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Mother of the Bride Appropriate Dress

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My daughter is getting married this summer, and I had planned to wear a medium beige strapless long gown. I would also wear a triple strand of pearls. A coworker informed me that it would not be appropriate for a mother-of-the-bride to wear a strapless dress and that I should wear a jacket. The dress did not come with a jacket. What would be proper?



Dear Worried,

A mother-of-the-bride can wear a strapless dress without a jacket. Strapless may be an issue if the church is very conservative. When in doubt, ask the church about their policies regarding appropriate dress.

A light wrap or shawl looks nice with strapless gowns, but not required. One tip is to be sure that arms are toned and in good shape when wearing strapless or sleeveless attire.

Some general guidelines for appropriate dress for a mother-of-the-bride:

1. Formality: Dress for the formality of the occasion, i.e. long dress for formal evening wedding.

2. Color: Do not wear all white, and do not exactly match the bridesmaid's color. Wear a color that complements the wedding colors. Silver, gold, and pastel colors are popular choices for mothers.

3. Mother-of-the-Groom: Do discuss what you are wearing with the mother-of-the-groom in order to coordinate the level of formality of dress and make sure that you wear different colors.

4. Bride: Do discuss and perhaps have your daughter help you choose a mother-of-the-bride dress.

5. Shoes: wear comfortable, but shoes appropriate for the dress. For example, strappy heels may look nicer with formals than closed toe flats.