With a limited number of designers and labels producing mother of the bride/groom dresses’, it can make it especially challenging to find the perfect gown. If you’re a mother and you’re struggling to find a beautiful and elegant outfit to wear on your child’s wedding, then you’re definitely not alone. Quite often off-the-rack gowns are not designed for mothers or women of an older age bracket which means you are often forced into looking at general formal and occasion-wear that just doesn’t suit your body, skin complexion, formality, season or wedding theme. As designers, we always hear that there is just nothing suitable or wedding-worthy out on the market. It’s quite common to find a selection of gowns that range from too-revealing, youth-inspired silhouettes, to old-fashioned and rather frumpy. A great alternative could be opting for a beautifully hand-crafted custom-made gown. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite ideas, to inspire you!
Designer: Alex Evenings
1.THE CAPE ADDITION
Over the past couple of years, the cape feature has dominated the bridal market, with brides opting for a gorgeous detachable feature to complete their look. But don’t worry mothers, this trend isn’t just for the bride. We can expect to see this stunning feature incorporated into formal occasion-wear from sophisticated jumpsuits, classy cocktail dresses, to regal full-length gowns and so much more. This simple addition is a great way to add a touch of formality and elegance to any gown. The cape is often created from a beautiful soft and sheer material such as a pure silk chiffon, georgette, tulle or organza (for a little more drama and volume). The cape can come in various designs, cuts and lengths, depending on your personal preference, height and formality of the wedding. A popular design for mothers is to opt for a soft silk chiffon fabric and to have this gorgeous material drape seamlessly from the shoulders to the floor. For mothers wanting to add a bit of coverage, this is an extremely versatile feature which can also be used to wrap around your arms like a silky shawl. Another way to utilise this stunning addition, is to tie the two pieces of fabric into a gorgeous knot or bow at the back. It may be simple but this contemporary feature is a playful and classy design that looks incredibly stunning in photos.
Designer: Nicole Sposa via MODwedding
2.SOPHISTICATED AND STRUCTURED
Dressing for a formal wedding can sometimes be a challenge as most mothers will often immediately feel the need to add a touch of lace to fit the brief. A great way to add a formal touch to your look is to opt for a gorgeous, good quality material with a simplistic design on the bodice. There is no need to cover your whole gown in lace, sparkle or expensive embellishments if this isn’t your thing. There’s no denying that a full skirt can make a statement, but it’s quite common to feel a little hesitant to opt for such a voluminous skirt as a mother. Consider a gorgeous A-line style cut which will allow you to move comfortably throughout the day and night. A structured fabric such as a grace satin, Mikado, zibeline, duchess and queen satin are the perfect options to achieve this silhouette. A pleated or ruched feature around the waist can give you the illusion of a slimmer figure, along with adding a touch of interest and elegance. For mothers wanting to incorporate a bit of lace, consider appliqueing a beautiful embroidered or corded lace onto your sheer sleeves and top. You can also transition this slightly into the skirt to make it a little more regal.
3.CLASSY AND CASUAL
Finding a gown that is casual and still acceptable for a wedding or formal function, is not easy. Whether your child is getting married on a tropical beach, overseas or in a simple garden estate, we have found the perfect gown that ticks all the boxes. This gorgeous Rhea Costa design screams elegance and class, without the need for added embellishments or laces. The wrap style gown is a beautiful and flattering silhouette for weddings of a less formal nature. The cross-over design at the waist, often features a simple bow or knot that drapes seamlessly along the hips. To add a touch of formality, consider a gorgeous sateen fabric. A simple design should always feature an extremely good quality fabric, as that is the key to executing the perfect fit and look. A satin crepe, silk faille, grace satin or queen satin are beautiful options to re-create a stunning wrap style gown with a touch of shine. For mothers wanting a little more coverage on their arms, consider a ¾ length sleeve. A fitted silhouette with a touch of drapery and ruching along the arms, is the perfect way to add a little more interest and sophistication to your outfit. You can even add a beaded motif on the shoulder for anyone who loves a touch of sparkle and glam. Remember that a casual wedding doesn’t mean plain and boring so have fun with the silhouette.
Designer: Rhea Costa
4.LESS IS MORE
Are you after a modern and classy gown? Then look no further. This stunning soft A-line is the perfect balance of formal and elegant. A common mistake that most mothers make when designing their custom gown, is feeling the need to wear an abundance of lace to look and feel beautiful and glamorous. Our best advice is to remember that less is more when designing a gown for any formal function. This soft A-line design hugs the body tightly at the waist before draping naturally from the hips. It’s a great way to show off your figure whilst still hiding those common areas of concerns such as the lower stomach, hips and thighs. Opting for two different fabrics can be a great way to add interest and contrast into a gown, without needing all the added bling and applique. Fabrics such as a velvet and satin look incredibly gorgeous together. To add a little more wow factor and regality into your bridal look, consider adding some ruching on the bodice or bridal tucks and pleats into the side or back of your skirt. A small sweep train (30cm to 50cm) can also be an easy way to turn this simple gown into a real showstopper.
