• The Mother-of-The-Bride and The Mother-of-The-Groom Dress Code
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The Mother-of-The-Bride and The Mother-of-The-Groom Dress Code

Dear Didi,

What is the rule re: mother-of-the-groom’s dress? If mother-of-the-bride wears floor length, would it be ok for me to wear ankle length? Might I mention, she is tall and thin and I am short and medium frame. Should we wear the same style and fabric? Color? Colors thus far are bridesmaids in canary yellow & groomsmen in grey/silver. Thanks so much for your input, Didi! Will look forward to your reply : )

-Susie, United States

Dear Susie,

The mother-of-the-bride sets the dress code for 'The Mothers.' Think of the big picture: the wedding photos. The Mothers should wear the same length to show a sense of symmetry and compatibleness. Then, if possible, the styles should be similar, but not exactly the same. The colors would be in the same tone, but not identical. If one is wearing pastel pink, the other can wear pastel blue, yellow, green or beige. Or as in this photo, to the left of your question, where the MOB and MOG are arm-and-arm with the groom. Both mothers are wearing knee-length, silk skirt-suits, one mother is in a lovely yellow-green and the other mother is wearing a light goldenrod yellow. On the color chart, the two colors are in neighboring columns side-by-side. Back to the length, one of the mothers could be in ankle length and the other in floor length, however, again, think of the wedding photos. The difference is that one mother's shoes will be showing and the other's will not. It doesn't matter to me, it shouldn't matter to you.

~Didi

  • Planning A Long Island Summer Wedding
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Planning A Long Island Summer Wedding

Dear Didi,

We sent out the save-the-date cards for our mid-July wedding this past December and are having an engagement party the end of February given by a friend of my parents, who recently sent out his paperlesspost.com invitation. What do we need to be doing?

My parents have done much of the planning on their end. My bridesmaids want to wear their own dresses. Which may be fine, because my wedding dress is not conventional, but I’m not sure. My fiancé’s friends might wear blue blazers. This is an evening country wedding on Long Island with a rustic feel, but it is not hookey by any means. Mostly our friends, but my parents will have some guests of their own. I would appreciate your advice.

