The Long and the Short of It.

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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RSVP comes from the French, which when translated means, “Please Respond.”

It is truly amazing how few people carry out this simple courtesy. The lack of response poses quite a predicament if you are hosting a wedding where something other than cake and punch will be served at the reception. For those with seated dinners, extravagant buffets or food stations, it is very nearly impossible to know how much food should be ordered.

Several years ago, I was invited to a client’s wedding. She was a former beauty queen and they had sent out 500 wedding invitations. The reception was a seated dinner held in a very prestigious hotel ballroom. Two weeks prior to the wedding, the bride still had not heard from over 350 of the guests. She was forced to frantically go through the list of invitees they had not heard from and call each one to determine the exact number of guests that would be attending the wedding.

A Father of the Bride complained to me once that they too were having a problem getting guests to respond. Their wedding reception was held in an extremely prominent private club in downtown Houston. He went as far as to hire security for the front door that would not allow anyone to attend the reception that had not responded. His reasoning was that he was not about to run out of food and drinks at his daughter’s wedding due to other people’s inconsideration. It was an extreme measure to be sure, but I could see his point.

Another common problem is guests bringing their own uninvited guests. This can reek havoc with certain venues if there is limited seating. If this happens to you, you may have to politely contact your guest and explain that you’re thrilled that they are planning on attending, but there simply isn’t space for extra guests. This proves more problematic if the invited guest doesn’t RSVP and shows up with additional guests.

The lesson here is, be prepared and proactive. If your guests fail to respond, drop them an email, facebook them or be old-fashioned and use the phone.

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