I was invited by Karen Cinnamon to write this blog post for Smashing the Glass as an expert with 26 years experience dressing Mothers of the Bride and Groom.
Congratulations your darling son or daughter has announced that he/she is to get married to their soul mate. This is a joyous time, assuming that you approve of the new addition to your family, with all the excitement to come of planning a wedding.
Most mothers like to be involved but depending on the bride and groom your involvement can vary considerably. it can and should be a time of quality time for mother and daughter as you plan and discuss all the aspects of the wedding but it can also be a frustrating time with a lot of biting the tongue to avoid conflict! Couples are now getting married older and tend to know their own minds and may not ask the opinions of parents. Sometimes this can be hurtful. When my own daughter got married I quickly learned that when she sought my opinion is was only OK when I happened to agree with hers. I learned so become very tactful!
We have been in business for 26 years dressing Mothers of the Bride and Groom and Brides and we hear so many stories some very funny and others quite sad and we know it’s hard to please all of the people all of the time!
When it comes to Mum’s outfit what is the etiquette? Let’s assume that the two mothers are speaking to each other and in communication! It is widely accepted that the mother of the bride gets to choose her outfit first. She has first call on colour and style and after she has made her decision the mother of the groom can go out and choose her outfit.
This works well unless the MOB is very laid back and is in no hurry to find her outfit usually because she is trying to loose weight. This puts pressure on the MOG who may then get dispensation from MOB to choose her outfit first.
Given that the average bride and groom are likely to be in their late twenties or early thirties their mums are most probably in an over fifty age group. They may be in business or retired.
Choosing an outfit to wear to the wedding should be a pleasure, something to look forward to but very quickly it can turn into a pressure. It seems that as we get older many of us lose confidence. Mums tend to have been so busy looking after husbands, family and homes while running full time jobs that they very often don’t spend time on themselves. It’s only when a wedding is announced that suddenly the weight which has crept on over the years becomes a huge issue and for the first time for years many women lok at themselves critically in the mirror and are unhappy with who is looking back. Most of us in our fifties and sixties are not the size 8 we were when we were teenagers or the size we were when we got married. That’s life! This may strike a cord with some mothers but there are those too who have beautiful figures and lots of confidence and know exactly what will suit them and what they want to wear. Ironically there are many business women and medics at the top of their fields who in their own environment are super confident but making decisions when dress shopping is just not their thing. Totally out of their comfort zone this group of mothers need a lot of experienced, honest advice and decisions may only be made after a few visits. Be kind on your self and choose a shop or designer who will understand you. We are all different but one thing we all have in common we want to look the very best we can and make our son or daughter proud.
Do your Homework
Before hitting the shops it is advisable, as with everything, to do some homework so that you don’t waste time or make a regrettable purchase. Ask for recommendations from friends who have been mothers of the bride of groom recently whose outfits you have admired. Spend some time on the internet on Pinterest to see what you admire on other people. If you are looking for a “dress and coat” type that in to Google. Be specific with your requests not too generic. Drill down to exactly what you have in mind. It may be “red lace coat with silk dress” and Google will deliver you the results. Of course you may not know what you are looking for and therefore just type in “mother off the bride outfits (and the area you are prepared to travel) and you will get a list of shops. It could be “designer outfits or bespoke or made to measure outfits for mothers of the bride or groom.”
Budget may or may not be important to you. If it is I would advise finding out typical prices before making an appointment.
Does my bum look big in this ?
The first thing most of our clients say is I’m Mother of the Bride/Groom but I don’t want to look like a typical MOB/MOG. The image conjured up by “typical” seems to be of a taffeta clad lady squeezed into a ruched dress with bolero jacket and looking a bit formal and uncomfortable. My own design handwriting is understated and elegant, flattering fluid styles that skirt over the negatives and enhance the positives. Concentrate on and accentuate your good points and disguise the ones that you don’t want others focusing on. This is where made to measure comes into its own. However if you are not going down the bespoke route please remember that off the peg outfits will more than likely need altered. Most people are not a standard size. I have measured thousands of women over 26 years and it never fails to amaze me that we all buy our day clothes off the peg from retailers. No two people are exactly the same, we are so many different shapes and sizes. Mostly we compromise or wear separates very few can wear dresses without some major alteration.
Therefore remember that alterations will add to the cost of your outfit. Fitted styles tend to be smaller on the waist than real people therefore the size you to buy may be determined and limited by waist /tummy size. It could be that it’s hip size that is too small and therefore pushes you up a size or two requiring alterations to the top half. Most mothers want to cover their arms and a lot of off the peg dresses are sleeveless. All things to be considered when deciding whether to buy from a retailer or designer.
On the subject of price I find that a lot of women will spend happily on children and grandchildren and other things but when it comes to spending money on themselves they have to “justify “ it. I hear it’s not that I can’t afford it but I can’t “justify” it.
Everyone has different priorities and different budgets but I do believe that mothers should give themselves a little more self love in the words of L’Oreal “because you’re worth it”.
On the Day
Finally the wedding day has arrived. Time for the big reveal. You should be feeling a million dollars in an outfit that gives you confidence. You should feel comfortable and look relaxed knowing that you look fabulous.
You shouldn’t need to fidget with anything just put your outfit on, know you look the part, and forget about it for the rest of the day. Be ready to enjoy every minute of a day that will go by all too quickly. Be prepared to accept all the compliments graciously.
Another bit of etiquette. If you are the bride’s mother remember you control when the hats come off. The guests don’t take their hats off until the Mother of the Bride removes her hat!
Have the most amazing day. x
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Pinterest – Joyce Young Collections