On a lovely dinner cruise down the Connecticut River last night I was talking with a friend about her son’s upcoming wedding. Naturally, my first question was “What are you wearing?”
“Well, that’s tricky,” she said “because I can’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids.” Huh??!! Wait a second. Rewind. Have I been to so few weddings in the past twenty years that I don’t know what’s going on? Where have I been? When did this happen? It used to be that the whole point was to find a dress that was the same color AS the bridesmaids. To find something in the color scheme of the wedding party, as it is known (at least last I heard). I can remember vividly my mother shopping for dresses for each of my brothers’ weddings. The first was a shade of light blue. All the bridesmaids wore the same dress and the mother of the bride, as well as the mother of the groom wore the same color. By the time my second brother got married I thought it was ingenious that the bride decided that each bridesmaid could wear a dress of her own choosing, as long as it was yellow. This was particularly good planning since I was only fourteen at the time, and the oldest attendant was a married woman well into her twenties. But still the mothers wore yellow. At my own son’s wedding the color was ivory (my suggestion, btw) and the bridesmaids, the mothers and, yes, the bride all wore the same shade. It was quite stunning. Truly.
Of course this can backfire, as when my niece was married and the groom’s grandmother was instructed to wear green. Now I grant you if there is one color that has a broad range it’s green, but indeed Bubbie showed up in a green dress, green hat, green hose, green shoes, green bag. Get the picture? As Kermit once said, “It’s not easy being green.” When she walked down the aisle it might as well have been the Yellow Brick Road.
And I’m so glad the wedding-party-in-black thing is finally over. Nothing like starting a marriage off on the bright side.
I suppose it was only natural that conformity in a wedding would fall by the wayside. There are so many possibilities out there now. The fact that a national retailer like J.Crew can supply bridesmaids with attire in a multitude of colors and styles with just a click of the mouse is mind boggling for those of us who can remember being a bridesmaid and suffering through the fittings and discomfort of the custom made gown that in no way belonged on a human body. Not to mention the expense. But where does that leave the mothers? I guess the best policy is to honor the wishes of the bride. Some prefer everything to match. Others do not. But don’t fret, moms, and sisters, for that matter. There is an amazing array of wedding clothes available on line. Nordstrom’s, as well as Neiman Marcus have on line departments devoted just to wedding attire, and although some of the Mother-of-the-Bride styles look like, well…MOB, it’s a good place to start for selection and color. They also carry dresses suitable for bridesmaids and best of all, a wide range of wedding dresses, from high end to very moderate, short and long. And with their return policy it’s a boon to those of us in the boonies without ready access to Saks Fifth Avenue Bridal Salon (this is to a bride what a spa day is to the body) or the like. Speaking of which, Saks and Neiman Marcus on line regularly have dresses on sale and if you go to their “Cocktail,” “Evening Gown,” “Mother of the Bride” or “Date Night” or even just their “Sale” links you’d be surprised at how reasonably you can find a beautiful and classy dress.
But whatever you get, make sure it’s comfortable and fits well. The last thing you want to be doing on the big day is worrying about what’s riding up, falling down, itching, binding, chafing, wrinkling, because believe me, it’ll show on your face when you get the pictures back.
And Mazel Tov (that means “Good Luck”) to you and the happy couple!
p.s. I’ve been asked by some readers to supply the links to some of the vendors and sites I mention, so I’ve gone back and done so on previous posts.