Dressing the Mother of the Bride or Groom


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Andrea’s Couture, the sister salon to Andrea’s Fashions, serving women of Beverly Hills for 37 years, has opened in Corona del Mar offering the luxury of exquisite customized gowns in the convenience of Orange County. Women are treated to exceptional customer service by this family team as they choose from close to 400 dress options (various skirt patterns, necklines, lengths, etc.) to customize their style and over 250 colors before being custom fit using 22 measurements. This allows for endless combinations, creating a one-of-a-kind gown guaranteed to fit impeccably. The salon also offers select accessories.

One of the most exciting days for a mother is the day her child gets engaged. Everyone is very excited for the upcoming nuptials and the planning begins. Then months of planning go by and everything gets wrapped up. However, one of the last things on the list is usually the mother’s attire. I am not really sure why it happens like this, but it always seems to be the case. The majority of mothers do not think of their own gown until the last moments and expect to find the perfect look for an event that takes a year to plan by just taking a quick trip to the local mall. What a mother doesn’t know is that it takes just as much effort to find her gown as it did to find the bride’s gown.

It is important to keep in mind that half of your guests have never met you. It is my job to make sure it is obvious to everyone at the wedding that your role is the mother of the bride/groom and to make you feel your best on the day of the wedding. The photographs will last forever and so should your amazing memories of that day.

It is evident that there is no easy answer to the dilemmas mothers face in their gown search. Sleeve or no sleeve? Short or long? To match or not to match the bridal party?

There truly is no short answer. However, Andrea’s Couture boasts over 37 years of experience helping ladies make the right choice.

Here is my professional take on these questions:

Sleeve or No sleeve?
The mother of today is more youthful than ever before. After all 50 is the new 40, right? However, very few ladies accept that there is a normal change in the texture of their skin that occurs over time. Therefore, there is a bit of an epidemic of “bye-bye” arm obsession. (Ladies, the only one looking at your “bye-bye” arms is you). Hot flashes are bad enough, so why add fabric to compound the issue? It is not necessary to cover your entire shoulder to achieve a demure and sophisticated look. Wearing an on-the-shoulder sleeve instantly adds at least 10 years to your gorgeous face. I understand that you need to feel comfortable in your attire, but, unfortunately, long gone are the days of column dresses with little matching jackets. That being said, there is something regal about a portrait neckline or a soft Juliet sleeve to finish off a mother’s look. There are also stunning boleros which achieve an amazing line for a woman. Lastly, for Jewish weddings, a shawl tied appropriately can make a rabbi happy. Or for a very religious woman, I can create a dress that has a seamless transition to a narrow sleeve line with no obvious indication that you have added sleeves to a strapless dress.

I offer all these options in my store, Andrea’s Couture, simply because there are no two women with the same exact needs. A little more or a little less coverage is something that can be easily achieved with my professional experience on your side. It is my #1 goal that every single mother feels her most beautiful while celebrating at the wedding and I stop at nothing to achieve this.

Long or Short?
I firmly believe that this is indicated by each individual event. Today’s bride is savvy and is adding personal touches to her event. If the bridesmaids are wearing short, then the mothers should wear short, too. If the bridesmaids are wearing long, the mothers should also wear long. Tea length (mid-calf) is not a happy middle-ground for a mother. She should wear short (at knee or just below knee) or long.

Now, this is not to say that a long dress has to have a dramatic train. It can simply touch the floor. I personally love to create a long dress for the affair because after the wedding, I can shorten it to cocktail length. This always helps in amortizing the purchase and allowing for future wear. In our boutique, we have many designs that we have created long and short to illustrate how amazing each can look.

To Match or Not to Match?
Many women unfortunately struggle with the color selection of the gown. A simple rule of thumb is that mothers should never match the wedding party or the other mother of the bride or groom, but rather they should complement the wedding party. A mother should never look like a glorified bridesmaid, and a mother should never blend in with her guests. Furthermore, the mother of the bride and mother of the groom should not wear the same color either.

There are some simple color choices. For example, if it’s a black and white wedding then the choice has been made for you. The other side of the coin is that there are some color choices that are more challenging. For example, I recently created a breathtaking mother-of-the-bride gown that was ballet pink with a combination of silver and pink beading for a charcoal and pale yellow wedding.

Here are some other scenarios: If the party is wearing Wisteria or lavender, the mothers can wear burgundy, royal purple, silver, charcoal gray, or navy. Or if the party is wearing nude/champagne, mothers can choose sage green, gold, dark reds, rusts, bronze, or chocolate.

In the past when searching for a gown, women have been forced to pick between a few mainstream colors such as navy, chocolate, green or champagne. With over 150 colors in each gown, Andrea’s Couture never limits your options.

  • Bethany Thomas says:

    Great article and gorgeous gowns! It answered so many questions moms ask -thanks for answering!