There's so much planning to do before a wedding, and choosing dresses for the wedding party can be one of the biggest challenges. While most of the focus is naturally on the bride's gown and then the bridal party, finding the perfect dress for the bride's mother is just as important as the rest.
The mother of the bride will be mingling with guests, walking down the aisle, sitting in the front row during the ceremony, and sharing one of the first dances after the vows have been exchanged. She will also be making an appearance in many of the most important wedding photos, so it's crucial that her dress isn't only one that coordinates with the bride's gown and the bridal party's dresses, but is also one that she feels comfortable and confident in.
With so many outfits to plan for, one of the most common questions is when to buy the mother of the bride dress. Follow the guide below to learn everything you need to know about coordinating this crucial element of the wedding planning process.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BUY A MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS?
The Mother of the bride's dress should be picked out after the bride picks out her dress but before the bridesmaids. Follow the guidelines below to understand exactly when to buy the mother of the bride dress during your wedding planning process.
While some women will feel comfortable and confident in the first ready-to-wear dress they try on; others will want a little more TLC when choosing their look. If the bride's mother needs a custom dress, start the process at least six to eight months before the wedding. This will leave plenty of time for alterations and the mother of the groom to find a coordinating look once the dress is ready. Keep in mind that this means the bride's gown and bridesmaid's dresses need to be chosen and ready well before the six-to-eight-month mark as the mother of the bride will need to select a coordinating dress before the custom work begins.
If the mother of the bride is set on choosing a dress straight off-the-rack, start the process about two months before the wedding date. The last fitting and any final altercations should take place about two weeks before the wedding.
Whether the bride's mother has opted for a custom or off-the-rack dress, it's crucial to wait until she gets the dress before going accessory shopping. Although it's tempting to start the accessory-buying process while waiting for the dress to be finished, especially if you're on a time crunch, seeing the final style and subtle changes in color can lead to entirely different accessory choices than you may have anticipated without having the actual dress in front of you.
IF THE TIMEFRAME IS SHORT
Working on a short time frame changes a few things about the dress and accessory buying process. If the mother of the bride has found the perfect dress but can't get it in time, check boutique stores that offer a mix of off-the-rack and custom options to find a dress in a similar color and style that can be custom-tailored to come close to the dress of her dreams. Many boutiques also have personal stylists you can work with who are knowledgeable about the various silhouettes, colors, and fabric that each dress comes in. Getting assistance from a professional stylist is the surest way to find the look you have in mind when you're in a pinch for time.
5 TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS
Now that you understand when to buy the mother of the bride dress, it's essential to know how to coordinate it with the mother of the groom's dress while ensuring that her comfort and styling are on-point. Read on for five additional tips to consider when purchasing a mother of the bride dress.
MOTHER OF THE BRIDE BEFORE MOTHER OF THE GROOM
Typical wedding planning etiquette dictates that the mother of the bride chooses her dress before the mother of the groom, but only after the bride has settled on a gown and the bridesmaid's dresses. However, the mother of the bride should make a timely choice to leave the mother of the groom enough time before the ceremony to find her dress.
MATCHING DRESS LENGTHS
While the mothers of the couple shouldn't necessarily choose matching dresses, a perfect way to coordinate is to match the lengths of the dresses. Embellishments and color palettes are other good elements to consider coordinating if the mothers each want dresses of different lengths.
COMFORT BEFORE FASHION
When it comes to the mother of the bride, comfort should always come before fashion. She will only look her best when she feels her best, so make sure she doesn't choose a dress that she'll feel too constricted in or shoes that will be aching her feet before the reception begins.
DON'T GO TOO HEAVY ON JEWELRY
From the bride to her mother, no one in the wedding party should go too heavy on the jewelry. Choose a statement piece to focus on – this could be an elaborate necklace if the style of the dress allows, or a pair of statement earrings with a coordinating bracelet if a necklace doesn't go with the dress style.
KEEP THE BRIDE INVOLVED WITH THE SHOPPING PROCESS
One of the most important things for the mother of the bride to understand is that the bride's gown sets the tone for the wedding. For coordination's sake, it's crucial to keep the bride involved with the shopping process because she's the one who knows the details of all the dresses as well as the overall theme of the wedding.
Stick to the tips outlined in the above guide to remember when to buy the mother of the bride dress and how to coordinate it with all the other essential dresses in the wedding party. If all goes according to plan, you'll end up with a perfectly coordinated party and a mother who feels as good as she looks.