“I just don’t want to look like a grandma,” a mother-of-the-bride recently told me. With her daughter’s wedding quickly approaching in October, she’d spent the past two months searching store racks to find the best dress for the occasion. But while several shops offered Mother-of-the-Bride gowns, she didn’t want to buy a dress that left her feeling outdated, older than her age, and self-conscious on such a special day.

Moms, while this is your daughter’s special day, you deserve to look your best too. Today, we’re dedicating this article to you. As your daughter’s Las Vegas wedding comes closer, take these tips to heart to find the best dress for you.

Mother-of-the-bride Hillary Clinton at Chelsea's Wedding
Mother-of-the-Bride Hillary Clinton opted for bold color and modern design.

#1  Ask your daughter for her vision: Know what the bride expects before you buy a dress. If you disagree with her decision, try to compromise. Be honest about how you feel, and be sensitive to your daughter’s wishes too. Together, find a style that will match her vision and let you wear a dress in your price range that makes you feel beautiful.

#2  Blend with the bridal party: Find a dress that complements the color scheme for the bridal party. For formal photographs, the bride will want everyone’s outfits to work together to create a polished look. Moms, just remember: No all-white dresses. Sorry, brides only.

#3  Look for the occasion: Plan your attire based on the event’s formality. To do this, consider the venue, the time of the wedding (morning, afternoon, or evening), and the wedding’s tone (as established by décor, invitations, and bridal party attire). Keep in mind the dress’ fabric, length, and neckline can determine its formality too.

Mother-of-the-Bride Carole Middleton chose an elegant outfit that showed her shape and fit the formal occasion.

#4  Reflect your personal style: As you narrow your dress options, look for a dress that fits your body type and personal style. Yes, even with the tone of the wedding and your daughter’s insight in mind, your dress can reflect you.

#5  Choose ease of movement: As Mom, you’ll probably have to do a bit of hands-on work at the wedding. Whether you’re helping your daughter into her wedding dress or picking up after the reception, consider how much movement your dress allows. Many Moms opt for full-range of movement by buying a sleeveless dress, which they can pair with a bolero for added modesty during the ceremony and formal photos.

#6  Accent your best features: Rather than focus on what you want to hide about your body, turn your attention to accenting your best features. Have a slim waist? Draw attention with a belt or ruching. Love your smooth shoulders? Try a dress without sleeves. Boast a strong neckline? Try a gown with a v-neckline. Like your legs? Pair a knee-length dress with subtly sexy shoes to showcase what you’ve got. Yes, you want to be modest. But you don’t have to look matronly either. Find what you like best about your body (ask your husband or daughter for their input too), and accent that with your dress.

#7  Accessorize your appearance: To complete your look, select appropriate accessories. Find stylish, comfortable shoes. Let a professional style your hair. Include jewelry that has sentimental value. Make alterations to give your dress its best fit. Carry a small, complimentary purse. Then wear your chosen accessories proudly on the day you watch your daughter walk down the aisle.

With a Mother-of-the-Bride dress you love, you’ll feel confident as you support your little girl all grown up on her wedding day. To find local options for your dress, visit Dilliard’s, David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Nordstrom’s, and more stores that fit your style. View all our mother-of-the-bride store recommendations at BridalSpectacular.com under the “wedding services” tab.

Finally, Moms, we’d just like to thank you for all you do to for your daughters. With our own team comprised of proud Mother-of-the-Brides and brides happy to have such supportive Moms, we appreciate you. Thank you, Moms, from all of us at Bridal Spectacular!

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Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2011

Photographs: Associated Press, People Magazine Online