We know that choosing a mother of the bride dresses can be a time consuming and often tiring process. But, finding the perfect dress is only half of what makes a mother of the bride outfit.
There is quite a lot of tradition wrapped up in the mother of the bride outfit, and that extends to the accessories she wears on the big day. Her hat is expected to set the tone for female headwear, while her jewellery and shoe choice should fit seamlessly with her daughter's dress code.
To help you feel your best on your daughter's big day we have created this list to help you master the art of mother of the bride accessorizing. From the commonly thought of fascinator and footwear to the less considered options of underwear. We have all the bases covered.
1. Finding the perfect mother of the bride jewellery
When thinking about what jewellery you would like to wear, you first need to consider what type of dress you have chosen. If you have opted for a more simple dress, one without patterns, or eye-catching fabrics. Then a piece of statement jewellery can be a great way of adding a level of grandeur to your outfit.
But, do be careful not to overdo it! If you, for instance, are wearing a statement necklace, then make sure the rest the jewellery you are wearing is very minimal.
If your dress is on the slightly louder side, we recommend being much more conservative with your jewellery. As this is your daughter's big day you want to make sure your outfit doesn't distract attention from her. Julie Sabatino, founder of The Stylish Bride says 'keep it classic and simple, this isn't the day to be outrageous or experimenting'.
Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, says 'it's all about finding the right balance.' For appropriate jewellery for the mother of the bride, she advises 'going for a nice pair of simple studs, a small ring on each hand, and a bracelet. Then look at yourself and decide if you need to take one piece off. If you wonder if it's too much, it probably is.'
Gottsman also offers this great piece of advice ‘steer clear of noisy jewellery in both sense of the word, you don’t want anything too loud or over the top, like fluorescent colours. Don’t wear any jewellery that’s noisy or dangling or distracting.’ So if your bracelets click together, then they are best left at home, unless you want to risk an irritated side-eye during the ceremony.
As for rings, Gottsmand says to keep any on you right hand on the modest side, since you’ll be shaking hands with friends and family and a big ring could start hurting your hand after a few firm handshakes. Maybe just treat yourself to a manicure instead!
2. Things to consider for the best mother of the bride shoes?
When it comes to heels for the mother of the bride's shoes, there is no hard and fast rule. We think that the best advice is to go for what you are confident in and is appropriate for the wedding venue and dress code.
If you are attending an evening, urban wedding, then this is the perfect time to wear a pair of stilettoes, if that is your desired shoe. But, if they are a pare haven't worn them for a long period of time before, we really recommend you try walking in them first. Even if this is only for a few hours around your home, you just want to make sure they aren't so uncomfortable they will distract you from the evening.
Another thing to keep in mind, when choosing a thin heal, is the type of terrain you will be walking on. The last thing you want is to be wearing a gorgeous dress and beautiful shoes, only to be called onto the grass for the wedding photos. As soon as you step out your heel skins into three inches of grass and mud.
As we said in this article, wedges are always a great alternative, especially for a summer wedding, for those still wanting the hight but also a little more comfort.
If you aren't a heel wearer we think that this isn't the day you should start. You want to be comfortable greeting people and that is hard to achieve when balancing on heels.
A flat sandal can be a wonderful alternative, as elegant and as sophisticated as a heel. Look at shops such as Emma Hope to find beautiful sandals that can be worn both winter and summer.
We also recommend that you stash a spare pair of shoes somewhere in the reception venue. Just in case your feet start to ache, you can slip on some flats to keep you up and dancing.
3. How to pick your mother of the bride handbag
The first thing many people think of when hearing the words 'mother of the bride handbag' is one that perfectly matches the colour of her shoes. But, you no longer have to stick to this expectation. We think that it is much chicer to pick the tones of your accessories so that they work together in complimenting each other and your dress, rather than completely matching.
Achieving this complementary look does not need to be as difficult as it might sound. Tools such as this one help you find shades that complement one another. While websites such as net-a-porter (for the more high end) and asos (for the more affordable), offer such a wide range of handbags that finding a bag that will be in one of those tones shouldn’t take hours either.
When choosing a mother of the bride bag, apart from the colour the next aspect to consider is the size.
We recommend a small handbag. When we say small we don’t mean the small that is trendy right now – so small you can’t fit anything in it. But practically small. It should be large enough to fit the essentials, which for the mother of the bride are a lipstick, some powder, a foldable hairbrush, your card, a phone and a handkerchief.
We recommend something with a thin strap or chain rather than a clutch to keep you hands-free. So you can greet guests with one hand while holding a glass of champagne in the other.
4. What are the best mother of the bride hats for 2019?
There are many traditions surrounding the hat of the mother of the bride. Etiquette states, that she is able to wear the largest hat of the wedding party and sets the tone for what headwear is appropriate for other female wedding guests.
But, just because there is much tradition associated with the mother of the bride hat, this doesn't mean you need to get carried away by it all. If you aren't usually a hat wearer and are a little intimidated by the prospect, we think you can steer clear of it. You want to make sure you are wearing the hat, rather than the other way around. For the mother of the bride in 2019 the hat is an accessory, not an essential.
