Hi Deborah and JoJami:
My daughter is having her wedding December 26th at a bed & breakfast in St. Augustine, FL in the Victorian room and it will be decorated for Christmas. She is wearing a beautiful navy blue dress (see photo). I am trying to decide what color dress I should wear and am also looking for something that is not real expensive and could hopefully wear again on an upcoming cruise for our formal evening. If I am unable to wear the dress again, it wouldn’t be a problem though. My daughter doesn’t want me to wear black and I don’t care to either. She is not having any attendants and it will be a very small wedding. I am petite 5’3” and usually wear a 4-6 petite. I was thinking of wearing maroon or a jewel tone. I am also in my 50’s but don’t want to look dowdy or matronly. My husband will be wearing a black pinstripe suit.
Can you give me any suggestions? I am stressed beyond words at the moment because I don’t know what I’m wearing and it is getting closer to her wedding day. I have no idea where to even shop for a dress and have been looking online but feel like I am in a fog doing so.
Thank you in advance.
You are feeling overwhelmed like many women who are getting ready to celebrate a special event like this. The problem: how do you look good over 40 as Mother of the Bride when there are so many choices and most of the models are teenagers? It’s hard to even imagine how the dresses would look on you. Basically, there are a lot of little strategies and tips that go into picking out the perfect dress.
You are on track more than you might realize. Let’s see what we have to go on so far. From your letter it sounds like you have taken in account :
- This will be a small wedding during the Christmas holiday
- The setting is a Victorian bed and breakfast, in St. Augisine, Florida
- Your daughter is wearing a non-traditional wedding dress, that is a v-neck with navy blue lace and cocktail length
- You are in your 50’s petite and slim and don’t want to look matronly
- Your husbands choice of a black pinstribe suite should be easy to coordinate with
So, we can see that you have actually got things narrowed down pretty well. Now, you just have to figure out how to get started on your dress.
- Because your daughter’s dress is not traditional and is a cocktail dress your job is a little harder since your dress will need to be simple so as not to compete with it.
- You are going to need to set some parameters to help narrow your choices so you can quickly decide “yes” or “no” on a dress. Also, you will be able to tell a salesperson what it is you’re looking for and what you are not looking for.
- Next, make a list of what features you will want in your dress. Start to narrow down your choices to styles that are simple and elegant. Nothing with a v-neck or sleeveless, since that would just be a variation of your daughters dress and she needs to look like the star of the show. That means you will want some type of sleeve or jacket and nothing too fancy or beaded.
- We think a dress in burgundy would be perfect since it is a fashion color and looks good on most people and would coordinate well with her dress. If you can’t find one in that color, just make sure you don’t pick anything too bright, you don’t want to stand out in the photos.
- Now that you have a good sense of what you do want, you can go out to stores and tell them what you are looking for.
- You can look on line and print out any photos of dresses that you think might work. Once you go to the stores, show these to the sales person and have them help you find a few to try on that are similar.
- Because you are petite, your sizes might be limited. Don’t rule out buying a dress in a regular size and then have it altered.
Once you find your dress you are not done yet. You will need the perfect shoes and accessories, too.
We have a helpful e-book called: Tweak Your Chic: Tips and Tricks to Looking Fab as the Mother of the Bride or Groom , that explains all this in much more detail. It will give you a step by step guide on what you need to do to find the perfect dress, gown or suit no matter what your size.