-Happy Bride, New York City

Dear Happy Bride,

It sounds as though you've allotted yourselves ample time to relax between your wedding events. Since you sent out the save-the-date cards you have no doubt been hearing from any friend and family member who will not be able to attend your wedding due to prior commitments -- babies being born, relocating to a new country, etc. It gives you space to add a few new names to your guest list, to whom you don't necessarily have to send a STD. The key here is to set up a wedding excel spread sheet with the names of your wedding guests and how many people they will be bringing, such as a new partner you hadn't counted on. Your list for the STD mailing will be the names and addresses that are the core to your wedding guest list. Set up columns for the events: engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding, thank-you note, etc. Leave space to add more columns. Putting the details of your wedding such as the itinerary, timeframe, dress codes, and bridal registry information on your wedding website will help to keep everyone in the loop. Register your wedding website on TheKnot.com to help guests find it. However, setting up a timeline to remind when various vendors need to be paid or reminded of your wedding date is rather crucial. For each vendor from florist and makeup artist to video photographer and bagpipe player, you'll need a confirmation date and reminder date. For instance, the caterer will need an exact headcount so many days out, and he'll keep you to that when charging per person. Don't forget, you'll need at least a day to assemble the invitations, stamp, and seal them. If you have the envelopes first, you can address them ahead of time or hire a calligrapher. The sooner you register your bridal registry the better. Otherwise you will start receiving candy dishes and similar knick-knacks that may not be useful in your life at this point. Take your time filling out a registry list at one or two stores that carry household item you really need for your apartment: Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath & Beyond. And perhaps another registry at either Michael A. Fina, Scully and Scully, or Tiffany & Co. for high market gifts from your parents' clients and wealthier friends. Your primary bridal registry should consist of things you use everyday. The items should be in a wide range of prices from something as useful as a measuring cup, whisk, or cookie sheet, to a mixer, juicer, toaster oven, or cookware and bakeware by Le Creuset or All-Clad. Flatwear is good to ask for because a guest can give you one place setting or two. Glasses, plates, bowls, mugs, and other sets can be shared amongst buyers when one sends you juice glasses and another wine glasses. To start, you want at the very least either six or eight pieces in most of these sets. Since your paperless post.com engagement party invitation has gone out already, you want to have thank-you notes on hand to whip off one at a time as the notices come in saying who has sent you what. You will have an option to have the store hold the items and send them all at once, or have them sent directly following the purchase. As soon as you've mailed the thank-you, mark it off on your excel spreadsheet, but remember not all guest to the engagement party will be sending a present, as they have the option of giving a combined engagement-wedding present. Next step is to put ideas together for the wedding invitation, which should reflect the formality and style of your wedding. Ideally you would order your invitation ten weeks before the wedding, but check the printers schedule, if you are having them printed. Since guests already know the date, you can send the wedding invitations out between six to four weeks prior to the wedding date. For instance, for a July 11th wedding, mail the invitations no later than June 6th. Before then you'll want to know what your bridesmaids are wearing. The image to the left of your question is my favorite photo of a non-traditional bride with her bridesmaids. It works. The coordination may be in the fact that all the bridesmaids are friends and lead the same lifestyle. If you don't think yours can pull this off, suggest that they all wear the same color dress and let them choose the style and length that suits them best. As your gift to your bridesmaids, give them all the same small evening clutch that will identify them further as being part of your bridal team. You can also choose the shoe or nail polish color for them to wear. At J.Crew weddings online you can find the same shoe in every size in one place. The groomsmen put the whole look of the wedding together because they are the ushers, the go-to-person with the flower in his button hole who is in the know. Identifying them as your husband's team can be as easy as having them all in navy blue blazers, as you said, but add dress khaki pants, certainly a wardrobe item most men wouldn't mind having to buy, if they don't already have them. Then your fiancé can give them all the same tie in one or two of the wedding colors. Most of the men will already have a decent white shirt and brown shoes. Now you see, why in terms of continuity that having common threads, such as the wedding colors appearing throughout the wedding event help to bring the look of the wedding altogether. Think of the wedding photos. In choosing two colors it makes it easier deciding the color of the table cloths, groomsmen's ties, bouquets, wedding cake, etc. By adding something such as a Photo Booth, your guests will be able to make their own party favor momento to slip into their pocket or clutch bag to take home. We're here to help.    

~Didi

  • Is It Proper to Have A Short Engagement?
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Is It Proper to Have A Short Engagement?

Dear Didi,

My boyfriend and I are feeling ready to take the next step in our relationship and get engaged. Woohoo! We are both very excited, but have not announced our plans to anyone in the family yet. We’ve talked about it and we both feel we would like to have a very simple wedding that is memorable and intimate, but most importantly completely devoid of fuss and stress for us and everyone involved. Is it rude to plan a wedding on short notice in order to make sure no one (especially our families) feel obligated to make a bigger deal out of it than we would like it to be? In other words, would it be impolite to start sending announcements and invites for a wedding that could possibly be held in only a few short months?

