Mother-of-the-Bride Dress Protocol

Dress Shopping Guide

According to age old tradition, the mother-of-the-bride purchases her dress first, which subtly determines what the mother-of-the-groom should wear. This however is not a protocol that has to be followed. Wedding etiquette suggests that the mother-of-the-bride should politely inform the mother-of-the-groom about her dress, so as to avoid clashing and to ensure synchronization. This can be done without seeming too pushy and bossy by having the-bride-to-be, communicate it to the mother-of-the-groom.

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Colour Restrictions

Ensure that the mother-of-the-bride’s dress compliments the bridal party colours. A Subtle hue of the colour of choice is the best way to go. Stay away from white, cream or ivory. Lean more towards earthy tones such as beige, taupe, champagne and stone. For most colours, the best choice is hues in blue, purple and brown. Ultimately, you can never go wrong with the grey family of colours; whatever the colour scheme. Be sure to avoid something in the same exact colour as the bridesmaids’ dresses and extremely flashy colours as well.


Dress Type Guide

Let the bride be your guide. Follow cues from the bride about the acceptable colour scheme, dress style, texture and of course the theme of the wedding; black tie, casual or vintage. The venue of the ceremony can be a guide as well. While tradition leans more towards a little cocktail coat atop a mid-length dress, this would be an overdress for a beach location wedding but very appropriate for a church wedding. In other instances, for example when it is too hot to wear a coat, a wrap would be very much appropriate paired with a strappy dress. Whatever the theme, location or weather, the golden rules to stick by are:

  • Appropriate and
  • Elegantly subtle

Dress Shopping Timeline

It is advisable to have made a choice a month before the wedding. Since the bridesmaids and the bride will have begun the shopping process several months before, you will have a guideline to go by -by the time you begin shopping for a dress, which should be no later than three months before the wedding. Shopping well in advance will allow enough time for special orders, alterations and any changes that the dress will require.

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