A wedding is a big deal for the bride, for sure, but for many moms, it’s almost equally demanding. The typical mother of the bride or groom may spend months helping the couple plan their dream wedding. Guests lists, showers, receptions, rehearsal dinners, and hundreds of other details take up so much space on a mom’s calendar and in her head. And all the while, she’s wondering, “Yikes! What am I going to wear?” J. Andrew’s Bridal + Formal mother’s stylist Teresa Buoch helps us solve this dilemma with a guide to mother’s wedding outfits.
“I have a heart for mothers,” says Teresa. “They are always doing everything for their children first.”But when moms come for a consulting appointment with Teresa, it’s one-on-one, well-deserved, and often overdue “me” time.
“I love the opportunity to work with mothers because they have put everything about the wedding — brides, grooms, planning, etc. — before themselves and now it is their turn,” Teresa explains. “Whether or not it is ‘saving the best for last’ or just part of being a mother, their day has come and I get the pleasure of helping them.”
Teresa loves to take a mother and “outfit her from head to toe,” helping her select a dress, jewelry, and shoes. An appointment begins with determining the bride’s preferences.
“My first questions are ‘has she told you whether or not you can wear long or short’ and ‘has she given you a color,’” Teresa explains. Next, she asks about the mom’s likes and dislikes as far as necklines, sleeves, comfort zones, bling, areas of her body she’s worried about, and her budget. Then, she says, “I start pulling dresses.”
“One of my main priorities is that my mothers are completely comfortable in their dresses, not just in terms of physical comfort but the style as well,” Teresa stresses. “On average, the mother will be in her wedding attire 10 hours on the day of the wedding, so it is very important that she is totally comfortable from head to toe. She will enjoy the occasion so much more when she feels good about herself.”
Teresa has been a consultant to brides and mothers at J. Andrew’s for nine years. A year ago, salon owner Jean Leaming deepened her commitment to moms and named Teresa the salon’s Mother’s Stylist. Teresa brings an extensive background in art and television wardrobing to the task. She is an expert at choosing styles and colors that work best with each mother’s body type and complexion.
Often, moms are worried about looking matronly or having unattractive arms. These are the two concerns Teresa hears most. The extensive inventory of dresses at J. Andrew’s easily allays both of these fears. “We have so many beautiful dresses,” Teresa says. “Jean chooses very upscale, forward looks. There are no ‘old lady mother of the bride’ dresses here.”
J. Andrew’s designers include C20, Cameron Blake, Daymore Couture, and Jasmine, as well as Mon Cheri’s Capri, Montage and Social Occasions lines. A stunning selection of cap, lace, and illusion sleeves are elegant adornments for arms that have carried brides and grooms for years.
One of the things moms may not think about is allowing enough time to find the perfect dress. In fact, this can be a real concern. Teresa recommends mothers choose a dress at least three months in advance. “Mothers often don’t realize that their dresses need to be ordered too, and it takes an average of three to 12 weeks to get their dresses in,” Teresa explains.
Having a realistic budget is important too. Mothers’ dresses at J. Andrew’s range from $275 to $1,000, with the average price between $450 and $600. For the mom who struggles to justify this expense, Teresa notes that, in addition to the priceless family portraits that will be made on this day, many of J. Andrew’s Dupioni silk dresses can be shortened and worn again to church, luncheons or other functions. Teresa also stresses the importance of spending time with a stylist.
J. Andrew’s is expanding the mother’s area to include more space and a private mothers’ dressing room. “We’re giving mothers the same one-on-one attention that our brides receive,” Teresa notes. Appointments usually run an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the mother’s schedule. The main thing moms should bring to an appointment, Teresa says, is a willingness to try anything, “because a hanger does not really show what the dress looks like.”
Teresa uses clips to create temporary alterations and demonstrate the final fitted look, which provides an opportunity to snap photos and text or email them to loved ones for instant feedback.
“It’s a very enjoyable hour or so,” Teresa says. “Our mothers feel great when they leave our shop.”
J. Andrews carries a line of shoes designed by a competitive ballroom dancer that can be worn comfortably for up to 18 hours. Not only is this an investment a mother will be glad she made on the wedding day, Teresa says, if she purchases a pair in a neutral color or black, she can have happy feet at special occasions for the next decade.
Photos by Marie Thomas