-Can't Hardly Wait, Rhode Island

Dear Can't Hardly Wait,

Only in Downton Abbey do engagements last two years. The more formal the wedding, the longer it takes to plan a wedding, and that includes culling resources. Since you are having a 'family' wedding with close friends and family, there are fewer details. But there is still a lot to do. The first order of business is to make up a budget before finding a venue, which often determines the date of the wedding. For a destination wedding, you would plan further out, because you would be booking a block of rooms at a resort and guests would have to buy airline tickets in advance and use vacation time from work. Even for a local or 'at home' wedding, you may have to pick a date that works better for the restaurant or clergyman. Once you've secured the venue for the wedding, if it is not a private home, you can send out a save-the-date card, which not only announces your engagement, but asks guests to reserve that date to attend your wedding. The save-the-date card guest list becomes the core of your wedding invitation list. It helps you to correct addresses and contact information. Especially when returns come in. In the meantime, you should line up commitments from essential guests. Your bridal party, those who will be standing up for you, other close friends and family, to make sure that they don't already have prior commitments for the date you have picked. If your best friend and her husband have booked the trip-of-a-lifetime to Thailand and paid a non-refundable deposit, you may wish to change your wedding date -- before sending out the save-the-date and putting the deposit down on the wedding facility. A small engagement party, held as soon as you can find someone to host it for you, would be an easy way to find out from friends and family about any huge commitments any of them may have in the near future. For instance if someone has committed to being a groomsmen in another wedding or your matron-of-honor is having a baby. An engagement party can be a simple brunch, a cocktail party with a bite to eat, or anything in between. Planning two wedding dates at the start would make it easier should you find you need to switch to another date. During this small gathering you and your fiancé can find out what elements and information people may volunteer. Such as a person who will do the the flowers, a caterer, makeup artist, photographer, DJ. Cull a bunch of ideas from your friends and family -- and don't be timid about asking for help. You'll find people will be thrilled for you and will want to contribute any way they can. Start an excel spreadsheet for your invitation list to keep pertinent details in one place that is easy to update. Set up a wedding website as a source for family and friends to find updates on the particulars of your wedding. For instance, where to find your bridal registry, as well as the venue, date, time, and dress code for your wedding. We are here to help you and your fiancé. You are welcome to ask as many questions as you wish.

~Didi

  • Wedding Guest Dress Code Mexico City — January — Noon until Midnight
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Wedding Guest Dress Code Mexico City — January — Noon until Midnight

Dear Didi,

The wedding starts at noon and it will be non stop until midnight. The ceremony will be exactly at 13:00, then a cocktail hour before lunch, lunch (lunch time in Mexico city could go between 2-4:30), then the party for 500 guests, and for the few still left after dinner there will be a dinner snack, so it goes non-stop until almost midnight.

Winter is not really cold in Mexico City it is just that this place is close to the woods and it is super windy, even during the spring. Is bright green emerald a color for this season to wear at night? Should I match it with black or nude shoes? How about a navy gown, is it too dark to wear for the ceremony in the daytime? I don’t want to look overdressed with a gown at a formal wedding?

I’m also considering a couple of red dresses I have, one is halter mermaid-style with an uneven hemline and the other one is a midi- strapless with a black ribbon that separates the chest from the skirt (imperial style). I have both short or long black and camel coats. I also have silver shoes. My husband is going to wear a gray suit (lighter than gray oxford) with a yellow tie.

I’m 32 and 5’2″ and size 0 just in case it helps with your advice. I would appreciate your advice on what you consider to be my best options.

-Monica, Mexico City, Mexico

Dear Monica,

Your choice of jewel tones is flattering and trendy. Since the formal part of the wedding is early in the day you would wear black shoes or shoes the color of the dress -- which looks more amethyst than navy in the photo you sent -- with a long coat. The length of the coat should be the same as the length of the dress. Wear the emerald dress at night with the silver colored or nude shoes -- nude is more fun and youthful. Don't wear the mermaid dress because it sounds like an evening gown, whereas your navy dress looks more like a bridesmaid-style dress -- perfect for a wedding guest. Don't wear a red dress because sometimes a bride in Mexico will wear a red dress either for the ceremony or change into red for the reception. You never want to wear white or red to a wedding in Mexico out of respect for the bride on her wedding day. Personally, what I simply love for a nighttime reception for a young woman your age is a knee-length chiffon in a print such as the one to the left of your question. Chiffon looks so lovely on the dance floor and florals are on trend. You need not worry about being cold as there will most likely be outdoor heaters or you'll be inside a heated tent. With 500 guests attending, you won't be cold on the dance floor.

~Didi

  • Chicago Wedding Guest Dress Code 5:00 in February — Suits and Dresses
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Chicago Wedding Guest Dress Code 5:00 in February — Suits and Dresses

Dear Didi,

I am invited to my nephew’s wedding at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois which will be at 5 p.m. in February. What should I wear? The invitation doesn’t specify.

