Absolutely Weddings’ experts answer your wedding questions. Here, the designer Suzannah Crabb – founder of eponymous store Suzannah – gives her guidance on choosing mother of the bride or groom outfits
Q: I’m looking for a mother-of-the-bride outfit, but need inspiration and some tips on the pitfalls to avoid. Where do I start?
A: There is no ‘one size fits all’ for mothers of the bride or groom. Things only go wrong if you choose what you think you should wear, rather than what suits you. For instance, the classic short bolero jacket and dress works for some, but cuts others off in the wrong place. We all have our own sense of style and usually know what works, so maintaining that is important to ensure confidence on the day.
Our starting point is always enhancing the client’s best points. We may recommend a beautifully cut shift or a 1950s-style fitted dress, or a coat-dress with an elegant line to create the illusion of height. We may suggest a slash or scoop neckline or shallow v-back to show off a beautiful skin, and for great legs we might look at knee-length designs. It’s vital to find a colour that works with skin and hair tone, so while it’s important to be sensitive to the bridal palette or theme, often it’s better to choose a complementary shade.
When clients come to see us for a consultation, we guide them on all these points and create a top-to-toe ensemble – including bags and shoes. We tend to recommend avoiding complete matches by introducing texture and contrast. One trick is to combine, for instance, a very plain dress with a pair of fabulous shoes or a statement hat. We work with a great group of British milliners and shoemakers who know our palette and so can ensure the complete outfit works perfectly.
We offer both bespoke and RTW outfits, dressing many brides as well as the wedding party. Made-to-measure garments typically take 12 weeks to create and RTW can be adapted by, for instance, changing the colour, in around three weeks.