BRIDAL DRESSES FOR MOTHERS
Mom's Perfect Dress
by Claire Swinarski
PHOTOGRAPHY Robyn Vining Photography
As VIPs at the wedding, it’s the mothers’ chance to shine as well. The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom should wear dresses that complement each other nicely and have similar textures. Color trends this season include champagne, plum, pewter, navy, and blush, and you should choose a color that goes well with your bridal party without being the same shade. Whether it’s your mother, stepmother, grandmother or aunt, the women in your life who have helped to raise you all deserve to look and feel great. Offer them guidance, but allow them to make a selection that they’ll truly love!
As the mother of the bride, your mom wants to look lovely without looking like she tried to outshine the bride or the wedding party. Assure her that she has nothing to worry about; after all, you’re the one in a wedding gown! Mom deserves her moment in the sun as well without worrying about how her dress style fits in. Also, don’t forget the mother of the groom — she has an added layer of not wanting to upstage your mom! Make sure she feels included and valued by showing her a picture of your mom’s dress. She can show it to the Bruce Paul Goodman consultants and go from there; they’ll direct her to a similar color in a different hue. Tastes and styles of mothers of the bride and groom vary greatly, and a shop like Bruce Paul Goodman has many incredible choices for them. Many women will appreciate a long gown with some coverage on top. Another popular length trend right now is a hemline that hits just above the knees, as well as tea length or mid-calf. If they’d like some embellishment, encourage them to choose a pattern and fit that accentuates their best features. Your mom, grandmother or aunt wants to find the perfect balance between being appropriate while still feeling stylish, and there are plenty of options for her to feel gorgeous in.
You’ve got your gown. You’ve dressed your bridesmaids. You found the cutest outfit for your flower girl, and everyone looks great. But there’s still one very important person who needs your input.
Picking out a mother of the bride/groom dress can be stressful for moms. They want to feel comfortable and look amazing, but they also want some direction from you. They’ll be greeting all of your guests, and a lot of eyes will be on them. However, as a bride, you may have so much on your plate that you don’t even know where to start!
That’s where Bruce Paul Goodman comes in. The shop, which has been around since 1979, is a one-stop shop for mothers, aunts, or grandmothers. Carrying everything from dresses to jewelry to shoes, Bruce Paul Goodman meets women’s fashion needs from head to toe. They’re also known around town for a variety of charity work, and even won the Waukesha County NCAAP 2006 Community Service Award. Customers flock from all over the Midwest to shop the store’s affordable-yet-stylish fashions. The store’s beautiful gowns, twinkly shoes and elegant jewelry sets attract a wide variety of clientele, but Bruce Paul Goodman specializes in helping mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom find their perfect look. Whether it’s the wedding, the bridal shower or the rehearsal dinner, the shop has looks for every bridal occasion.
“We work hard to help all of the women who come into our shop,” said Bruce. “We do our best to understand all kinds of concerns, and we’ve heard them all many times. Most women who come to us leave very happy.”
Bruce inherited his love of fashion from his grandfather, who was a tailor. He graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in education, but after graduation he followed his passions and went straight into retail. He’s spent the last few decades tackling an ever-so-stressful wedding attire scenario: gowns for women of all ages.
When most mothers, aunts or grandmothers are beginning their dress search, they have a few common concerns. They turn to the bride for input, but you may not know what they like or would feel comfortable in. It’s best to give your mother or mother-in-law a few guidelines and then let their boutique consultants work some magic.
First, consider your venue and climate. This is obviously a great starting point for women to go on — if you’re having an outdoor wedding in the middle of July, heavy satin gowns may be nixed. If you’re having a church wedding, they may desire a bit more modesty. Have your mother or mother-in-law prepared with that key piece of information when they go shopping.
“If you’re having an outdoor wedding in Nashville, your mother doesn’t want a heavily-lined dress with thick material,” explained Margaret Wendt at Bruce Paul Goodman. “You need a dress that’s light and travels well. We’ll have mothers ask about brides getting married in Maui or Mexico. So those are the kinds of questions we’ll ask.”
Another question to consider is your wedding vibe or theme.
“One thing we’re hearing a lot right now is that brides are having vintage or Gatsby-inspired themes for their wedding,” said Margaret. “That’s good information for us to know, because that would be a more uniquely styled dress — which we offer.”
Next, assure them that their consultants can help them find a great fit.
“One thing we hear often from moms is that they don’t want to look matronly. They don’t want to look more mature than they are,” said Margaret.
What they may not realize is that a lot of looking and feeling your best comes down to fit. At Bruce Paul Goodman, mothers can have dresses custom fitted so they look flattering instead of unfashionable. The store has dresses that range from size 2-18, even carrying one designer that makes dresses up to 3X. There’s something for everyone to look fabulous in.
“A lot of women simply are not aware of what cuts and styles will be most complimentary for their body type, and that can make a huge difference when you’re trying to look your best,” Margaret said.
Margaret added that many women also appreciate some kind of jacket or sleeve to cover the upper-arm area.
Another concern is color. Mothers want to look superb in pictures, but they don’t want to look as if they’re trying to sneak their way into the bridal party!
“When someone comes in looking for a mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom dress, we always ask if the bride knows the colors of the wedding. We like to know the color of the bridesmaid’s dresses as well as the colors of the men, since it’s not just black anymore. We also like to ask about what color the flowers are, since we need to take into consideration whether or not the bride has a very vibrant palette of colors,” Margaret said.
Let the important women in your life know this information so that when they go shopping, they’ll be prepared. Pictures or color swatches are very helpful.
If there’s a grandmother that needs a gown, take into account her comfort level and mobility. Many grandparents may prefer a skirt and top or pantsuit instead of an elaborate gown. Margaret said Bruce Paul Goodman is very accustomed to dressing all ages of women and has many options and styles for grandmothers of the bride or groom.
It may be your big day, but you wouldn’t be there without a woman in your life raising you. Make sure the mothers of you and your groom look and feel their best!
by Claire Swinarski
Dresses for the Mothers
by Claire Swinarski
PHOTOGRAPHY The Paper Elephant
LOCATION Hilton Milwaukee City Center
GOWNS, STYLING & SHOES Bruce Paul Goodman
COSTUME JEWELRY & PURSES Bruce Paul Goodman
BRACELETES, EARRINGS & NECKLACES Lyle Husar Designs
MODELS Angila, Karen, Margaret & Roxanne
MAKEUP Margaret Wendt, Mary Kay