The Mother of the Groom Dress...#20

My son Patrick is getting married to a lovely Australian girl, Cherie, next month and we are all so excited. The wedding will be in the Yarra Valley, an Australian wine region near Melbourne, Victoria. Cherie has organised the wedding and I know it will be beautiful.

There is only one small matter nagging at me. I have been waiting six months for an epiphany…on what to wear to the wedding. When I was in Australia last November I thought I might find the perfect dress. I didn't. When I was in Hong Kong earlier in the month, I thought I might find the perfect dress. I didn't. So yesterday…I went on the hunt for the perfect dress in Connecticut. 

I learned a very important lesson yesterday. It is never a good idea to walk into a bridal shop and announce that you are looking for a dress, off the rack, with no time to spare. The chances of finding "the dress" in your size is next to nil..especially if you are not a size 2, 4 or 6 and so on.

I looked at the rack and sighed…I knew right away that this was not the "look" I was going for. I would have snuck out of the shop if the saleswoman was not on my heels trying to help. I explained that I was the mother of the groom, the wedding was next month, in Australia and I was flying back to Vietnam tomorrow and would take care of alterations there. I thought for sure that would be the end of the story…but she said not to worry, she would find the perfect dress for me. I was dubious.

I waited in the changing room and watched one taffeta creation after another float into the room. Because I am the sort of person that I am, I smiled politely and interesting. Truth be told, I wanted to run out the door and lock myself in my car.

I persevered and as I suspected..many of the dresses were for petite framed women, of which I am not. She was determined to squeeze me into a lacy skirt the colour of mint julep and I quickly suggested she might be dreaming on that one.

She did manage to convince me to try on a full length burgundy taffeta creation with sparkling embellishments swirling around my waist line. It was hard not to laugh. I felt like the shy 13 years old girl again, in a dressing room with my mother, convincing me that I just had to suck it in and all would be well. This was not the feeling I was going for at 57.

I knew my time was up when she pulled out what she called a "bargain".  It was somewhere between the colour of Dijon mustard and a lime…and it had one big enormous ruffle at the neckline, waistline AND….a large taffeta rosette to cover the derriere. I just couldn't…. I said it really was not me, muttered something along the lines of  "I would think about it", stuffed her business card into my coat pocket and ran out the door.

It was an interesting experience and I learned a few things…an adult prom dress was not for me and I needed to rethink my strategy. I was looking for something more in tune with my style.

I picked up a few things in other shops, with a mind to have a dress made in Vietnam. I found a delicate Japanese kimono inspired waist jacket which might do the trick. I am going to go for Plan A, Plan B and Plan C…and I have just under a month to do it. The nice thing about Vietnam is that anything is possible. 

On that note, I am signing off with #20 of my 28 Day Writing Challenge. It is hard to believe I have written 20 posts already when I only published 41 posts in all of 2014. I am a 2-3 posts behind where I want to be but my overall batting average is looking pretty good. are so kind to follow along. My gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you!

28 Day Writing Challenge, #20
February 23, 2015
From a view to my luggage
bound for Vietnam

Collage of Life
28 Day Writing Challenge
(click on title to read)

#20 The Mother of the Groom Dress

Excerpt of a painting: A young boy, Frederick Cooper by Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1735-1811


  1. The only good official Mother Of The Bride or Groom dresses I've ever seen come from here. Or, Teri Jon, as per the blog, if you don't mind a link. I am sure you will find/make something gorgeous.

  2. Oh my Lord. What a hoot. I have to say, it's difficult to find a dress I adore these days. I often say, it's either Madonna or Barbara Bush, with nary a thread to be found in-between. That being said, I loved the look Cate Blanchett sported last night at the Oscars.
    I know you'll find the right look and you'll be gorgeous!

  3. MOG dress - what a challenge! I am already looking for Aunt of the Bride ideas and neither of my nieces is even dating seriously! Depending on the time of day, perhaps you can find a dress and jacket, or a skirt with shell and jacket. And, a softer fabric than taffeta. Probably a bridal shop is not the best place, unless they are going with a rather traditional event - wine country sounds more casual ... and isn't Australia more casual in general? VERY good luck!

  4. The worst part of daughters getting married was finding a dress, one that was me. Nothing seemed right which gets a little depressing. At the last minute, I decided to make my own outfit from fabric I had woven. I finished it just hours before the wedding. The result may not have been typically mother of the bride fashion, but it was me and that was far more comfortable than putting on a pretend outfit. When you get back to Saigon, can you have something made from beautiful silk?

