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Category Archives: Mother of the Bride/Groom

Hey There, Mother of the Bride & Groom

Hey there, Mama! Suzanne here. Congratulations on reaching yet another milestone in your never-ending journey as a Mother. You’ve survived the newborn stage, the terrible two’s, teenage rebellion that left you with a facial tic and those anxiety inducing college years. Now it’s time to celebrate the next chapter in your baby’s life….marriage.

As you’re picturing how beautiful your daughter will look or how handsome your son will be in a tuxedo, have you given a thought to what you’ll be wearing? Yeah. I didn’t think so. And, really….haven’t you endured enough already? Now your child has tasked you with finding a gown that makes your figure look fabulous, will fit in aesthetically with the bridal party, won’t make you look matronly, or show up their new mother-in-law. Oh, and of course you’re going to want that dress to camouflage the flaws, accentuate your assets and hopefully not require you to be trussed up in Spanx like a mummy. Easy, right? No problem. (Cue panic attack)

BUT, all is not lost. I’m here to help you. How? Because I AM you. I am firmly ensconced in middle age, possess a love of carbs, a loathing for kale and have a deep desire not to look like a swamp witch. I know I can help you find the perfect look with a little time, an open mind and some honest, constructive feedback. 

Where do we start? Well, first I need you to know that in order to have as many choices as possible, you need to start your search at least 3-4 months before the wedding. Why? Because special order gowns take time to produce, especially in a range of colors and sizes. Sure, you could buy something off the rack and that’s definitely an option for many. But do you want to be stuck with only one color choice and a sample that’s battle worn from it’s time with the public? Wouldn’t it be nicer to have a brand new dress in a color you chose instead of being forced to take the clearance rack refugees? Give yourself the gift of time and choice….visit sooner rather than later.

Beautiful mother of the bride dress in a slate blue color with beaded short sleeves, V-neck line, fitted bodice into dropped waste slim a-line.
MGNY by Madeline Gardner

And, what about those colors? Are there specific colors for specific seasons? Can you wear a Dusty Rose in January? Short answer….yes. There really isn’t a specific seasonality to Mother’s dresses. I always advise having a conversation with the Bride before you start looking because there may be colors she would prefer you not wear. Or, maybe she wants you in something that compliments the bridal party. Find out ahead of time and make your search less stressful. Once you get the “rules of engagement” for your dress search, you’re better prepared to start this quest. Right now, the most popular colors for Mother’s dresses are Black, Navy, Silver and Charcoal Gray. Maybe those colors work for you…maybe they don’t. You’re not going to really know until you’re IN a gown. 

Mother of the bride dress from Mon Cheri Montage line with an off the shoulder neck line, three-quarter inch sleeves and all over lace appliqué, shown in black comes in delphinium as well
Montage by Mon Cheri

But, what if I don’t know what’s going to look good on me? No worries….that’s why I’m here. I will give you honest, helpful feedback and suggestions on how to make that dress sit up and call you “mama”. Recently, I had a customer swear there was only a specific silhouette she could wear and that “everything else” would call attention to things she would rather camouflage. After a little nudge, she wound up choosing an amazing MGNY off the shoulder, column dress (style #71616) that actually minimized her concerns.

MGNY 71616

Exploring other options gave her the cougar vibe she deserved to be rocking as a Mother of the Bride rather than that “Granny dress” she thought she’d be trapped in. She was thrilled with her choice and I was happy to be there to lend an assist.

Navy mother of the bride dress with a boat neckline, beaded illusion top and three-quarter inch sleeves and a layered chiffon skirt
Navy is a popular color for Mothers!

The last obstacle in the formal wear version of “Where’s Waldo?” is the effect of weight loss on your gown. This is a very common inquiry, especially after last year found us all scrounging  in our pantries and locked out of our gyms (and, if you’re like me, ignoring the elliptical in the basement because the solution to stress is a sleeve of Oreos). Do not wait until you are at goal weight to order a gown, you will most likely be too late to get anything you really want. You can order your gown and then focus on your weight loss plans. Most seamstresses will be happy to take a gown in to accommodate your moderate weight loss for the wedding. 

Mother of the bride dress by MGNY designer Madeline Gardner with a beaded V-neck bodice and a chiffon skirt with a slit
Silver Mother dresses match most every color pallet

Hopefully, my little tutorial has pulled you off the proverbial ledge and inspired you to start looking for your perfect dress. Yes, it can be an intimidating task, but so was trying to survive on 4 hours of sleep with a colicky baby and a toddler that thought eating chalk was fun.

