One of our favorite parts of the Southern Weddings community is that it's not just brides reading and participating, it's moms, sisters, cousins, and friends, too! Moms, especially, come to us for advice on aspects of wedding planning that are often very different from when they got married, and we're happy to help. Today, Terrie Tibbetts Martin, co-owner of T. Carolyn, a store specializing in mother of the bride and mother of the groom dresses in Houston, is sharing her best tips for brides helping their mamas find their perfect dresses!


Encourage her to begin shopping early. Most mothers underestimate how long it can take to order a dress if the right size or color is not in stock. It's been my experience that mothers always put themselves last, because they are busy taking care of everyone else! See to it that just this once, she thinks of herself. She should begin looking for her dress as soon as the bride has selected hers, it's ok to begin looking for the mother's dress even if the bride hasn't made a final decision on the attendants' dresses.

Give both mothers plenty of moral support. They may put on a brave face, but choosing a dress for such an important event can be stressful for moms. There's a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to look good, and most will tell you they don't have the same figures as when they were brides. Every mother is on a diet. Come alongside your mom and your groom's mom with plenty of love and encouragement.

Make dress shopping a special occasion. If you're able, plan to set aside a day to scout options with your mom or future mother-in-law at a few local stores or boutiques. Just as most brides want their moms present for dress shopping, most moms probably feel the same way! To cap off the day, take her out to lunch as a thank you for all she's done so far with wedding planning.

Photo by Jess Barfield from Abby + Cameron's wedding

Encourage her to wear a color she looks fantastic in. Not only will she feel great in her dress, but the wedding pictures will turn out better if everyone looks comfortable and confident. An added benefit of being open to color is that it automatically gives moms more dress options to choose from - when mothers become too focused on particular colors, they often overlook dresses that would look amazing on them. The rule of thumb is that the mothers may wear any color as long as it doesn't clash with the bridesmaids' dresses or the general wedding palette.

Make sure that mom feels really good in whatever dress she ends up wearing. Mothers are often so intent on pleasing the bride that they end up with dresses that they wouldn't have chosen for themselves. Make sure that the dress is representative of her personality, that she truly feels great in it, and that it's comfortable (both emotionally and physically) for her.

While the wedding day focus will be on the bride and groom and the life they're creating together, a child's wedding day is such a special occasion for mom and dad, too. A little extra time spent loving on mama throughout your engagement and especially as she's choosing her dress will go a long way to making it an incredible experience for everyone!