27th July 2018
Etiquette 101: Choosing a dress for the mother of the bride
Stick to these simple points and avoid any unnecessary drama.
1. The mother of the bride buys first
It’s customary for the mother of the bride to buy her outfit first, which will subtly dictate what colours the mother of the groom should steer clear of. Her choice of outfit – be it long, short, with sleeves or with a coat – will also need to be reflected by the mother of the groom, however, it’s always recommended for both parties to be flexible to avoid one of the mothers wearing an outfit they’re REALLY not comfortable in.
2. She should then advise the mother of the groom
Traditionally, and according to old school etiquette, the mother of the bride should then inform the mother of the groom about her choice of outfit and colour, to avoid any clashes on the day, and to give the mother of the groom enough time to purchase her own outfit. While the conversation might sound awkward, it’s actually pretty polite, and somewhat even expected.
3. Her choice of colour should be mindful of her daughter’s wishes
Most would say that for the mother of the bride to wear cream or a white-based colour is very much a no-no, as is wearing black (why so dull for such a happy occasion?) and red (it’s too loud and attempts to steal attention off the bride). However, all the above options might be perfectly fine for the bride, which is why the best way to determine a colour is to either go shopping with your daughter, or to keep her in the loop about your choice of colour and dress, to make sure that she’s happy with the choice too.
4. She doesn’t have to wear a dress if she doesn’t want to, but…
Technically, there’s no rule which says that the mother of the bride CANNOT wear a smart trouser suit, however, wearing a dress on a smart occasion such as your daughter’s wedding is always considered to be more elegant for a woman. If dresses are absolutely not your thing, consider a trouser suit with wide-leg trousers which look as though you might be wearing a skirt, in a soft and floaty fabric which is the last word in elegance.
5. Don’t leave dress shopping to the last minute
If you’re one to abide by traditional etiquette and will be co-ordinating with the mother of the groom about colours and styles, then shopping for your outfit should not be left to the last minute. If you’re having it tailor made, starting from a year before is never a bad idea, giving both your dress maker and the mother of the groom time to do their own thing. If you’re shopping around, a year before is good too – it’s not the kind of dress you want to buy in a rush, and you should be prudent enough to give the mother of the groom time to do the same.