-Belinda, Wedding in Chicago

Dear Belinda,

When the wedding invitation does not call for Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code is Suits & Dresses. That means your best cocktail attire. A fabulous knee-length cocktail dress or dressy skirt-suit, with beautiful shoes and an elegantly small evening bag would be appropriate for a Chicago wedding in February. To illustrate the kinds of dresses -- along with accessories -- trending for women over forty attending an early evening wedding in the Chicago area, go to Halsbrook.com and look for these dresses: Piazza Sempione: Stretch Wool Lace Yoke Dress Armani Collezioni:  Navy Silk Gathered Waist Dress Maxmara:  Agente Wool-Blend Dress Elie Tahari: Holland Crepe Shift Dress We're here to help, but we give better answers when we have more details.

~Didi

  • Mother-of-The Bride 2:00PM September Las Vegas Destination Wedding
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Mother-of-The Bride 2:00PM September Las Vegas Destination Wedding

Dear Didi,

I am having a destination wedding in Las Vegas at 2pm in September and was wondering what my mom should wear. She keeps sending me photos of full length formal dresses while my stepdad (her Husband) asked if he could wear his jeans and cowboy boots. Please help!

-vegas bound, Florida

Dear vegas bound,

The solution is to have your mother look online at special occasion jackets by Maria Pucci to wear with either a below the knee skirt or pants. The coral mother-of-the-bride jacket to the left is very popular and also comes in other colors and styles. This is the kind of jacket your mother will cherish having in her wardrobe to dress up or dress down. Go to maria_pucci.com and look at the various length jackets in a wonderful assortment of  flattering colors and styles, such as  Charleston, Braga, Newport, Verdano. There is a special occasion jacket for every body type. The quality fabric and design, as well as the 3/4 length sleeve, make this fabulously chic jacket the go-to-outfit for many different kinds of special occasions in different climates. In a jacket like this, your mother will look stunning on the arm of your step-father at your destination wedding, -- who will be happily wearing his jeans and cowboy boots. Please, let us know if this might be a good look for your mom. We're here to help.            

~Didi

  • Mother-of-The-Bride Early in The Day Tennessee Fall Wedding
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Mother-of-The-Bride Early in The Day Tennessee Fall Wedding

Dear Didi,

What is the most appropriate length for the mother-of-the-bride’s dress taking place early in the day. The wedding will take place in Tennessee in the fall.

-Lexi's Mom, Georgia

Dear Lexi's Mom,

The earlier in the day the wedding ceremony the less dressy the dress code for everyone, including the mother-of-the-bride. Here to the left is a celery colored, three-piece, knee-length outfit with 3/4-sleeves, which I found online at Dillard's for your early in the day Tennessee wedding in the fall. It also come in a lovely fall jewel blue. At the Dillard's website look for Mother-of-the-Bride to see other outfits that would be appropriate for you. Also, at Nordstrom's look for a dusty pink dress, or for later in the fall a taupe dress, as in the Sue Wong's Ribbon Trim Illusion Bodice Dress at Nordstrom, also in the Mother-of-the-Bride section.

~Didi

  • Wedding Guest Dress Code Houston TX 5:00PM
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Wedding Guest Dress Code Houston TX 5:00PM

Dear Didi,

We are invited to a semi-formal, 5 o’clock wedding in March, in Houston, TX. Is it ok to wear a black cocktail dress?

-CW, Texas

Dear CW,

For a semi-informal five o'clock wedding, your little black dress should be dressy enough to look special through either the luxury fabric, design or special elements. Ideally all three, or at least two out of three. Because it is a wedding, the dress wouldn't be a mini; it would fall just above your knee or just below. Houston is a dressy city, so wear your best jewels and highest heels.

~Didi

  • Mother-of-the-Bride Dress Code 5:00PM
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Mother-of-the-Bride Dress Code 5:00PM

Dear Didi,

My outdoor wedding will be on the 30th of May with a 5pm ceremony and a reception dinner dance immediately following. It is a semi-formal affair and my mother prefers a long, taupe, chiffon and lace dress (she has very thin legs) with sleeves. My bridesmaids will wear a light pink chiffon dress with a lace bodice. Do you have any other suggestions for my mother, please?

