How to Dress as a Mother of the Bride/Groom

by | Jun 25, 2011 | Fashion trends, Formal Dressing | 0 comments

I’m very happy to feature a post written by guest blogger, Missy Tidwell, personal stylist and creator of Styles 2 Love. I got to know Missy last year through a mutual friend when I helped with her stylist training here in Portland. Although miles separate us (Missy lives in Denver, Colorado) it has been fun to keep in touch about styling and bounce business ideas back and forth. I was excited to hear that Missy had started her own blog. I think you will enjoy her perspective. She has an amazing sense of style and is extremely creative in the way she puts things together.

Recently, Missy’s oldest daughter Aubrey got married in Austin, Texas. I asked her to share her thoughts about the search for the perfect Mother of the Bride (MOB) dress. We discussed this last summer when she began looking. Now that I’ve had some experience working with a few MOB or MOG clients myself, it’s fair to say that together we’ve come to the conclusion that designers have not completely kept up in this area. The choice is limited!

When you think of MOB dresses what comes to mind? Dresses with jackets and thick, heavy fabrics that can look matronly. We encourage you to “think outside the box” and steer away from what the industry deems “Mother of the Bride.” Your dress doesn’t necessarily need to come from the formal department. The photos below are results from a Nordstrom MOB dress search. Some women would feel very comfortable in these styles, others not.

Boutiques can have unique pieces. (keep in mind that the return policy is not as generous) Bridal shops are a possibility, but you will see many stereotypical dresses there as well. The most important aspect is that you feel FABULOUS in whatever dress you choose! 

Now, on to Missy’s advice. Her pictures are stunning with a little Texas flair!

As a recent MOB myself I thought I would take a few moments to go over some precious lessons learned. I hope the advice is helpful and will make your journey through this most important event as seamless as possible. 

 Lesson #1: Know your body type and style. I cannot express this enough. When you work alongside a stylist and have her go over what necklines, styles and materials are best suited for you, the results will be in your favor. If you are lucky, you and your daughter will be very similar in style. If not, don’t change just for her. When the style of dress you choose isn’t right for you, it will show!

 Lesson #2:  Picking the right color. I found this to be harder than I thought as I watched my daughter pick out her flower colors and bridesmaids dresses. Are we supposed to match, complement or doing something totally different? There is no perfect answer for this question so as you start shopping for that perfect dress.You may end up with one of the above and have no choice in the matter. My dress happened to complement the colors in the wedding. The only mistake would be wearing white or matching the bridesmaids perfectly. You want to set yourself apart as the “mom”, not trying to be one of the girls or competing with your daughter.

 Lesson #3:  Picking the right formality. This also can be tricky as you consider the time of day of the wedding and the formality of the bridesmaids along with the wedding gown. These days it is unusual to see full length bridesmaids’ dresses. The cocktail length is very popular and can be worn day or evening.  One thing I don’t recommend is a full length gown for you while the bridesmaids are tea length or to the knee. Again, the goal is to complement the wedding party, not draw attention away from it.

 Lesson #4:  Take care of yourself like you do the bride. I can’t tell you how easy it is to neglect yourself as you take care of every little detail for your daughter. As she gets her fittings, you should be too. As she does dry runs of her hair style and make up, you should too. As she shops for just the right shoes, you should too. As her dress is getting pressed and steamed for the big day, yours should too. She needs help and so do you. So do it together. 

 Lesson #5:  Enjoy the day. This is the biggest “party” you have probably ever hosted so enjoy it. Know that once the big day arrives, nothing more can be done, so let it go. You have family and good friends all there to enjoy the day with you so be there in mind AND body and enjoy every minute!

 Here is how our big day turned out. Aubrey’s shoulders are broader than her hips so we kept that in mind when choosing.(note the dress is fuller at the bottom which balances her shoulders) I am hourglass in shape. We both favor a romantic/chic  style so that worked out well as she chose “cowboy/chic” for her wedding theme with light pink bouquets and black and ivory bridesmaids dresses. Shopping for MOB dresses was frustrating to say the least as most department stores were very similar in style with lots of classic taffeta and/or chiffon. I happened to stumble across a designer in Austin that was perfect for my style and body shape so it was just a matter of finding a store here in Denver that carried the same line. 

Looking back, Aubrey and I have no regrets. Her dress was amazing and so perfect for her and I felt so pretty in my dress too. And now that we have our wedding photos to enjoy and cherish forever, it’s just a reminder of what a privilege and honor it is to be a part of this new chapter in our family’s life (with well thought out style and flair, of course!)

Karen’s Note: I think you will all agree –what a gorgeous Bride and Mother of the Bride! Thank you for sharing Missy. Whether you are reaching the MOB stage or it is years away, we’d love to hear what you think.