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Attire Basics for the Bride and Groom’s Parents

Image by Paul Schultz on FlickrWhen it comes to weddings these days, it seems like anything goes. There are so many different ways to make a wedding unique. One thing that hasn’t really changed over the years is the protocol for the bride and groom’s parents. These four special people (and maybe even more due to remarriages) are always dressed elegantly and in an understated way. So before you start purchasing your wedding favors and other wedding ceremony accessories, make sure that you dress your bridal party first!

If you are the father of the bride or the groom, you have it easy. A tuxedo is the way to go. Most fathers are naturally included in the tuxedo planning along with the groom, groomsmen, and ushers. Add one more tux for dad and for the soon-to-be father-in-law and the men are all set. Usually, shoes can be rented at the same time that the tuxedos are. This saves a lot of hassle trying to run around and shop for appropriate shoes for all the men. Of course, if none of the men are going to be wearing tuxedos at the bride and groom’s request, it’s fine for both of the fathers to come in a dark suit that is pressed and includes a crisp, white-collared shirt underneath. A standard silk tie will do. Aim for the dads to be dressed as upscale as the other people in the wedding party.

Now, when it comes to the ladies, things are a little more complicated. Many brides will choose to go with tuxedos for all the men. But then what do the two moms wear? It’s traditionally been the bride’s mother who gets to set the tone for their attire. She is given the opportunity to choose her dress first, and then let the groom know. Since often the bride and groom live out of state and the parents may not really know their new in-laws all that well, it’s appropriate for the groom to mention to his own mother what the bride’s mother has chosen to wear. That is what tradition dictates.

As for what the mother of the bride or the groom’s mother will actually wear, that’s a place where creativity can come in. No longer are mothers required to dress in dowdy dresses that age them. Typically, mother-of-the-bride dresses had been more mature and were not very fashionable. Today’s mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom have the whole world to pick from when it comes to their attire. A dress is usually the way most of these important ladies go. But there’s nothing wrong with a tailored pant suit either. Visit bridal shops to get ideas, but in no way are you limited to purchasing from the small supply of dresses for the moms. Go to any boutique and you will find dresses that are suitable for the moms.

Where it was once expected that the mothers would choose shades of pastel or peach, now anything goes. The one real rule to stick to is not to outshine the bride. You want to know what the bride is wearing in advance and then choose based on that. If it’s a super casual wedding, the moms shouldn’t wear sequins. But if it’s very upscale and elegant, they should look the part as well.

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