How to Find the Perfect Mother-of-the-Bride Dress

Mother-of-the-bride gowns can look so dowdy. Here’s what to look for to appear youthful and elegant

There’s an old saying: “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” That definitely holds true for this bride’s mom, especially when it comes to her wedding attire.

A Hudson Valley bride asks…
“I really want my mother to be happy with what she chooses to wear for my wedding… but I’m doing too well. She nixes whatever I point out online or in bridal magazines. She says that all the dresses I show her make her look old, dowdy, and very ‘mother-of-the-bride’ — which she is but really doesn’t want to look like! Can you give me some pointers please?”

The Wedding Guru says…
Every mother-of-the-bride that I’ve encountered wants more than anything to look youthful. That means that jackets are out! She might prefer a cleverly tied shawl that suggests a flutter sleeve, or a draped shawl secured in several places to create a shrug. She may also prefer a three-quarter-length sleeve instead of a longer one.

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Suggest fabrics to your mom such as updated lace in all-over designs or in appliqués. Jersey, stretch net, and soft tulle are perceived as younger-looking fabrics. Layers and three-dimensional detailing in fresh colors will get her to smile, too.

Last but not least, I suggest that she shop at a bridal boutique in lieu of online or in a department store. That way, she’s less likely to see the dress she wears being worn by one of the guests. Most of all, be as patient and understanding as you can be. Keep in mind that your wedding is also her special day!

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