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How To Pick a Mother-of-the-Bride Dress

You want your daughter to shine on her special day, but you play a big part in the wedding, too. Find a dress that says so.


  • Step 1: Inform the mother of the groom of your dress choice so she can take your cue in terms of coordinating color, formality, and skirt and sleeve length. Or have the bride pass along the information.
  • Step 2: Keep the bride updated on your progress and let her know when you've found "the one."
  • FACT: On average, American couples spend $21,000 on their wedding.
  • Step 3: Look for colors that compliment your skin tone and that don't clash with the wedding's color scheme. Styles can range from suits and floor-length gowns to short dresses.
  • TIP: Traditionally, flashy colors and overly sexy, strapless gowns are to be avoided, but anything goes if it's OK with the bride.
  • Step 4: Collaborate with the bride. It's her big day and her overall vision. It's likely she'll have input on styles and colors. Let your preferences be known and reach an agreement.
  • TIP: Ask the bride to send you pictures showing styles she has in mind.
  • Step 5: Stay away from white, cream, champagne, or ivory, which might upstage the bride, and avoid black dresses, which are too funereal.
  • Step 6: Wait until the bride has chosen her dress and the bridesmaid dresses to get a sense of the level of formality and the color scheme. Then start looking immediately.

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