My son is getting married in September and I found a beautiful black dress that is simple and has a nice bolero jacket covering the strapless floor-length gown. There’s some rhinestone embellishment at the empire waist but otherwise the dress is tailored and elegant.
My problem: when people ask what I am wearing, they are shocked when I tell them the dress is BLACK. I thought the old rules of not wearing black to a wedding no longer apply. I asked the bride if she minds my wearing black — and she totally approves of it. That said, I don’t want to offend the guests or send the wrong message at the wedding. So should I shop for another dress??
Thank you, Mother of the Groom
First of all, congratulations on your son’s engagement! This is such an exciting time and your sensitivity to the bride’s opinion on the color of your dress is commending.
The reality is “no black” at a wedding is just old-fashioned.
It’s true that years ago people assumed if you wore black it meant you disapproved of the match, but that’s all changed.
Black is very much accepted these days and has actually become popular in the past few years. It’s elegant and chic, not to mention slimming, and with so many attractive and classy black dresses out there, it’s silly to dismiss an otherwise flattering dress based on color alone.
Mother of the Bride dress etiquette says if black suits you, it can be a good option for a mother of the bride or groom gown to wear to a a semi-formal or formal wedding. It’s too serious for a casual wedding.
It’s Important to Get the Bride’s O.K.
I think the most important point you brought up is that you asked the bride her opinion in the matter. Since she has “totally approved” as you mention, then you should put your mind at ease. If she is supportive of the idea and this is the dress you feel comfortable in, then you should not worry about other opinions.
However, that being said, I want to remind you that you are going to want to look your prettiest that day as well. I am curious what colors look best on you?
Is Black Really Your Best Color?
Most women over a certain age can find that black can be aging and bring out lines, wrinkles and dark circles. Women with fair complexions who have dark hair, grey or red hair can look stunning in black. However, for many of us, it doesn’t seem to be our best color as we age.
To help you make a good decision, next time you are getting ready to go out and you have your make up and hair done, put on the gown and take a photo of yourself in it. If you like the way you look in it, it is a keeper.
If you find that it drains you and makes you look tired, then you might want to consider returning it and finding one that is in a color that suits you. Other options for an elegant look are dark navy, charcoal grey and deep brown too! They’re dark, but softer than black.
Here are a few good options in black that are age appropriate for a formal or semi-formal wedding.
Good luck and enjoy this special day.
I get so many questions about this topic and because every wedding and body is unique I have put together an e-book for you called, Tweak Your Chic: Mother of the Bride.
This e-book will give you a step by step system to make sure you are making the right choices about your dress and accessories so you can feel special and confident on that special day! Pick one up today.
*This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.