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Wedding Etiquette / Wedding Tips & Advice

Mother of the Bride – What to Wear?

There are a lot of shoulds and shouldn’ts when it comes to mothers’ of the bride, and the mother of the groom for that matter. Protocol and etiquette dictate quite a number of guidelines that go something like this:

Etiquette schmettiquette

  • The mother of the bride’s dress colour should be one of the wedding palette
  • The mother of the bride should choose her dress before the mother of the groom
  • The mother of the bride / groom should never wear the exact same colour as the bridesmaids
  • The mother of the bride and mother of the groom’s colours should co-ordinate (the mother of the bride should send a swatch of her material to the mother of the groom)
  • If the wedding is formal, the mother of the bride should wear tea-length dresses (floor length)
  • If one is going to wear a hat, both should
  • A day time wedding dictates a short dress
  • Flashy, gaudy colours are considered in bad taste
  • Traditionally avoid dresses in white, ivory or champagne, and black or red

Whether or not you hold any of these rather old-fashioned ideas dear is up to the bride really, and what she wants from her day. If you’re doing the formal thing and want to stick to protocol, then the above guidelines become rather important.

But for most modern brides, a lot of these ideas are for the birds and considered a thing of the past. One could stand in your mother’s shoes for a minute though and remember that, despite it’s being unquestionably your day, the mother of the bride has a rather big dilemma when choosing what to wear, and needs all the guidance and help she can get.

The reason is that despite its being irrefutably your day, the woman people are going to look after you is your mother. They’re going to want to see what you’ll look like in a couple of decades and how well she’s stood the test of time.

So, in a more modern context: yes, black is out. Unless the bride is wearing white and the bridesmaids red, and mother of the bride’s obvious choice of colour is then – you got it – black.

Bottom line is: if the bride has very clear guidelines for both mothers, it helps sets their minds at ease and gives them an idea of what is expected of them.

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