It’s about six weeks and counting here at Casa Mother of the Groom, and the plans are moving along well, with lots of little details falling nicely into place. But I am struggling with one part of this whole process—finding the right mother of the groom dress. My wedding Pinterest board is entitled “Be Quiet and Wear Beige”, a nod to the near-invisibility of the mother of the groom that is the adult version of “be seen but not heard.” While we MOG’s have more leeway than the bland colors that were once required, I’m finding that a lot of dresses aimed for mothers are either too little or too much. And I’m not talking about the price tag.
Case in point, the old-school, mid-calf (wouldn’t want a long skirt that you could trip over in your orthopedic shoes), chiffon-dress-with-a-jacket combination that is still the staple of many a mother rack at the bridal shops. I get it. You don’t want to to dress inappropriately for your age, and the temptation to cover up those lunch lady arms is mighty strong. (Why is it that no amount of exercise can really stop the underarm flap? Remind me not to get photographed gesticulating wildly, my tricep jiggle recorded for posterity.) But if 50 is the new 30 (it is, isn’t it?), don’t we owe it to the bride to bring a little more style to the wedding?
But not too much, please ladies. Since when did bandage dresses become ok for the mothers in a wedding party? And I don’t care how wonderful your cleavage is, no bride wants your girls taking center stage in her wedding photos. Remember, if you are showing more skin than the bride, you might have boundary issues.
It’s hard, this MOG-dress-buying-business. Nothing too dowdy or too sleazy. Don’t match the bridesmaids, the other mother or (gulp!) the bride. No black, lest you seem to be in mourning. Don’t clash with the reception site, cover those problems areas and, oh yes, you must be comfortable in it, both physically and sartorially.
So what’s not too much or too little? What’s just right? The bride’s vision drives the wedding, and we MOG’s need to respect that. Whether traditionally festive or casually elegant, the style of the wedding should inform what you wear, even as you keep true to your own personal style. One of my Philadelphia friends rocked cowboy boots—at her daughter-in-law’s request—with her dress at her son’s Texas wedding. I thought it was a beautiful way to start off on the right foot (*groan*), with a nod to her new daughter’s roots. My goal is to look like myself (not too much sparkle, please), without overshadowing the bride or disappearing into the woodwork.
Come to think of it, isn’t that what I’m going to need to do in my new role as mother-in-law? Don’t be too much (intrusive, opinionated) or too little (standoffish, distant). My job is to honor my daughter-in-law’s vision for her family, support her in her choices and treat her as my own, while staying true to my own values along the way.
Rest assured I’ll find the right dress. But more importantly, my son has found the right woman. I’m thrilled for this next step in my life and to be gaining a daughter. I’ve lived in testosterone overload for a lot of years and Alexandra is just the woman to bring a little femininity (and female sanity!) to my world. After all, she has great taste in men!
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