What we are looking for is a long dress that looks soft and feminine that is also sophisticated. Unfortunately, the mother-of-the-groom has already purchased a beige knee-length, sleeveless, lace dress. Should we now focus mainly on knee or tea-length dresses for my mother and the other ladies?

-Anonymous, Washington DC

Dear Anonymous,

The mother-of-the bride sets the dress code for the other "mothers" -- mother-of-the-groom, stepmothers, aunts, godmothers, grandmothers, etc. What I want you to do is to look ahead at the big picture. Meaning the wedding photos. You really want "the mothers" in the same length and in a similar style, but wearing different colors (and not the wedding colors). In a perfect world, to get in front of this problem, the two mothers would have met for lunch to come to an agreement on the style, length and color of the dress each had in mind to wear, and then worked out a compromise. If the mother-of-the-groom won't exchange the cocktail dress and is stuck on a knee-length dress, then won't she feel awkward seeing your mother in an evening gown? As the hostess, your mother should bow to the MOG's choice of length -- unless the bridesmaids are wearing long dresses. Perhaps the MOG can wear her short dress to the rehearsal dinner. Is it possible to suggest that? There are so many aspects to a wedding that you really want consistency throughout every element. Which is why, for instance, the wedding couple chooses two wedding colors and one style. For you the style is semi-formal, but as you know, semi-formal can go long or short. Please, do not consider tea-length, because it is only for tea dances or beach parties, and this is your wedding. The midi-length also gives the impression the woman is shorter in height than she actually is, because it cuts her calves in half. In a way, it was your mother's job to tell the MOG what length she was planning on wearing and then follow up with the style and color once she found her dress. So the MOG is not entirely in the wrong, although she should have asked your mother about length before buying her dress. The most important thing about a wedding is that the MOB is in charge of making good memories. Mothers are the memory makers and keepers. By stirring the pot with the MOG she would be creating a bad memory for both families. The mothers' choice of dress colors, taupe and beige, are OK, however, the short dress is clearly a cocktail length and your mother's is more in keeping with a dinner-dance dress -- because its more formal. What they have in common is hue, but what will be apparent in the photos is the difference in length. You have time on your side. It wouldn't be awful if they wore dresses in different lengths, but it would be better if both dresses had sleeves, or didn't have sleeves, and that their dresses were approximately the same length. We're here to help.

~Didi

  • Groom and Groomsmen Dress Code for Memorial Day Virginia Semi-Formal 5:00PM Wedding
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Groom and Groomsmen Dress Code for Memorial Day Virginia Semi-Formal 5:00PM Wedding

Dear Didi,

My outdoor wedding will be on the 30th of May with a 5pm ceremony. It is a semi-formal affair. What is appropriate for the groom and groomsmen to wear, color wise? Any suggestions?

-Coralyn, Northern Virginia

Dear Coralyn,

When the groom and his groomsmen are not wearing standard tuxedos with black bow-ties, they could wear dark suits -- either navy blue, black or charcoal grey -- or khaki suits. Worn with a collared white shirt (not button down) and a solid tie in one of the wedding colors, they will look stunning in the formal photos. Another look we like for men in the wedding party, is navy blue blazers with either grey flannels or dress khaki trousers, also with while collared shirts, but with a striped tie in two of the wedding colors. If it were summer, they could of course wear navy blue blazers with white trousers or white dinner jackets with tuxedo trousers. But end of May is still spring and the look to the left here is ideal for an informal spring wedding in northern Virginia. Usually the groom talks to his father/step-father and the other groomsmen to determine the dress code for the men in the wedding party. Sometimes it is easier for everyone to rent the same style tuxedo. In other situations, most of the men may already have khaki suits or navy blue blazers -- and your fiancé can give them all his choice of tie as his gift to the groomsmen. For more info on dress code for the men in the wedding party, see my write-ups here at NewportManners.com. Type in a search for: Dress Code for Men in The Wedding Party Destination Summer Florida Wedding Dress Code Barbados Destination Formal Wedding (which is actually semi-formal)  

~Didi