Someday, your daughter might get married. While your first instincts should rightfully be to shower her with affection, focus on her wants and needs, and prepare her for her future life as a wife (and maybe a mom, too), eventually you will have to think of yourself – and more importantly, what you will wear.
As the mother of the bride, you won’t be in the spotlight with a poufy white dress, but you will receive plenty of attention. After all, this isn’t just a milestone for your daughter; you, too, are deserving of accolades for raising such a confident and competent human being. Your Mother of the bride (MoB) dress should stand out from the rest of the matchy-matchy wedding party – but it shouldn’t be more eye-catching than the bridal gown. The line between being flashy without outshining the bride is difficult for many new MoBs to walk. If you are having trouble finding a dress suitable for your daughter’s wedding, this guide is for you.
Keep the Conversation Flowing
This isn’t your wedding. You should repeat that mantra as often as necessary, so you can remember to consult your daughter whenever you get the urge to make a wedding-related decision for her. Before you go hunting for possible mother of the bride dresses, you should have a clear vision of what your daughter wants for her big day. Does she want an event that is detailed, sophisticated, and formal, or is she looking for a casual, eclectic, and relaxed celebration? What is her color palette? What is the style?
Ideally, you will bring your daughter along on shopping excursions or have her beside you while you peruse online selections. If she can’t accompany you while you shop, you should request examples of what she might want you to wear. Before you make any purchases, you should show your daughter your potential picks and get her approval. You might think she won’t be so picky, but it is better to keep in contact than to make her unhappy with your outfit.
Blend With the Wedding Party Style
You are an important part of the bridal party, but you aren’t a bridesmaid. Thus, you should complement the colors and style of the bridal party, but you shouldn’t try to match your daughter’s friends. It is wise to wait to shop for your MoB dress until after your daughter has her party squared away; then, you can observe the dress style and find something similar that fits your body and maturity.
Often, MoBs feel more comfortable in neutrals or more muted tones. If this sounds like you, you should learn how to coordinate MoB-appropriate hues with the bright colors of your daughter’s bridal party. For example, if the bridesmaids’ dominant dress color is bright pink or coral, you should search for a dress in warm grays or beiges. Alternatively, blues and purples in the bridal party warrant a MoB dress in cool tones, such as navy, plum, or silver. As always, you should verify your color choice with your daughter first.
Coordinate With the Other In-Law
Though cooperation between the mothers-in-law has largely disappeared as young couples plan and pay for their own nuptials, it is good manners to inform the Mother of the groom (MoG) of your daughter’s style preferences. More and more, the MoG is finding her way into the bridal procession, which means she should have a dress that coordinates with the rest of the party, including you. However, like your dress, the MoG dress shouldn’t be close to matching the bridesmaids’. Undoubtedly, the MoG needs your guidance just like you need your daughter’s, and it might be fun to get to know your daughter’s future in-law over a shopping session.
Remember What Not to Wear
This is a modern guide, which means it needs modern style tips. Here are a few definitely-don’ts when it comes to contemporary MoB fashion:
- No nylons. Nobody wears pantyhose anymore; bare legs have been in for decades. If you are worried about your legs looking pale, you can apply some gradual sunless tanner in the weeks before the wedding.
- No boleros. Though the light layer of a bolero might seem functional, the way the shrug cuts you off at mid-chest is incredibly unattractive. Shawls also look fussy and distracting. If you are worried about temperature – or you hate how your arms look – just invest in a long-sleeve dress.
- No padded blazers. Slightly more stylish women might opt for a blazer instead of a bolero, but typically the same issues apply. First, too many older women feel more comfortable with shoulder pads, which cut an odd shape in the 21st century. Second, the blazer-dress combo is a tired look, and you deserve to look fresh and beautiful.