  5. Whatever you find to wear, Jeanne, I'm sure you will look beautiful. Beauty is as beauty does.

  6. Congratulations on the wonderful news!
    Maybe you can jot down dress features, seen on a Google Images search, that you like to create your own custom design.

  7. That was hilarious Jeanne - I think that saleswoman must have been from another era, or planet!
    As grandmother of the bride in Dec. - evening wedding, Winter, think long and covered arms - thank God because at 70 - well you don't want to know. I actually ordered a gown with jacket online from Macy's - it was lovely, fit perfectly and even on sale - how lucky was that. I will probably never wear it again but it will hang there in the closet just in case something dressy is required down the road.

    Leaving NH already? Hope you'll be back in Spring. Will continue to enjoy your posts from wherever!
    Safe journey - and yes, you can get anything sewn/tailored in Vietnam - my problem there was not a single shoe would fit, haha!

    Hugs Mary x

  8. Well, it is quite fun and a joy to follow along on your writing challenge. The privilege is ours. I have enjoyed this writing journey immensely........and I was going to be VERY surprised if you found the perfect dress in the bridal shop. You will have fun figuring it all out in Vietnam and I hope you will share your results with us. Best wishes with that.
    Farm Gal in VA

  9. I have enjoyed reading along, looking forward to see what you decide to wear.
    Take care
    Wendy in Thailand ( xpat Aussie)

  10. I am anxious to hear what you will wear and the wedding sounds fabulous........I love reading your blog entries each day. Blessings on the upcoming wedding and to you my friend.
    Smiles and joy abound
    Love Jeanne

  11. Oh Jeanne...I think I know the store you were in! I had a similar experience there while looking for a dress for my niece's wedding. I wish I had known you were in town...I would have shared a few of my favorite haunts and bought you a cup of coffee. :)

    Safe travels home and I have no doubt you will be stunning on your son's big day! xoxo

  12. Huge congratulations!
    Oh Jeanne I so understand the problem having been the mother of the bride in October. If you google Mother of the Bride some of the images are truly horrific! So formulaic and dreary. My solution was a plain classic dress in an eye catching colour -- scarlet -- and a very large stylish hat which I had designed and made. It felt perfect -- because as a friend had warned me the MOB needs to be eye catching as she may have to be found quickly for any trouble shooting needed. (Luckily none in my case other than a few timing questions from the caterers).
    But the big hat is very much the English style and I know that isn't necessary for sunnier climates. Only advice I can offer is choose a style in which you will be comfortable all day and then make the impact with the colour.
    I am going to a wedding in Malibu in May --- I think US style is slightly less formal so hat not required? I am so looking forward to a sunny outdoor wedding which is not something that happens often in England!
    Please let us see photos in due course of your final choice -- and of course of the bride and groom.
    Ceri x

  13. Oh, I can't tell you how much I loathe dress shopping. I get bored instantly. Shopping for a mother of the bride would be right up there with chewing on tin foil. You could always go the Mariah Carey (Oscar plunging breast revealing look) look and knock the socks off of everyone. Other than that, I can offer no good advice since my best finds have been in thrift stores...

  14. YOU Knew in the back of your mind that where YOU reside could HELP you overnight if need be!My SON NICHOLAS came home from Vietnam with a GREEN SUIT.......LIME GREEN and a purple lining!They told him no to the lining as it was a girls color!!!He insisted and BOY ,OH BOY has he gotten mileage out of that!
    WE ALL LOVE IT!I am certain YOU be be a STUNNING MOTHER of the GROOM!
    GUESS what.........I have been to the YARRA VALLEY!!!!!!!!!BEAUTIFUL.........similar to our NAPA VALLEY!I spied old milk cans used as mailboxes there.............LOOK ABOUT whilst your there...........and think of ME!

  15. omg a wedding + congratulations + you will find a dress.

  16. Jeanne, I remember trying to find the perfect dress for my daughter's wedding. I could not have done it without the help of a good friend who accompanied me and help narrow things down for me. And, finally convince me the look I was wanting just wasn't to be found. I look forward to seeing the dress you discover. It will be perfect.

    Congratulations on your writing success, and safe travels back to Viet Nam.

