Penniless Socialite: Staying Sane While Shopping for a Mother of the Bride Dress

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Staying Sane While Shopping for a Mother of the Bride Dress

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stay sane while mother of the bride dress shopping

The most difficult part of planning my wedding was picking out my mother's dress with her.  It was excrutiating.  My mom is not a fashionista and doesn't really put a whole lot of thought into her clothing.  It skips a generation I think.  However, her dress for my wedding became the only dress she's ever cared about.  Seriously, I was around for her wedding to my step-dad and I feel like she just walked into a store and said, "Give me a white dress."  Prior to starting the shopping process, I neglected to realize how important this dress was to her. And, therefore, I planned to take the appropriate planning steps.  The first shopping trip quickly dissolved into yelling and resulted in us giving up and going to the Cheesecake Factory.  I regrouped, planned, and eventually helped my mother find the perfect dress.

1. Narrow your choices
Don't set foot into a store until you've made a list of must-haves and must-nots.  There are a ton of choices and you run the risk of getting overwhelmed. Does she want a mother of the bride dress with sleeves?  Does she like lace?  What color?  If you just walk in the store without a will spend the worst day of your life amongst racks of satin and lace.
2. Shop online first
Once you have a general idea of what that lady is looking for in a dress, start to peruse online.  You'll start to get an idea of which stores have dresses that fit your mom's look and style.  And, also remember, it's ok to buy a dress online!  Size up and remember it's easier to let a dress out than take it in.

3. Listen to your mother (and then disregard every negative thought she has without telling her.)
Every woman has insecurities and it's a safe bet that your mother figure will have them too. I found out while dress shopping with my mom that she hates her knees.  Her freakin' knees.  She claims she has "fat knees."  If she was accumulating fat on her joints, I am pretty sure we'd be removing her from her house in a whale sling. So, I proceeded to have a 15 minute loud discussion with my mother about her knees.  What I should have done is said, yes, I understand your complaints.  Try this dress on anyway crazy lady.
4. Don't be afraid to go bold
There are so many cookie-cutter boring mother of the bride dresses.  You know what I mean, black or navy blue with a weird little jacket.  Perhaps your mom will like those dresses, but will she feel amazing in them? As much as you as the bride will hate to admit it, your wedding day is also a little bit of your mom's day.  She will also want a little attention.  Don't be afraid to look at dresses with a low back or in a bright color.

5. Make sure the dress is special.  
Look for little details that you know she'll love.  Was her wedding dress lace or scalloped?  Look at dresses that have those type of details.  If you harken back to her big day, it will make your day feel that much more special to her.  It's easier to fall in love with a dress that doesn't look like the rest.

5. Stay away from white (or any permutation thereof)
Your mom might think she looks great in white. But, stay away from ANYTHING that looks even close to white.  I am talking cream, pale pink, light beige, light gold, etc.  You might be the coolest and most laid back bride ever and not care about this.  You will care when you look at the pictures.  It will look weird.
6. Tell her to channel Susan Lucci
On the big day you mom is going to want to look beautiful, confident, and dignified.  And there is no one ladies of our mother's generation will find to embody this more than the great Susan Lucci.  Seriously, it works.  It sounds silly, but it will work. My mom finally picked a dress (after months of agony) after I told her it looked like a dress Susan Luci wore to the Emmys.  It was a complete lie.  But, she picked a dress that looked great on her and ended my misery.
Please note: I, more than anyone, recognize that family structures come in all shapes and sizes nowadays.  In an effort to recognize this, I have tried to use the term "mother figure" in this post.  However, any reference to "mother of the bride" is not meant to minimize any relationship you may have with a special lady in your life!
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