12/19/2012 08:17 EST | Updated 02/18/2013 05:12 EST

Dressing the Mother of the Bride (or Groom) for a Holiday Wedding


As a co-owner and dress consultant at T.Carolyn Fashions, I navigate the front lines of family conflict -- helping moms look great and satisfying the bride's often strident opinions. Even with 21 years in the business and 100,000 dresses sold, dressing a mother of the bride can be more challenging than dressing the actual bride!

As the holidays approach, I wanted to share my advice on how mother of the brides/mother of the grooms should dress for their son or daughter's wedding during this magical season. These tips are applicable for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's weddings.

Choosing the Dress

The dress a mother chooses for her child's wedding is second in importance only to her own wedding gown. During the holiday season, the guidelines for mothers of brides and grooms are different than other times of the year.

Holiday Colours and Styles

For the holidays, mothers should think in terms of more formal attire. Rich, beautiful jewel tone colors such as red, sapphire and peacock are excellent choices. These colors are extremely flattering and photograph well. Beautiful embellishments such as hand-beading, crystals, soutache ribbon, ruffles and three-dimensional appliqués are ideal for holiday weddings.

While gowns are still the first choice for most mothers, there are a number of wonderful short dresses suitable for a holiday wedding. A word of warning: if you choose to wear a short dress, you should consider shopping in a specialty store or boutique to avoid having your guests show up in the same dress.

For the woman who is more comfortable in something more understated, a beautiful jewel tone color in a classic silhouette will work brilliantly. In this particular case more striking accessories are required.


Mother of the Bride Style


When choosing accessories, consideration should be given to scale. Petite women should consider smaller, more delicate pieces, while taller or plus-size women should opt for pieces of more substance. If a mother has chosen a one-shoulder gown or a gown with an asymmetrical neckline, stunning earrings with a matching bracelet are the perfect pairing.

Always remember to carry a purse (a clutch), a handkerchief, powder, and lipstick for those important touch-ups between pictures. A smart, sophisticated way to wear a corsage is to pin or attach it to a purse and carry the purse down the aisle.

Your Time to Sparkle

Lastly, make time for yourself. Mothers tend to put themselves last, because they're always so busy taking care of everyone else -- especially during the holidays. Be sure to think of your needs. It's a long walk down that aisle and you deserve to look and feel your best. Remember, it's your day too!

If you want to delve further into the exciting world of weddings, I invite you to tune into my new show Mother of The Bride premiering back-to-back episodes on Friday, January 4 at 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT and 9:30PM ET/6:30PM PT on SliceTM.

Visit for exclusive blogs, a mother of the bride dress guide, cast bios and full episodes. Join our Mother of The Bride Facebook page as well!