  17. You are hilarious! I enjoyed every word of your story. I know you will find something that is far more tasteful and suited to you. It will be part of an incredible day for you all. So many wonderful things going on in your life!

  18. Jeanne, this post reminded me so much of myself in a similar situation caught in a dressing room with an enthusiastic sales lady, where the silk ensembles she had me try were the devil in disguise (especially as I tried to extricate myself from each one in the humid overheated tiny space!!)
    Anyway, my daughter was married at the end of March in a garden on the South coast of N.S.W....gorgeous spot, but I knew I needed to be "relaxed, comfortable and stylish all at once" and also knew it would be humid. A spaghetti strapped loose flowing silk number was definitely NOT going to work for the 59 yr old MOB... so... I went to visit a Camilla Frank store where I was gob smacked by the beautiful array of stunning kaftans. I went, I saw and bought, and can safely say it was THE best decision for me. Having gone through 3 other MOB situations, this was by far my best decision and most stylish. I felt fab, was told I looked fab, and that dress has been very well worn since!!
    Just a suggestion....I did opt for a more simple pattern, and as kaftans have really had a resurgence lately, you may not be inspired to go down that road. The Yarra valley will be a perfect venue for the wedding....we enjoyed a magnificent lunch at "Stones" vineyard for my DIL's 40th a couple of years ago....
    Good luck...but I'm certain whatever you choose will work perfectly!!

  19. I recommend Norstroms. You can order online and they have a great selection.

  20. Congratulations, Jeanne! I wish you and the entire wedding party a joyful celebration.

    When my daughter was planning her wedding in 2013, she and I steered clear of the American wedding attire industry. Neither of us had any particular fashion (or any dressmaking) skills, but each of us had a strong sense of what we liked and did not like. With many ideas of what we wanted and a few photographs of features we liked, we worked with a talented seamstress who, through a series of brainstorming and fitting sessions with us, created a wedding dress and, for me, a dress and unstructured jacket, that, in each case, "were us" and looked beautiful and felt wonderful. From the time we first met with the seamstress, the whole process took just 2.5 weeks (and would have taken far less time if it been just a matter of my dress and jacket). Particularly since you live in one of the best places to have clothes tailor-made, I encourage you to do the same. The "delicate Japanese kimono inspired waist jacket" that you envision sounds gorgeous. Just think: your choice of design, your choice of fabric, custom fit!

    Whatever you decide, I know that you will look beautiful. Because you are.

  21. I live a 20min ride to the Yarra Valley and in March -- oh my --- it will be beautiful !!!!
    Australian's are really not that "formal" so ..... find a wonderful pant to go with that Japanese jacket and then buy Knock out sexy shoes - handbag and if you are game ... a hat !!!

    Have a great time!!!

  22. A week before Son # 5's wedding last November I still hadn't found my Mother of the Bridegroom's frock. My family were beside themselves with panic - I was not, I do my best work under pressure. Vicki Archer gave me some great advice - 'No frou frou Mills, just go for a fabulous sheath dress'. So that's exactly what I did 4 days before & et voila it was perfect. So I'll pass our Fashionista friend's advice along down the line, keep it simple mate & all will be fine.
    Love Millie xx

  23. Felicidades por la noticia. El vestido ideal para ti llegará y lucirás con luz propia.
    Esther-D. Abad

  24. Jeanne
    No suggestions really as it truly depends on the style of wedding, your personal style, etc, etc but I have to say.. be mindful of the fickle weather that Melbourne/Yarra Valley can throw up at any time of year. Freezing one day, boiling hot the next is the norm (although March IS the best time of year in that part of the world).
    Enjoy your son's special day.

  25. A wonderful dilemma.-what to wear for "my son's wedding". Congratulations to you and Mr. H and to Patrick and Cherie. My wife, Cheri, and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in Yarra Valley 12 years ago. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast lodge in a vineyard. We enjoyed our experience there.

  26. Jeanne, I agree with Melody. I think the dress depends on the style, formality of the wedding, I think you are going to have a fabulous dress made in Vietnam probably an amalgamation of your life in Vietnam, the weather of Australia and your classic American sensibilities.

    In the end, you are going to look FABULOUS!!!! and you are going to have a wonderful time with your beautiful family and that is what it is all about!

  27. P.S. My mother bought her dress/suit for my wedding 2 days before!

  28. The wedding dress of bride's mother always been a important phase of wedding ceremony
    and this drress is so beautiful.


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