I Don't Like the Dress My Mom Wants to Wear for My Wedding—What Should I Do?

mother-of-the-bride dress etiquette

Photo: Jose Villa

Choosing your own wedding dress is hard enough, but somehow, deciding what your mom should wear can sometimes be even more stressful. What should you do when your mom picks out an unflattering dress to wear to your wedding? Our etiquette experts are here to answer your sticky-situation questions in our daily post.

I really dislike the dress my mom bought to wear for my wedding, but I don't want to hurt her feelings. What should I do?

To be honest, it would have been nice if she had asked you about the dress first, before she went ahead and purchased it. What is it about the dress you don't like? If you were hoping for a color that better complemented the wedding party's attire, perhaps it can be professionally dyed? If it's because the dress is ill-fitting or overly matronly (or overly sexy!), research a specialty tailor in your mother's region and kindly offer helpful suggestions on how it can be altered to be more flattering. But if you feel the dress is simply unsuitable, gently ask if she wouldn't mind returning it so that you can shop for a new one together. Then, try to make the shopping outing as fun and relaxing as possible—limit yourselves to just two or three stores (any more would be too much) and be sure to stop at a nearby restaurant for lunch or dessert (or champagne!) so that you can discuss the different options you've seen and enjoy each other's company. Make sure she understands that you just want her to be comfortable and to look her best—after all, your mom is going to be in the spotlight on the wedding day, too.

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