We’re here to support you at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo and help you find the perfect dress for this next big memory in the making. There is no appointment necessary for mother dress shopping, so head on over. I look forward to seeing that smile on your face when you find your perfect dress!

Suzanne Ardite is the manager of the mother department at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo. With over 25 years in the bridal attire industry – and spanning a number of states – her experience is vast and her compassion deep. There isn’t much she hasn’t seen or heard in this business! She is a valuable asset to our company and our customers and, knowing how stressful and important weddings are, she is in constant communication with our mothers. Suzanne lives in Solebury with her husband Frank and two children Kaitlyn (a 2021 grad of New Hope-Solebury High School!) and Francis, and is very active in the community theater. If you can’t tell from this blog, she has an outstanding wit as well that puts our moms at ease and keeps all of us in good spirits!

For The Mothers: How Do You Start Your Search?

And all of a sudden, we find ourselves Mothers of the Bride and Groom. Our babies aren’t babies anymore, but what exactly does that mean for us? Your role, place, and/or self confidence can really be put to the test during wedding planning, culminating with your introduction announcement at the start of the reception. When you imagine walking in to the excitement and applause, what are you wearing? How do you even start?

“I don’t want to look like a Mother of the Bride.” So we’ve heard…

“I’m Mother of the Groom, I’m supposed to wear beige and be quiet.” We’ve heard that, too.

“I don’t like my ___(neck/arms/belly/shape/rear/thighs/hips)___”… The list is endless.

Being the mother of the bride or groom certainly is strange territory. You want to look beautiful without going too far, appropriate but not frumpy, sexy but not too sexy . If you are the mother of the groom, you may also worry because you don’t want to outdo the mother of the bride. There may be another layer in there of step-mother.

There is still the etiquette of allowing the mother of the bride to choose her dress first. Usually she will send a picture of her dress to the mother of the groom which allows her to choose her dress and her color without worry. Both mothers should be aware of the chosen bridesmaids color and avoid wearing it.

Choosing the dress you wear for your daughter or son’s wedding should be a thoughtful process. You will want to consider style for the formality of the event, the season, location, and any color specifications made by the couple. Then the shape and silhouette of your dress.

As for style, consider first the formality of the wedding. A formal wedding requires a more formal dress and what makes a dress more formal than another? We can start with a fabric.

Satin and silk both lend a very formal look to any shape dress. If you choose a satin dress, it may have beading or embellishments, or it may be plain. Silk dresses do not often have embellishments, nor do they need them. Dresses with lace and lace overlays can work perfectly for this type of affair, but make sure this doesn’t compete with the bride’s dress. Beaded dresses are perfect for formal affairs so if you like to sparkle, this is the time!

A navy colored full length satin dress with spaghetti straps, V-neck line, and banded waist
A satin dress in navy

A semi formal affair allows for something like a flowy chiffon, perhaps with a flutter sleeve or off the shoulder straps, taking into account the season of course. If the wedding is in the early afternoon, a cocktail length dress may be perfectly appropriate. Some dresses come with pretty matching jackets or a matching wrap that works beautifully for the wedding ceremony. There are chic pantsuits that are perfect for a semi formal event!

A three-piece women's pants suit in the color wine on a model including chiffon pants, beaded tank top, and matching chiffon long sleeve buttonless jacket
MGNY pant suit in wine with removable jacket

Determining the season/location is more obvious, a summer wedding calls for a different dress than a winter wedding. A barn wedding is different from the grand ballroom. The beach wedding dress isn’t for the snowy mountain couple.

In our experience with color, mothers tend to gravitate to darker or jewel tones; navy and plum are very popular, while sapphire, wine, and emerald are also lovely choices. Depending on the colors chosen by the couple, or the locale/season, again your options may not include darker colors.

For lighter colors that are very flattering, consider wedgewood, mink, amethyst, wisteria, and English rose. These colors are very soft and do not go into the pastels, these blend beautifully. Silver, from light grey to dark metal, there is a silver shade that goes with every color pallet.

Now the shape. Let’s start with the easiest silhouette which is A-line.

A mothers dress in an A-line shape with a v-neck, three-quarter beaded sleeves in the color navy and fabric chiffon
A-line shape dress by MGNY in navy

The A-line shaped dress looks flattering on everybody and that means every body. This dress has a clearly defined waist and the skirt forms the shape of the letter A. some A-line skirt have lining or crinoline underneath which may give them a little more volume, if you don’t like all the volume you can either take some out or find a dress without to get it what we call a slim A-line. A number of dresses are made in this shape so you will have no problem finding a great selection. It is also a great one for mothers to start when unsure.

