Here Comes the MOB Mother of the Bride

Here Comes the MOB Mother of the Bride

Here Comes the Mother of the Bride |Deciphering the Wedding Dress Code

Someone please call the paramedics or get me a Valium IV.

I’m the mother of the bride!!!

I have only recently come to this revelation and with it, my role to play in the wedding day.

Here Comes the Mother of the Bride |Deciphering the Wedding Dress CodeAs referenced in the bridal shower chapter of this blog, we are coming up on the wedding sooner than I had ever imagined.  I Am Not Prepared.  Physically, it’s all set.  Emotionally?  Another story entirely.  I would so vastly prefer to be invisible but since I cannot, I must put on my Big Girl Panties and deal.

There are probably large numbers of mother of the bride “Boomettes” out there who are facing this new chapter with me.  Along with all of the incredible joy and sentimental tears, plans and emotions, a niggling, yet persistent question raised its head.

What on earth is a 50-something year old, bit shambolic, comfort-loving MOB (mother of the bride) supposed to wear?

Granted, I’ve still got two months.  I’m thinner than I’ve been in long memory, thanks to flunking a glucose test and the resultant low carb diet prescribed.  I’ve lifted weights to rid my arms of the dreaded bat wings.  My hair works for me.  After all the hullabaloo of the shower, the bachelorette and the wedding dress, you’d think I’d be ready for this.

Finding the dress, sure.  But really, I don’t mean that at all.

You are never, ever ready for this.

This is my baby!

She was little only a second ago.  My fluffy haired, tow-headed duckling that I cuddled, adored, cheered, encouraged, celebrated and relished every single second with for 26 years.  My Beloved Child; my Joy and my Heart that walks around independently outside of my body.  My miracle, conceived in utter love.

My daughter.   To me, there is no sweeter word in any language.

It feels like I’m losing her forever.  Rationally, I know this is not true.  But since when has mother love had anything to do with rationality?

If I can pull this day off without buckets of (joyful) tears it’ll be a feat.  I’ve got to at least look pulled together and not embarrass our daughter on the biggest day of her life.

Here Comes the Mother of the Bride |Deciphering the Wedding Dress CodeSo far, not so good.  We watched “Mamma Mia” and the scene where Meryl Streep sings “Slipping through my fingers” (see lyrics above) sent me into the kitchen where I sobbed into a dish towel.

If this sounds tragic, of course it is not.  We are deliriously happy for her and the wonderful guy she is to marry.  Yet I personally alternate between fits of hysterical glee and emotional weeping.  When I see wedding magazines at checkout registers and begin crying, I get some distinctly odd looks.

I’m told this is quite normal (?) behavior for the mother of the bride.  Still, I’ve got to suck it up and find a dress worthy of my precious daughter’s wedding day.

Shut Up, Show Up and Wear Beige

My irrepressible mom, tells me “MOBs Shut up, Show up and Wear Beige.”  Sage advice, as she has four daughters.  She herself wore what she refers to as “Menopause Blue.”  She reminds me that no one is going to be looking at me, but at the bride, which is perfectly true.  I am profoundly relieved.


Here Comes the Mother of the Bride |Deciphering the Wedding Dress CodeI notice that many MOB dresses out there have little jackets.  I am guessing this is to disguise our “bat wings” as it is assumed we have them.  Huh.  However, I like the little jackets; they do add a touch of sophistication.  Many dresses also come with matching wraps.

Long vs. Short:

I think I’m supposed to go with a co-coordinating length?  But it appears since moms began claiming their right to dress sexily, there seem to be no rules anymore at all.  I don’t even know what to do with that one.  Knee length works for me.  Or long.

Sexy vs. Sedate:

Matronly used to be the order of the day, but some of the MOB dresses I’ve seen are downright “Hootchy Mama.”  One item I tried on looked pretty on the rack but when on had what looked like what looked to be a kraken crawling over my shoulder.  Another was madly sequined and cut to THERE.  I certainly won’t be wearing that sort of thing.  Yet, somehow I don’t feel quite ready yet to downgrade to a “safe” dress either.

I’ve seen such pretty options: off the shoulder, lace, tight fitted, full skirts, scalloped hems.  I’ve also seen some real doozies: sequin encrusted, deeply décolletaged, lavishly jeweled.  Shop with caution.  It’s not Vegas.  And it’s not my day, either.


The rules for this are that there seem to be none; except not to wear white.  However, I’ve seen an entire wedding party in white.  It was gorgeous.  I’ll probably try to tone with the wedding colors.  I am supposed to consult with the groom’s mom, as evidently we are not supposed to clash.  (?)  Neither of us will be in neon or plaid as far as I am aware.  I highly doubt that what we have on matters one bit either way.

Here Comes the Mother of the Bride |Deciphering the Wedding Dress Code

So far, the only thing I’ve figured out is that, as usual, I’m tossing the rule book.  We Boomettes must blaze our own trail in this arena as in everything else that we do.  I will attempt something in a harmonizing shade, simple, classic and non-bedazzled, without as my mom put it, “old bag corsages.”

The ONLY thing that matters is that my girl has the wedding of her own dreams, not mine.  In her serene blonde beauty, she will carry with her the hopes, traditions and love from generations of family brides, past and present.  Like her bridal bouquet, she holds our hearts in her hands—the first of the 18 grandchildren to marry and the most universally beloved.  Her gentle, cerulean gaze will illuminate her hope for her future waiting for her in the handsome man awaiting her at the altar.  I will stand quietly in the wings to ensure that all goes smoothly for my daughter—my joy, our hope and our pride—on this, her wedding day.

And if I can hold it together in checkout lines, I just may make it through.


by Anne Ambuhl

Anne Ambuhl writes frequently for ACT TWO. For more of her Eye of the Beholder blog, click here.



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