The core tenet of a successful bridal business is providing customers with high-quality products in a convenient and accessible location. But experts tout that that is easier said than done, especially when it comes to mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses.
More often than not, these items often take a back seat to bridal retailers’ core merchandise—bridal gowns. But Annette Hall, owner of Bridal Aisle Boutique in Osseo, believes that offering elegant and sophisticated mother-of-the-bride/groom dress designs can help make these important members of the bridal party feel that they are a vital part of the their children’s “big day.”
Reminiscent of the bridal gown shopping experience, purchasing a gown for a mother of the bride/groom can (and should) be exhilarating and fun. Moms need to stay on top of the today’s trends, perusing bridal fashion magazines to find the dress style that appeals to them.
“When the shop first opened, moms were more interested in dresses with jackets,” Hall says. “Short dresses were more popular for a while, but now long dresses are more commonly purchased.” Today, Bridal Aisle Boutique offers off-the-rack mothers’ dresses, ranging from sizes 2-24. Additionally, the store features a selection of dresses that can be ordered in sizes M-5XL.
What are the leading design trends in mothers’ dresses? Hall stresses that every wedding is different, and that there are no hard and fast rules about dresses for mothers.
“Typically, the mother of the groom follows protocol or waits for the mother of the bride to purchase her dress,” Hall says. “If anything, we usually see the mother of the bride first just because the bride’s family is usually more involved in the planning.”
When it comes to purchasing dresses for mothers, one unwritten rule is that the mother of the groom shouldn’t upstage the mother of the bride in terms of formality.
TheKnot.com recommends that, although the dresses for the mothers don’t have to match, they shouldn’t clash, as the parents will be taking many pictures together. That’s why the mothers should consider shopping together, if feasible, to identify the types of styles they each feel comfortable wearing. If shopping together isn’t going to work, they should communicate with each other about their style plans, including the color, style length and neckline.
“If the mother of the bride is doing a short dress, the groom’s mother’s dress shouldn’t be longer than hers,” Hall says. “But again, every wedding and every couple is different.”
As far as popular dress designs for mothers, lately, moms have been gravitating toward dresses that boast sleeves, light embellishments and jewel tones. Light, A-line chiffon dresses are always a hit, especially during the summer. “These silhouettes and fabrics are forgiving, easy to move in and keep the wearer cool,” Hall says. “Dresses with jackets are not as common as they once were; moms are looking more at dresses that already have interesting sleeves attached. They want to feel more modern and less matronly. And all moms want to feel young and beautiful.”
And while most women prefer a more traditional look in dress design, Hall and her team are seeing more illusion tops for mothers’ dresses than they have in the past, including illusion sleeves with embellishments. And although long dresses are popular in all seasons, for more casual weddings, short dresses are not uncommon. In addition, many mothers who shop at Bridal Aisle Boutique are wooed by such designers as Adrianna Papell, Alex Evenings, Tadashi, RM Richards and Nox Anabel, which is the store’s orderable line.