Time will be on your side if you plan properly! From your dress to your duties, we’ve got it covered
Words by Sarah Gillespie
Celebrate good times
A marriage proposal changes everything – and not just for the happy couple. As the mother of the bride, things are going to be a little different for you too. For example, from now on your opinion should be like your belly button: you’ll always have one, but it should only be exposed on the rare occasion when it’s appropriate. Weddings can tear people apart (normally over insignificant details), just as much as they can bring them together, so if your daughter and son-in-law-to-be decide they want a massive engagement party, don’t point out that this is nothing more than a highly indulgent development in the wedding world. Buy them a card and help make the sausage rolls.
2 years to go
Get a clue
“Although there’s no right or wrong time to start looking for your outfit, be aware of the exclusivity of MOB-and-G styles,” advises Christina Sigerson, owner of Mia Bella (miabellaltd.com). “New style collections are released in January and February for spring/summer and in October for autumn/winter, so if you can wait until the last collection of the season has hit the boutiques, you’ll have the widest choice.”
While some boutiques can reorder styles they’ve sold out of, it’s not unheard of for the design houses themselves to sell out. That said, later in the season is when boutiques are likely to run sample sales to make way for the new stock coming in, so there’s scope for bagging a bargain.
Not every bride has a two-year engage-ment, but the more time you have, the more collections you’ll have to choose from – and that will make shopping for your outfit less stressful. “It’s important that you enjoy your search for that all-important outfit,” says Christina. “Make it a memorable experience for the right reasons and you can’t fail to look amazing on the day itself.”
18 months to go
The perfect fit
Once you’ve done your initial reconnaissance shopping trip, it’s worth researching bespoke or made-to-measure outfits. Some will have astronomical price tags that put them firmly out of reach, but others may be far more reasonable than you’d expect. Having some say over the design and knowing your outfit will fit you like a glove will leave you looking fantastic. “When an outfit is made specifically to your proportions, it will feel and look different to an off-the-peg garment that has been altered,” explains designer Joyce Young (joyceyoungcollections.co.uk). “This is especially important if you are on the small or the tall side, as most designs are created for a standard height.”
While designers like Joyce can accom-modate last-minute commissions, getting the process rolling early allows them to organise fabric and book production time – which is in great demand during spring and summer peak times.
1 year to go
Buy the way
While some mums like to sneak off and hunt for their outfit alone, it’s always nice to have a second opinion. And while you may well have a strong idea of what colour or style of outfit you’d like, it is worth holding off until the bride has decided what the bridal party will be wearing. Mia Bella’s Christina agrees: “Communication is crucial in the lead-up to a wedding, so I’d advise mums to take along someone they trust to give an honest opinion when shopping for an outfit. Aspects such as bridesmaid and groomsman colours are important too, as the tones should be complementary to ensure really special photographs.”
8 months to go
Access all areas
Most boutiques are a one-stop shop where you can pick out your entire head-to-toe ensemble in one visit. But if you don’t find accessories that catch your eye when you order your outfit, be sure not to leave it too late to sort out your add-ons. It’s a big help if bag, shoes, jewellery and a hat or fascinator are ticked off with lots of time left for changing your mind (or, when it comes to headwear, commissioning something bespoke).
And although there’s something special about a shiny pair of box-fresh shoes, sacrifice this treat and break them in before the big day. We’re not suggesting you go dancing in them – keep them looking new by only wearing them around the house.
6 months to go
Glam, bam, thank you, Mam
Thinking about freshening up your look before the big day? Have a trial run of any treatments at the six-months-to-go mark to ensure you like the results. For example, if you’re planning a dramatic change in hair colour or style, why not let it settle for a few months so you can adjust to it? You’d hate to look back and hate the photos because you decided to dye your hair dark for the first (and last) time the week before the wedding. Having any facial treatments such as peels or injectables would also benefit from being tested with plenty of time to spare, especially if there is the risk of potential side-effects.
1 month to go
Ready or not?
A month seems a long time in the real world (especially when it’s the month before your holidays!), but in the wedding world a month is nothing. You should aim to have your completed outfit assembled and hanging safely in your wardrobe with at least four weeks to spare. That means no last-minute rush, and leaves you relaxed and excited about the big day (until, that is, the bride finds out you’re ready and heaps a few tasks on you!).
2 weeks to go
It’s not like you need an excuse for a spa day (you never have to ask us twice) but there’s not a bride-to-be on the planet who wouldn’t be delighted with a surprise chill-out day right before her wedding. With a fortnight to go, there’s still time to take a day off without causing too much disruption. Under normal circumstances, a surprise is a great idea, but you’d be better off giving the B2B plenty of notice in case she has other plans lined up for that weekend. It’s a lovely opportunity to spend some time with your daughter before she’s whisked away on honeymoon and then settling in to married life.
1 week to go
It is universally accepted that the week before the wedding is when the sherbet favours hit the fan. Be ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to help find missing flower girl shoes. Keep one eye on your phone in case the bride-to-be needs to moan about her other half doing nothing (despite him not being allowed any duties!). Wedding suppliers are used to dealing with stressed-out brides, but stepping in and sorting out bumps in the road makes things easier on everyone – apart from you, of course!
On the day
The big day is here! It might be the end of months of pampering and preening, or you might have scrubbed up well with no prior effort, but either way you’ll be looking and feeling fabulous, as will the happy couple. Nothing should rain on their parade, but a well-timed intervention or hug from Mum can solve almost all wedding-day woes. Don’t forget to let your hair down, though!