For most of its history, marriage was little more than a transfer of property. Fathers made deals with eligible bachelors and their daughters had little say in who they would marry. The chosen suitor pledged to take care of the bride and in exchange, he would receive a dowry, often money or property. The father also agreed to pay for the wedding ceremony. Because the arrangement often involved a substantial investment on the part of the father of the bride, he put his wife in charge of planning the wedding. The mother of the bride selected the dresses, flowers and decorations. She made sure that everything went off without a hitch. Oh, how times have changed.
Since most modern couples are gainfully employed before they get engaged, they often plan and pay for their own weddings. Every now and then, their parents will chip in or help them pay for the honeymoon. But they do not expect to have a say in the wedding day, which has left the modern mother of the bride with hardly anything at all to do. By comparison, the father of the bride has retained his traditional role as the guardian and protector of his little girl. He gets to walk her down the aisle, give her away and dance with her at the reception. Though she is part of the wedding party, the mother of the bride doesn’t have a single official task or responsibility. She doesn’t play a part in the ceremony or in the reception. All she has to do is smile for group photos.
Believe it or not, most modern mothers of the bride are happy with their new role. All they have to do is find a nice dress and support their daughters. They don’t have to worry about planning an elaborate ceremony and making sure that everything is perfect.
There are a few simple rules when it comes to selecting an appropriate mother of the bride gown. White is strictly off limits. Only the bride and the flower girls can wear white to a wedding. Black is also considered taboo, since it is the color of mourning and the groom’s family might not take kindly to it. Some experts also advise against wearing red, which can be distracting.What color can the mother of the bride wear? At a bare minimum, it should not clash with the other dresses in the bridal party. The easiest way to ensure this is to select a gown that is a few shades lighter than the bridesmaid dresses. If, for example, the bridesmaids are wearing fuchsia gowns, for mother of the bride dresses, you can pick out something in light pink.
The mother of the bride should always take her cues from her daughter’s dress. She should never wear anything that is shorter or more revealing than her daughter’s gown. Full-length, tea-length and ballerina-length gowns are popular choices for mothers of the bride and groom. Their hemlines all fall around the ankles.
As most mature women know, different formal gowns flatter different body types. There are at least five popular silhouettes or cuts of dresses. Probably the most popular and versatile silhouette is called the A-line. This cut of dress is somewhat bell-shaped and is flattering for most figures. The empire-waist silhouette is also quite popular. A high-waisted gown that gathers just under the bust can flatter a pear-shaped figure when paired with a loose skirt.
Most mothers of the bride have fun with accessories. Since they are often unsure about how to dress, they chose a more conservative ensemble. The single most popular accessory is a stylish jacket. When paired with a dress or a gown, this classic combination is a can’t-miss at any time of year. Just make sure you consider the season before you select a material. Heavy, crocheted jackets, for example, should only be worn during the late fall or in the winter, while sheer sleeve jackets were designed for spring and summer ceremonies.