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Parents’ Formal Wear

Your parents and the parents of your groom are important parts of your wedding. While they won’t stand next to you while you say your vows, they are considered a member of the wedding party. Your father will likely be the one to walk you down the aisle if you choose to keep with tradition. Their attire is just as important as what you choose for your bridesmaids. However, and this is a big one, it isn’t always easy to tell a parent what to wear. You will need to give them a handful of suggestions and recommendations and let them choose. You can save yourself a lot of hurt feelings by making it a joint effort rather than being a dictator.

The following tips are merely suggestions. You know your mom best and your future husband knows his mom best. You two must formulate a plan that will help your parents to suit your wedding.

Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses a dress before the mother of the groom. Whatever style of dress the bride’s mother chooses sets the tone for the groom’s mother. If the bride’s mom goes formal, the groom’s mother should.

Mothers of the bride and groom typically avoid wearing white or cream-colored dresses.

Mothers’ dresses should be appropriate for the theme of the wedding. If it is a formal wedding at a church, a nice dress with a hat and gloves works. For a casual, outdoor wedding, a fun spring dress is appropriate.

The dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom should NEVER outshine the bride’s gown! If it is a casual wedding, it would be inappropriate for a mother to show up wearing some fancy dress that will upstage the bride.

Colors for mothers of the bride and groom are very flexible. They don’t have to match the wedding colors. Navy blue is the color of choice for many mothers. It is a slimming color and matches most other colors. This is important for pictures. Nudes and beiges are also excellent choices. They won’t stand out too much and will look nice when posed against the bride and groom. Black should be avoided if possible to avoid a funeral look. Red is another no-no and is deemed to be too flashy and demanding. All eyes will be on the red dress in the room.

Mothers don’t have to look frumpy or matronly if they don’t wish. The idea is to feel good in whatever they choose. If the mother of the bride is an athletic, svelte woman and she wants to wear a slinky formal gown to a formal wedding that is her choice. The mother of the groom can choose something formal, but in a cut and style that is comfortable for her.

Fathers of the bride and groom have it easy. A tux for formal weddings or a nice suit and tie for casual weddings is appropriate. It is a good idea to make sure both fathers are on the same page with their outfits. If one is planning on wearing a tux, the other should as well. No need to start a family rift on day one by the bride’s daddy upstaging the groom’s daddy.

Ultimately, the bride and groom have very little say in what their parents where to the wedding. It is always a good idea to encourage them towards a particular style and color, but mom and dad know what they like and will choose what they prefer. Have fun dress shopping with your mom and future mother-in-law. They will appreciate your input.