Designer: Tadashi Shoji
5.FORMAL BEACH DAYWEAR
Are you on the hunt for the perfect summer beach wedding attire? Finding a gown for a beach wedding that doesn’t resemble typical race-wear or cocktail apparel isn’t always easy. This gorgeous bodycon, knee-length gown is perfect for the sandy beaches where comfortability and functionality is a must. When opting for any figure-hugging gown, it’s always important to ensure that it has some form of stretch and elastane. This will allow you to easily move and bend without restriction. A great feature to incorporate into your beach outfit is a cap sleeve. The cap sleeve is a great way to provide coverage whilst also combatting that warmth Summer sunshine. For a little more formality consider utilising a gorgeous lace or mesh fabric or extend the sleeve slightly and opt for a sheer, soft, chiffon. When creating a summer gown, it’s important that your fabrics are natural fibres such as a silk or cotton as they won’t encourage perspiration due to their breathable nature. For mothers wanting to add a little more interest and character into their summer outfit, utilise a fabric with a gorgeous print or consider a stunning textured jacquard or brocade. These fabrics both showcase stunning patterns and intricate details without the expensive price-tag of a lace.
Designer: Sonia Pena
6.A TOUCH OF LACE
When opting for a lace, it’s important to consider, the formality of the wedding, the dress shape and how much you would like to showcase in your custom gown. For a sophisticated and modern look, opt for a gorgeous floral embroidered lace or a corded design. For a more vintage and antique look, consider a delicate Chantilly lace or a thick guipure lace. When using a lace, it’s always important to showcase the detail and pattern as best as possible. Utilise a slightly different colour base underneath the lace to really showcase the design. Another great way is to not line the sleeves, as the lace will stand out beautifully against your natural skin. If you love the look of lace but you’re not so keen on the full lace gowns, then a great way to incorporate this stunning fabric is by featuring it on your bodice and having it transition slightly down onto your skirt. A great tip is to opt for a lace that has an organic edge or scalloping as this can be used in so many ways, from the border of your neckline, to the edge of your sleeves/cuffs, to the hem of your skirt or a lace feature around the waistline.
Designer: JD Williams
A TOUCH OF SPARKLE
To all our sparkle-loving mothers out there, this gown is the perfect one for you. Sparkle is a great way to add a real formal and glamorous element into your gown, but it can also be very easy to over-do it when opting for a whole heap of beads and sequins. When opting for a touch of sparkle or embellishment it is always best to keep the dress shape as simple as possible. With such an extravagant fabric, it’s important to allow that to shine. A fit and flare or column style gown that shows off your figure and hugs your curves is a beautiful way to wear anything with a touch of bling. Remember the more fullness in your skirt, the more fabric required which ultimately means a bigger price-tag and a heavier gown. Another gorgeous feature to complete this shimmery look is the V neckline. The V-neckline is one of the world’s most flattering designs and is suitable for anyone with a medium to bigger bust. For ladies with a smaller bust, consider a contemporary and classy square neckline to complete your look. Both look incredibly stunning and very modern. For added coverage consider an elbow length angel sleeve for a touch of drama and sophistication.
Designer: Unknown. Picture via: Pinterest
8.FLOWY, FORMAL AND FABULOUS
To all our mothers who aren’t a fan of the figure-hugging gowns or the sleeveless designs, this gown is the one for you. This gorgeous gown features a soft, flowy skirt which is often made from a silk chiffon or georgette. When opting for a flowy skirt the fabric is often gathered at the waistline to achieve a slight fullness and movement in the skirt, however it’s important to keep in mind that gathering at the waistline can often add extra bulk and puffiness around the stomach which is not always flattering. To avoid this, ensure your dressmaker cuts the skirt on a flared full circle pattern. This can often require slightly more fabric but it can eliminate the extra volume around the stomach and achieve a soft and flowy skirt. Another great feature is to showcase a fitted waistline with a draped or cowl neckline. This contrast is a great way to showcase a little bit of your figure and give you some shape which flowy gowns can often hide. Similarly to this, when opting for a puffy balloon style sleeve it can be nice to have a fitted cuff. This can add a real touch of class and sophistication to complete your look.
