedding- just saying.

Make the Shopping Fun

If the bride-to-be has time, go with her for dress shopping or you can go with your other daughter or daughter in law, (someone young who’s in tune with the trends) to help you choose. Go to lunch or dinner. Make a day (or two) of it. If you’re hitting a lot of shops and you fear you won’t remember where you saw which dress, take a notebook along and write down a description of each dress alongside the name and address of the store. Knowing that you tried on the perfect dress somewhere — but can’t remember where — is enough to make you decide to wear shorts and flip-flops to the reception.

If you know anyone who has recently played the role of mother of the bride, ask her about her dress shopping experience. She might be able to steer you in the right direction — or away from a less-than-terrific shop — and save you some time in the process.

Take a friend along for the ride so that you can also get an honest assessment of how the dress looks on you from someone who doesn’t stand to make a commission from the sale. You’ll want someone to tell you if the dress you love from the front is less than flattering from the rear, and you’ll also want a truthful opinion of the style and colour, so make sure your shopping companion is an honest woman.

Set a Dress Budget

Maybe you walk into the first dress shop on your list and you find it — the dress, the one you were imagining, the one that makes you look twenty pounds slimmer and ten years younger. One problem: it costs twice as much as you wanted to spend. Oh, but it’s worth it, isn’t it? You are the mother of the bride, and you do have to look your best.

This is very true, but you don’t have to spend way too much to look great. Know what you’re willing to spend before you walk through the door of a dress shop, and stick with that figure. Spending a little more when you find the perfect dress is all right, but blowing your budget entirely isn’t wise unless it’s a dress that you really, truly can wear again and again and again. But before you make yourself that promise (the same promise made by one-time dress-wearers all over the world, by the way), ask yourself where you’ll wear it.

If there’s another wedding coming up in your family, chances are you’ll end up buying a new dress for that event (because your kids don’t want you wearing the same dress to both weddings). If it’s a very formal dress, and you’re planning on wearing it to the many formal events you’ll be attending in the next year, make sure you won’t be seeing the same crowd at those gatherings, or they’ll wonder whether you wear that dress to bed, too.

If you’ll be attending several weddings and several formal events (and you’re 100 percent positive that this dress isn’t going to scream “mother of the bride approaching!” and you won’t be seeing the same people at each affair), then perhaps it’s wise to invest a little more in a dress. Otherwise, resign yourself to the fact that you will most likely wear this dress once, and don’t go completely overboard price-wise. Also, remember that you also have to give the wedding couple a gift so if you overspend, you might dent your pocket! Remember, there’s life after the wedding.

Tailors versus Bridal Shops

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in a shop, or if you have found exactly what you want but you’re not willing to pay the bridal shop’s prices, you might look into hiring a tailor to create your one-of-a-kind mother of the bride dress. Still unsure about handing over the duties to one woman? The dress shop at least has other dresses on the premises in case disaster strikes. Is dealing with one safer than the other? Not really. There are pros and cons to tailors and dress shops.

Ask anyone who knows a great tailor: She’s worth every cent she’ll charge you for her labor if you just can’t buy clothes off the rack or if you can’t find anything suitable — as long as the two of you can communicate effectively. This means that you have to be willing to spell out exactly what you want without being overly demanding and unrealistic. She’ll tell you if she’s not capable of producing the dress you’re asking for in the time frame you’re giving her, but it may well be that no one (at least no human) can whip up a hand-beaded, full-length gown in a week.

A good tailor usually has her hands full — you’re probably not her one and only client — and she only has the one set of hands and a given number of hours in any one day to work with. Give your tailor a call at least six to eight months before the wedding, or even sooner if you know she’s in high demand.

The advantage to patronizing a dress shop, of course, is that you can try on the dresses and get an idea of how each one looks before you buy one (no such luck with a tailor). Most bridal shops and high-end dress shops have tailors who will make sure that your dress fits as it should. You’ll pay extra for this service, of course. The disadvantage of buying off the rack is that the dresses in these shops can be very expensive, and you’re limited to their selection.

Keep the mother of the groom in the loop

You’re supposed to call the groom’s mom and let her in on all of the exciting news of your dress-shopping extravaganza so that she can choose her dress…and so that she doesn’t choose the same dress. (Horrors!) This is another good reason for you to get started early because tradition states that the groom’s mother has to wait for you to make your selection before she can make hers. She’ll start getting pretty irritated if you’ve put off the dress shopping until three weeks before the wedding. That irritation might just spill over into an ugly mother of the bride-versus-mother of the groom confrontation, which can be avoided altogether if you simply get on the ball and pick out your dress at least two months before the ceremony.

Wishing you all the best in choosing the dress for your daughter’s wedding! Hopefully, the above tips will be of help.

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