It’s that milestone moment that most parents expect or even hope for in their child’s life. When your son or daughter tells you “Mum, we’re getting married!”. You are probably delighted (or maybe you’re not!) but once your beaming offspring has been hugged and toasted, your thoughts will inevitably turn to the subject of “the mother of the bride outfit”.
For some that will mean happily and obsessively throwing themselves into a frenzy of magazine-reading, endless discussions with family/friends and, of course, shopping. For others it will mean a sense of dread and procrastination, culminating in a last-minute, desperate purchase that may or may not look fabulous. Whichever camp you fall into, I hope that the following tips will help to ensure that you look and feel wonderful on your child’s wedding day!
- Start by getting your colours done! If you have not had a consultation within the previous 10 years then make a booking with a Style and image consultant asap. A Colour consultation will show you which colours light you up and which ones make you look tired and older. A good consultant will help you to find perfect wedding outfit colours and make-up and show you some beautiful colour combinations too. It’s also a good idea to have a Style consultation as that will teach you your best clothing shapes, hat and hair styles and give you an understanding of your style personality.
- Be mindful of how the wedding photos will look! They will be around for a long time! So, once you have an idea of the colours that suit you, you will then need to take into account the general colour scheme of the wedding. That is, the bride’s dress, bridesmaids, groom and flowers. Obviously you will not dress in the same colours but you will be able to choose something that will harmonise or pleasingly contrast with the chosen theme.
- Find out what the other mother is wearing! You don’t want to clash or be the same! Mothers of the bride should get first choice.
- The style, place and time of day/year of the wedding will inform your choice of outfit. Will it be formal as in a church and hotel reception or informal as in on a beach or city registry office followed by a pub reception? Maybe it will be an Indian wedding or a Jewish one? You will need to find out what is acceptable attire if it is different to what you are used to. Might the weather be hot, cold or unpredictable? (If you might need to remove a jacket make sure you are happy with the look of the outfit without it!) Wearing something appropriate will be important to your physical and psychological comfort!
- Next, decide on whether you wish to wear a hat! If you do decide on one it is often easier to match an outfit to a hat than the other way round. So find that hat first. I personally feel that, unless the wedding is extremely relaxed, you should finish off your outfit with some form of decoration in your hair. It could be a hat, a fascinator or even just a decorative comb, clip or band. Hats are wonderful but can limit how you wear your hair and can result in the very undesirable “hat hair” just as you sit down to the reception dinner. Fascinators can be left on during the reception, so no hat hair there, but they must be carefully chosen to balance with your scale and hair style.
- Outfits. A Mother of the bride/groom outfit will usually take the form of a dress with matching or contrasting jacket or coat. It could equally have a contrasting shrug/bolero or pashmina for the warmer months or climates. Equally, a skirt, top and jacket ensemble can work better for some.
Tips for choosing your outfit as mother of the bride (or groom)
Here are some general style tips which may help you decide:
- If you are curvy, go for more fluid, drapey fabrics like swishy silk chiffon or soft crochet wool and if you are a straight, more boyish shape, go for stiffer fabrics like thick linen and dupion silk. (Do beware of shiny fabrics though, as they will maximise any area that catches the light!!)
- If you are Petite (under 5’3”) try to wear all one colour. The dress and coat ensemble will be great for you. Tall? Go for a different colour jacket and dress/skirt to break you up.
- High-waisted? Avoid tucking anything in. A dress will always be best. Long-bodied? Add a wide belt round your waist.
- Skirt/dress length. The most flattering length is on or around the knee. If you wish to cover up your legs, ankle length should be perfectly acceptable with some pretty, heeled shoes/sandals.
- If you love florals or pattern, just make sure the scale is right for you. Finer scales will need smaller patterns and grander scale ladies will need larger patterns. Same with jewellery and bags.
- The arms issue! If you wish to cover your arms without wearing a jacket etc., do look for those lovely dresses which have a lace or chiffon overlay. They will elegantly cover over your arms without making you too hot.
- Accessories. Nowadays there is no need to be too matchy-matchy! It is ok for your hat not to match your shoes or bag. But in my opinion, the simplest colour and pattern schemes are the most elegant, try not to introduce more than three colours into your outfit, and certainly only one pattern (unless you have a very Creative style personality, in which case, go for it! Think Vivienne Westwood, Helena Bonham Carter!) Do make sure your shoes are comfortable as well as elegant! It will be a long day! Wedges can be a flattering alternative to heels if you are not used to them.
- Finally, hair and make-up. Do start talking to your hairdresser months before the event. Discuss colour and cut and possibly a hair-up style for the day. How will it all fit with wearing a hat or fascinator? If you need to experiment with colour or to grow your hair, you will need time. Once you have your dress and hat, do take them along to a make-up lesson or to one of the cosmetics stands in a department store. They will be only too happy to help you match up a lipstick and work out a perfect eye design. And do think about having your eyebrows shaped at a brow bar. Learn to enhance them with a pencil or eyeshadow. It makes such a difference!
In summary: plan early, do your research, find something which is both flattering and comfortable and which can be used again with different accessories so that you get value out of it. My final tip: waterproof mascara! Good luck!
Bio: Angela Weyers 6 years ago, worn out after a career in Local government and facing empty nest syndrome, I decided to follow my passion for fashion and re-train as a Style and Image consultant with Colour Me Beautiful. I now work from my home studio in West London and I haven’t looked back. I believe that, whether we like it or not, we are very much judged on our appearance. Through my Colour, Style and make-up consultations I love to help men and women to be the best versions of themselves so that they can feel confident about the message they are sending out to the world. I have two children (of marriageable age, fingers crossed!), two dogs, and a big wardrobe! You can contact me via my website www.angelaweyersimage.co.uk or www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk
Photo credit: Outfit John Charles