Designer: Unknown. Picture via: Pinterest
9.BOTANICAL GARDEN THEME
Are you attending a garden wedding and really want to dress the part? Okay, so we know it’s not completely necessary to wear a whole heap of flowers on your gown but with a gown as beautiful and dreamy as this, why wouldn’t you want to? Wearing 3d florals can sometimes be challenging as the three-dimensional element can often add extra bulk and highlight areas that you don’t want to accentuate. When incorporating this gorgeous and feminine feature on your gown it’s best to opt for a soft A-line or flowy skirt and lightly scatter the design throughout. Use various sized flowers and different shades to achieve a genuine bespoke finish. When covering 3d florals on a tight fitted silhouette or bodice, always opt for a smaller and slightly flatter 3d pattern. Large and voluminous flowers are most flattering on the skirt of your gown instead of on the top. To add an extra wow factor, consider adding an intricate embroidered leaf lace to complete your garden theme gown. Another great tip to complete this dreamy and romantic dress is to applique the gorgeous flowers on a sheer fabric such as a silk organza or tulle. For extra coverage consider a soft balloon style sleeve.
Designer: Reem Acra
10.POLKA DOTS AND TULLE
Just because it’s a wedding doesn’t mean you have to feature lace or sequins all over your custom piece. In fact, it’s super elegant to opt for a simplistic silhouette with a gorgeous fabric and cut. A tea length gown is a versatile length, suitable for almost every height and body shape, along with various occasions and wedding themes. Opt for a soft fabric such as a satin crepe, silk faille or stretch silk to achieve this dreamy, flowy skirt. Sheer patterned overlays and tulle overlays are a great way to modernise your gown and make it truly one of a kind. Our favourite look would have to be this stunning hail spot addition. This gorgeous polka dot tulle is a soft and sheer material that is utilised over the top of any skirt, gown or even as sleeves. Instead of opting for heavy beads and pearls, this polka dot look can make for a great alternative and is a lot more affordable and lightweight. To add a touch of formality, consider adding a luxurious silk satin band or belt around the waistline or a gorgeous statement bow at the back of the gown for a little more fun and uniqueness.
Designer: Sau Lee
11.PULL OFF A PATTERN
Wearing a pattern can sometimes be daunting, especially if you’re not quite sure what colour or design will suit you and your body shape. Firstly, don’t be afraid to speak to your designer and dressmaker about what specific designs would be most flattering for you. Secondly, when opting for a pattern a great tip is to try and keep the colours as limited as possible. The more colour in your gown, the more overwhelming and overpowering the look will be. A pattern on a sheer fabric is always a great idea to tone down the look slightly and to add a touch of contrast between the solid part of your gown and the sheer sleeves that showcase your skin. Another great tip is to have the sheer pattern extend beyond the neckline (so slightly higher than the base dress or slip). This looks incredibly classy and elegant and can add a little interest into your gown, along with accentuating the décolletage area. When searching for the perfect sheer patterned fabric, keep an eye out for patterned organza’s, patterned silk chiffon and patterned georgette. To really showcase that gorgeous pattern, extend it slightly beyond the length of your base dress.
12.THE VERSATILE ALL-SEASON COAT
Let’s face it, we often put so much thought into our main outfit that we can sometimes forget about coats, jackets and overlays for the day. But fear not, we have found the perfect all-season coat suitable for all weddings from the cool Winter breeze, to the Summer heat. A mid-thigh cut is a great length that is super flattering and can even elongate the figure. When opting for a coat and jacket, it’s always a great idea to add some sleeves. But when custom designing, it’s always important to consider the length of the sleeves of your dress or undergarment. This will affect how long or short your jacket sleeves should be. Another great feature to add to your custom coat is a couple of pockets. Afterall, who doesn’t love a pocket? Quite often gowns and skirts will not feature this handy element, so incorporating it into your coat/jacket could be more beneficial than you think. In terms of fabrics, it’s quite common for mothers to opt for lace but this can sometimes be quite an expensive option. Alternatively, consider a gorgeous textured jacquard or brocade. Both fabrics showcase a subtle and intricate pattern, perfect to add a little interest without clashing with your dress underneath. Another fabulous option is a plain silk dupion, satin crepe or silk faille.
Designer: Sonia Pena
ARE YOU ON THE HUNT FOR THE PERFECT OUTFIT TO WEAR TO YOUR CHILDS’ WEDDING AND YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE YOUR VERY OWN CUSTOM GOWN? Contact d’Italia Bridal Couture today, for your free in-store design consultation and our over the phone styling advice service from our lovely team of designers!