The Mother of the Bride traditionally chooses her dress first because she is the hostess of the wedding. The Mother of the Groom is the most honored guest at the wedding. The Mother of the Bride chooses first for one reason, and one reason alone; it’s to dictate degree of formality at the wedding. Full length is formal, anything shorter is semi-formal. The mother of the Bride does not go first to call “dib’s” on a color or a style.
By rule of etiquette, if one mother goes long, the other mother should go long also; that way both mothers are dressed formally. In addition, the pictures will look more balanced if both women wear long gowns as opposed to mixing a gown with a short dress.
What Length Should I Choose?
If the bride has chosen a formal wedding gown, the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom may wear full length gowns. If the bride chooses an informal, short wedding dress, the mothers should follow suit and wear short as to not be dressed more formally than the bride.
If one mother has a physical impairment that does not permit her to wear a full length gown, then it is perfectly acceptable to wear a pantsuit, to give the illusion of full length.
Petite women almost invariably think they are too short to wear long gowns. In fact, they are too short not to wear a long gown. A full length gown will give the illusion of height and length. A petite woman will always look taller, longer and sleeker in a full length gown. Petites should stay away from ball gowns as they don’t have the height to carry it off. Also, petites should watch for dresses that overpower them with beading, large ruffles, or other design details that are not scaled to their proportions.
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