But, if you are the type of person who is excited about this opportunity to wear beautiful headwear, we think you should go for it!
To pick which colour of hat will work best with your outfit, we suggest using the same technique recommended for choosing your shoes and handbag, to ensure your outfit looks great as a whole.
We know the fascinator is no longer the mother of the bride stape that it used to be. But, just because smaller hats are no longer so in vogue, this doesn't mean 'the bigger the better' necessarily. As it is quite easy to look overwhelmed in a larger hat, especially if you have smaller features or a more petite frame.
It also presents the risk of blocking peoples faces when it comes time to take the wedding pictures. Meaning, you could be asked to take your hat off by the photographer, which might lead to the photographs showing your hair more on the messy side. We think that it is probably best to save those really big hats for Goodwood or Ascot.
The most important thing to consider when asking yourself what type of hat you want to wear is what makes you feel your best. We recommend if you can, go into a shop rather than ordering online, this way you can find what suits you and play with a few different styles and sizes.
Or, if you want to order online, or even if you are just after a little more inspiration, the Evening Standard has recently published an article on the best hats and fascinators to wear to a wedding, check it out here.
5. How to master the art of layering as the mother of the bride.
A jacket or coat can often transform your whole look, taking attention from the dress, and changing the silhouette of the outfit. Because of this, you want to make sure that the additional layer you choose will not only bring you warmth, but help elevates your outfit, rather than distract from your look.
The first thing to consider, when choosing what type of additional layer you will bring to your daughter’s wedding is: what is its purpose. Is it a for protection against the forecast bad weather, is it to cover your shoulders and décolletage while in church, or are you bringing it just in case you get a little chilly?
A shawl or pashmina can be a great option for those who are after a little cover-up layer and some added warmth. Being available in almost any colour imaginable you are sure to find one that will compliment your outfit quite easily. They are a very versatile option as you are able to wear them so they lay on your arms over the elbow, or from your shoulders or so they cover your whole chest area.
If you are only something to cover your shoulders on a warmer day then opt for a light fabric. But if you want to ensure that added layer of warmth then go for a cashmere or wool blend which is surprisingly cosy. Check out some options here.
A jacket can be a great summer or autumn option, for those weathers that are just in-between warm and cold. We think that a well-tailored jacket is often the best choice, as it will keep a beautiful silhouette, drawing you in at the waist. We recommend that you avoid too old fashioned boxy jackets or those that finish in the middle of your torso as they can often make you look smaller and more square.
Try this Seed Dawlish Jacket for a beautiful option.
For the winter, a coat can really be a perfect choice. We suggest that you go for one that hits just above the knee. Covering most of your dress, the coat takes the pressure off matching the outer layer to the tones fo your outfit. You also won't have to worry about it cutting you off in an unflattering place on your torso.
Below is the gorgeous Seed Raquella Coat.
6. The right underwear can make all the difference
If you have opted for a more form-fitting outfit, then you will want to consider the type of fabric it is made from. If it is created from a quality stretch fabric then the fabric will do the work of smoothing your figure and flattering your curves. But, if you have gone for a form-fitting outfit of a different composition then you might want to consider what type of underwear to go for.
Investing in a good piece of shapewear can help smooth things out and enhance your natural curves. Spanx and Maidenform carry below-the-bust bodysuits 'that won’t pinch or roll like girdles'. We do know that they really don't sound very comfortable, but the technology has come such a long way recently. So apart from the slightly uncomfortable moment of getting it on, you can be assured you will have a night free from Bridge Jones struggles.
Another thing piece of advice when thinking of underwear, is, as Martha Stewart Wedding puts it ‘Nix the Nylons’. Fashion today has moved past associating stockinged legs with elegance. Instead, go bare-legged, just add some moisturiser or body oil to help them look their best. If you are worried about being too pale, then try a streak-free, gradual sunless tanner, like this St Tropez one.
7. Is the mother of the bride expected to carry flowers?
Tradition calls for corsages to be given to the mothers of the bride and groom. Yet this is becoming somewhat old-fashioned. If this is a tradition you want to honour in 2019, then give it a ‘modern look, try a flower that is big and elegant, like gardenia or a flat garden rose’.
Or why not try and different approach? Pin a flower to your hair, or carry your own nosegay? This means that you are able to hold it for the photographs and then just leave it on the table when it comes time to dance.
As for what flowers to go for it is really up to you. ‘While lilies and roses are classics’ but you could incorporate your own favourite flower or one that compliments your outfit. Alternatively, you could go for a flower that is in the wedding party’s bouquet to look more uniform or match with the boutonnieres pinned on the father of the bride.
Go for whatever would give you the most pleasure, it isn’t often we get to carry flowers so you should try and ensure you get as much joy from it as possible.
Although all the accessories associated with the mother of the bride outfit can be daunting, we think that they should be a fun way of elevating your outfit. We hope that our advice has taken some of the pressure away from your accessory choices, so you can enjoy the process of dressing up for this special day.