Thursday, August 27, 2009

One more little story

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.

Not really my mom's style. Image from

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.


Abbie said...

My mom went with the first dress we found... after six months of looking at every other dress out there. She didn't want to look like a MOB, but she also wanted to not be too loud. She LOVED a blue dress with fun fabric flowers and ruffles, but then she felt like everyone would be looking at her... so she went neutral. I think it's hard when your mother has never been a MOB before to know what they even want!

LPC said...

MOB here. So with you on this one. I still have my Doc Martens for crissake. Way to early to go to Dowdytown, even for my beloved daughter. Should the day come when my darling one decides to marry, I will ask her what her parameters are, I will show her what I like, and then we will discuss until she and I can agree. I imagine it will not involve much disagreement at all, and I am sure she would be horrified to see me in floor length polyester for the first time at her wedding.

anna and the ring said...

Oh I totally agree. MOB style in magazines is evil. I actually would like my mother (and future mother) to look nice. My mother has great legs. (I unfortunately inherited my fathers!)

Bride in Exile said...

LPC, I hope someday to see a Polyvore board on your blog showing us your mother of the bride ensemble! If your daughter's like me, she'll more or less give you free reign over your outfit. I knew she'd find something great, and so will you :-)

Greta said...

My mother had the same reaction to the dresses when my sister was getting married. She ended up making her dress, and being the second prettiest lady there!

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