If you have curves, do not shy away from a good fit and flare dress.

A lease and tulle fit and flare dress with off the shoulder sleeves, beaded lace bodice, and flared tulle skirt with horse hair hem in a light charcoal colorcolor
A lace and tulle fit & flare dress

A well-made dress will show curves off beautifully. You may not like the feel of the tightness around the hips, or you may feel very restricted in movement, but at least give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at how great you look and how great you feel!

If curves do not describe you, you may like what is called a sheath dress.

A sheath dress with a beaded bodice, matching beaded short sleeves, and a chiffon skirt in the color cornflower blue
Beaded and chiffon sheath dress

A sheath is a straight cut that is very flattering and classic. These dresses look especially good on petite (under 5’3″) mothers because it is an elongating shape without a defined waist.

Once you find your preferred shape, you can then try different necklines, like V-neck, scoop neck, high neck, etc. and sleeves as well. Many mother dresses now come with a set of detachable sleeves should you prefer that look, or if you aren’t sure about the weather on the wedding day. Perhaps you would want sleeves for the ceremony and not for the reception. It is a great option to have these.

Above all, the dress you choose needs to make you feel good inside. You want to be confident, comfortable, and proud. This is a big day for you and your family and you deserve to enjoy every moment.

We are always available to answer any of your questions about dresses for mothers! Please call or text us at 215-491-8500 and we will be happy to assist!

About the author: Wendy Ianieri is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in its eighth year in business. In that time the store has grown from a small bridal boutique to a full-service bridal store serving not only Bucks County, PA but the surrounding counties and even border states. With the customer experience in mind, Ms. Ianieri steers the company by offering the best designers and wedding attire while creating a caring, family atmosphere. A life-long Bucks County native, she currently resides in Warrington with her husband and co-founder/co-owner Franco Salerno, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.

Mother of the Bride/Groom Dress Shopping

Mother of the bride/groom dresses are coming back!

For a number of reasons we stopped selling mother dresses for a few years, but with changes to the retail sector, as well as to the entire wedding industry, we need to change as well.

Many major, well-known retailers are closing locations, filing Chapter 11, or going to an online platform and now moms ask us daily where to go for a dress.

Moms want and deserve to feel special during this exciting time! She watches her daughter try on dresses and say yes, why should she have a dress show up on her doorstep in a bag? Trying on at home alone, with her questions going unanswered? We think moms deserve better than that…

So excited to announce our new Mothers line arriving this fall: MGNY by Madeline Gardner! She is the designer of the Morilee brand of wedding dresses, known for fit, style, and class. Because we have carried Morilee for over a year, we can attest to all of those, as well as quality, shipping, and delivery dates.

Every mom says “I am the mother of the bride (groom), but I don’t want to look like one.” We all understand – that means she doesn’t want to look old, out of style, or the dreaded ‘frumpy’. With MGNY, you won’t!

 

Off the shoulder ftted dress

This line has everything our moms want:

  • youthful, yet appropriate styles
  • great fit, solid construction
  • wide choice of quality fabrics
  • colors to blend beautifully with the party
  • fast shipping times

Perfect for dancing

Some good tips to consider when starting your search are:

  • Ask the couple if they have a preference on what you wear.
  • Let the mother of the bride choose her gown first.  Unless this has been mutually agreed otherwise, she goes first.
  • Consider venue, location, time of day, and probable temperature, as well as any religious or cultural customs.
  • Choose a color that complements the color palette of the wedding.
  • Start looking about 6-9 months before to get an idea of what styles you like.
  • Order your gown 5-6 months in advance.  Some gowns can take 3-4 months to arrive.
Mother of the bride/groom dresses are back at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo! MGNY by Madelyn Gardner is arriving this fall!
Beautiful in emerald green

Some no-no’s to keep in mind:

Do not attempt to out-do the bride or the other mother. Wear what you feel best in while complementing them and the wedding party.

Do not wear white, ivory, the same color as the other mother, or the bridesmaids.  Unless directed otherwise (perhaps a black-tie or holiday affair), it is also advisable to avoid black and red.

Do not pick a size based on what you “intend” to be at the wedding.  Buy your gown in the size you are and have it taken in, if necessary.  You’ll be happy you did either way.

Perfect for a black tie or holiday reception

Our introductory trunk show for MGNY is already scheduled for October 23-25, 2020! If your mom or MIL is going to need a dress, this is the show for her!

So excited to have this new line to offer moms and don’t worry, you wont look like a “mother of the bride”…