As my husband and I look through our photos, it occurs to me that I'd really like to tell the story of my mother's dress.
It begins back in November of '08. I had ordered my bridal gown from a store on the East Coast, and on a visit out to see us, I took my mom to the bridal salon to take a look.
We walked through the first floor of the bridal salon, and the owner, seeing a potential sales opportunity, said cheerfully, "and THIS is our mother of the bride section!"
"Horrified" would be too mild a word to describe my mom's expression. We were surrounded by taffeta, satin, sequins, Dynasty shoulder pads, and matronly skirts cut straight from hip to floor. As we ascended the stairs to the bride's section, my mom whispered to me, "I don't have to wear ... uh ... floor-length, do I?" ("Floor-length" being the most polite way for her to explain what was wrong with the frumpy formalwear downstairs.)
"Of course not, we're getting married outside in the summer," I replied.
Thus began my mom's quest for a dress for our wedding. From my own vantage point, 2000 miles away, I could tell it wasn't an easy one. She soon learned not to tell anyone at the store she was shopping for her daughter's wedding, because she'd be led straight to the sequined taffeta jackets. And just as I was nervous about everyone looking at me and wanting to look my best (oh so vain and shallow, I know), my mom was feeling the "you're the MOTHER of the BRIDE" pressure and was second-guessing her desire for a pretty, brightly colored sundress -- was that formal enough? Fancy enough? Would people judge her for not choosing the traditional MOB regalia?
But finally, one day in Macy's, she found a royal purple dress with a faux wrap waist and bright coral, white, and black flowers on the hem. It was pretty, and bright, and just her color, and comfortable cotton instead of non-breathing polyester satin. She bought it. And she looked fabulous.
So mothers of the bride out there, if you're like my mom and your reaction to the MOB section in a typical bridal salon is "ugh ... really?," don't let anyone (especially anyone standing to make money off your transaction) bully you into thinking that this is the only acceptable way for the MOB to dress. Work your own style, be comfortable, and you'll be radiant. My mom's non-MOB dress is one of my favorite "wedding details" from our photos.