Afternoon Wedding Options for Mother of the Bride

Q. I am the mother of the bride. The wedding is in July at 3 in the afternoon. The 5 bridesmaids are wearing Cherry Red dresses with black trim. I do not want to wear a floor length dress since it is afternoon and the bridesmaids are wearing tea length. However, the groom’s mother and her stepmother have already purchased their full length gowns. One is pink and the other is midnight blue. I am 53 years young, 5″2″ and 130 lbs. I cannot find what I like. The mother of the bride dresses look old and matronly…and the other dresses look too young. Would it be appropriate for me to wear palazzo pants? Can I wear a tea length dress? What color should I go with?

-Stressed About Dress

A. Just because you’re the mother of the bride doesn’t mean you have to look like the mother of the bride. There are plenty of dowdy dresses out there. I’m all for you wearing a cocktail or tea length dress. And I’d much prefer you wear a dress to palazzo pants. Don’t fall under the pressure to wear a gown if you don’t want to. You’ll certainly feel more free to move around in a dress that doesn’t hit the floor. There are also plenty of dresses that are ankle length that don’t look like a gown. As for color, don’t feel hemmed in by the colors of the wedding, choose a color that best suits your skin color. Look for something sophisticated rather than “old” and don’t assume a dress is too young until you try it on. A dress as important as this requires a try-on to determine what looks best for your coloring as well as your body shape. Here are some suggestions:

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all dresses above are from

left to right: JS Collections Off Shoulder Shirred Taffeta Gown, $218; Cachet Mock Two Piece Lace Dress, $188; Cachet Stretch Faux Wrap Dress, $148; achet Knit Foil Dress with Brooch, $148; Nicole Miller Silk Dupioni Halter Dress, $310; Bari Jay Iridescent Taffeta Dress, $148

  • CP

    I have two comments, first, as the mother of the BRIDE you set the color palette to coordinate, not the groom’s mother or stepmother. Secondly, open your options beyond the standard “mother of bride” selections. My mom looked at all sorts of dresses at department stores, formal wear departments, and even some of the bridesmaid selections. Don’t feel as if you have to wear one of those long, boring dresses with a bland jacket to match!

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