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Pearls of Wisdom

Wedding project ideas and style how-tos for brides, bridal jewelry designers and wedding planners.


Mother of the Bride: Jewelry, Style and Etiquette Guide
Conservative Chic
Dramatic Splash
Casual Elegance

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

So you've just heard the words ... "We're getting married!" Congratulations on your new role as mother-of-the-bride, also known as MOB. Here's a style guide to flawlessly navigating your daughter's nuptials and designing the perfect jewelry and fashion statement, ensuring you'll look fabulous in those wedding photos for years to come.

Even though it's not your wedding, the MOB plays a crucial role in pulling off a successful event. The mother of the bride is expected to be a project manager, a shoulder to lean on (and cry on if needed) and everything in-between. Typical duties of the MOB include establishing the budget, booking ceremony and reception sites and vendors, helping the bride choose her dress, managing the guest list and attending (or helping to organize) the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. And looking fabulous on the big day!

So take a deep breath, gather all your patience, love and support (bring along a good sense of humor) and get ready for the fun. While some wedding etiquette has relaxed over the years, here are some tips for being "in-style" and "in-sync" with your daughter on the big day.
  • #1 Rule--communicate! Above all else, the most crucial thing to remember is the importance of communication with the bride and groom and the groom's family.
  • When in doubt about something, simply ASK. This can save stress and headaches in the long run.
  • Ask your daughter for her thoughts on what you should wear to the wedding. For example, are there any colors or styles she would like you to avoid? Your outfit is ultimately your decision, but coordinating with the bride is important.
  • The goal is to make a statement, but not overshadow the bride. Think neutral and understated colors (champagne tones are popular), although black and jewel-toned colors are acceptable if the bride agrees. Keep in mind more saturated colors are better for mature and pale skin tones. Reserve white for the bride.
  • Consider the location, season, weather and comfort when selecting an outfit. Can you dance and sit in it? Will it be too warm? Too cold?
  • Formal weddings typically dictate floor-length gowns and street-length dresses (hitting just below the knee) are appropriate for semi-formal day or evening weddings and a nice "Sunday" dress is recommended for informal day or evening weddings.
  • For day weddings choose lighter fabrics and brighter colors. Embellished gowns, sequins and darker hues are more appropriate for evening weddings.
  • Shorter hemlines are more acceptable as the summer days get longer, although floor-length is always a good choice for a black-tie affair.
  • Consider a wrap or jacket for the ceremony (and formal photos) if you wear a sleeveless dress.
  • Look beyond the mother-of-the-bride sections in stores and online; sometimes the best choice is not necessarily marketed as MOB attire. It helps to try on clothing in your own home, so take home more than one outfit, try them all on again and return what you don't like.
  • Don't put off shopping. Secure your outfit early to ensure plenty of time to plan jewelry, accessories, hair-styling and more.
  • V-neck and scoop-neck styles are great choices for showcasing statement necklaces. Three-quarter length sleeves, cap sleeves and opera-length gloves lend themselves to bracelets. Consider wearing your hair up or half-up to show off earrings.
  • Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Pay attention to the details, including your shoes, purse and jewelry. Hats, fascinators or gloves offer fun style options if it fits the feel of the wedding and bridal party.
  • Be true to your style. Select something that feels like "you."
  • Photograph yourself in potential outfits to see how you will look in wedding photos.
  • Determine what you plan to wear on the big day and consult with the groom's mom on what you two will be wearing. It is customary for the MOB to select her dress first and then notify the mother of the groom so that you can complement each other, as well as the bridal party.
Mother-of-the-Bride Jewelry Style Guides

Conservative Chic

Who says conservative has to be boring? Add a chic element to a polished mother-of-the-bride look with modern twists on classic jewelry statements. These jewelry styles are perfect for church, traditional and formal weddings.
Design Idea C20S
Design Idea A30E
Design Idea 890A

Jewelry:
Nothing says mother-of-the-bride like pearls. Play up the size and color for a statement necklace, inspired by the traditional pearl necklace. Design with large Swarovski pearls, Dione beads and glass beads in metallic hues and rich earth-tones. Mix metals with pearls, add multi-strands or use asymmetrical designs to create subtly stunning pieces. Add a coordinating earring design to complete the look. Explore different shapes of pearls for a modern twist. If bracelets are more your thing, oversized pearl bracelets are a great choice for shorter-sleeved outfits.Design with ...
Dramatic Splash

If the wedding calls for a little more "flash," here are some jewelry suggestions for a spectacular mother-of-the-bride presentation. Nothing sets off a fashion statement like a sparkling piece of jewelry (or shoes), especially for evening weddings.
Design Idea 5B05
Design Idea 73LS
Design Idea B55E

Jewelry:
The key is to let one statement piece shine, such as chandelier earrings, a sparkling necklace or bold cocktail ring. Give classic materials such as pearls, Swarovski crystal and gold bead accents a little edge with dimensional multi-strand necklaces or draping chandelier earrings. Add splashes of color with jewel-toned gemstone, pearl or glass beads.Design with ...
Casual Elegance

For more casual affairs, such as beach or garden weddings, match the feel with naturally inspired and less-structured jewelry. Longer necklaces and bright colors bring out a fresh fashion statement and dress up even the simplest look.
Design Idea A876
Design Idea 7B18
Design Idea 6619

Jewelry:
Design pieces that speak to the nuptials, such as incorporating shell components or Hill Tribes beads for a beach ceremony or floral accents for a garden party. Break out of the traditional box with gunmetal or copper chain and lengthen your look with long-strand necklaces. Hammered metals and feminine-colored gemstone beads bring natural warmth. Dress up sandals or bare legs with a beaded anklet.Design with ...
If you have a question or feedback on this Pearls of Wisdom article, or would like to share your own wedding project idea, please contact us here.

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Something Shiny

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" ... how about something sparkly and shiny too? Sequins are showing up on every wedding accessory imaginable including the dress itself, jewelry, table accents and more. The reflective sequin enhances other materials including crystals, diamonds or beading, and creates gorgeous movement constantly catching light.


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