Lori Allen, the charismatic star of Say Yes To The Dress: Atlanta, is an expert on all things bridal. She's owned Bridals by Lori, an upscale bridal salon in Georgia since 1980, and has helped thousands of brides find their dream gowns. But after working in the wedding industry for forty years, she's developed another area of expertise: mothers of the bride and groom.
As a mother herself, Allen knows what it is like firsthand to have children, raise them, watch them leave the nest and head down the aisle. In turn, she's also witnessed and experienced the unexpected consequence of getting older (and perhaps the instincts of a mother) and that is constantly putting others before oneself. What MOB and MOG can't relate?!
Meet the Expert
But at 61-years-old, Allen is helping mothers of the bride and groom get their mojo back in her new (and first!) book, Say Yes To What's Next, available on July 14, 2020. "I see that mother of the bride or that mother of the groom every day and I feel like this tribe of women is unappreciated," she exclusively tells Brides. "We give and we give and we give and [we] keep putting ourselves on the backburner."
If the subtitle, "How to Age with Elegance and Class While Never Losing Your Beauty and Sass," doesn't give it away, the book is focused around a simple analogy: Allen sees life as a cookie and wants to savor every last crumb, and strives to help other women do the same. "When you get up to 50, you have about a quarter of this cookie left and how are [you] going to spend this last quarter of [your] life," she poses.
I want this woman to take a look at herself as far as her passions go and ask herself if she's living her passion.
Tackling everything from self-care to finances, Say Yes To What's Next is full of personal stories from Allen as a woman, business owner, daughter, and mother. "I brought up everything that I felt was pertinent to a woman who is over 45. I want this woman to take a look at herself as far as her passions go and ask herself if she's living her passion. We've got this quarter cookie left—we have to make sure that we’re happy, that we’re living our passion."
Of course, the lessons taught and the advice given by Allen go beyond a woman's duty at her child's wedding. But, there are certain mantras that every MOB and MOG should live by during wedding planning. Because while your daughter or son is the VIP of the wedding, you're the guest of honor—and you should treat yourself as such!
Invest In Yourself
When it comes to weddings, the bridal gown is probably the first thing to come to mind. But as a proud mother, your attire should make you feel equally as fabulous (without stealing the bride's thunder, of course). At Bridals by Lori, Allen has too often seen mothers head straight to the sale rack for their own wedding attire. "[It is] almost like she [feels] not worthy," realizes Allen.
And while that is just one example, Allen seeks to make "women stop and think and say, 'Hey, I'm worthy.'" And when it comes to your son or daughter's wedding day, choosing an outfit you love is the perfect place to start.
While Allen has an entire chapter dedicated to self-care in Say Yes, the sentiment is simple: Self-care is more than just starting a skincare regimen or new beauty routine—it is truly about doing whatever makes you feel good.
"When you feel better about yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, everything's going to be better. It all is going to fall into place," she says. So get that manicure before each wedding event, give yourself time with the hair and makeup artist the morning of the nuptials, and perhaps most importantly, don't be afraid to take a break from wedding planning when you want to!
Channel Your Former Bride
Remember that giddy feeling you had when you wore your own white gown down the aisle? Allen knows that experience all too well, as she witnesses it every day at her own bridal salon, saying, "I see that bride that is so confident and can't wait to get in that gown and she feels fabulous about herself and her future." Mothers of the bride and groom should channel those feelings of excitement and pride every single day.
Craving more mantras and lessons for the rest of your life cookie? Order Say Yes To What's Next here. And let Allen be your inspiration. She has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. "I want to enjoy this time to the last crumb—I want to leave this world saying I did everything that I wanted to do and I lived my life with passion."