A grandmother plays a unique and important role on her grandchild’s wedding day, especially when she is the grandmother of the bride. Grandmothers of the bride are frequently captured in candid and formal photographs throughout the wedding, so you will want to feel and look your best on your granddaughter’s special day. A modern wardrobe that fits the season, your taste, the formality, and the venue of the wedding will be sure to make you stand out in every prized photograph.
There are many stunning dresses available, for grandmothers of the bride, which will make you look beautiful. It is fitting that you make a strong impression since you have an honored status on the wedding day. However, being the bride’s grandmother is a special privilege that entails a sense of responsibility. To make sure that you show respect for your granddaughter on her special day, you are expected to follow a few wedding traditions and customs. More often than not, wedding etiquette for the grandmother of the bride is simple and straightforward.
Established wedding etiquette states that the grandmother must inform both the bride and groom of any particular mobility or dietary requirements as soon as possible, to make sure that the arrangements can be made well in advance. For example, the company may set aside a special section for the ceremony if she has a wheelchair or a walker. If she is allergic to any foods, make sure she gets a special meal separated from the others.
The grandmother of the bride should provide one of her personal items to her granddaughter. This article, meant to show the continuation of the family line, might be an old piece of jewelry, or a hairpin. In addition, the grandmother should offer the bride suggestions and advice when she asks for it.
Traditional wedding etiquette states that all of the grandparents must be ushered down the aisle at the start of the wedding ceremony. Also, it is not uncommon for the grandmother of the bride to be a part of the receiving line after the wedding ceremony. She will join other family members in welcoming guests and thanking them for coming. Do not forget that the grandparent of the bride is expected to give the bride and groom a gift on the wedding day. There are no specific rules on what grandmothers should give, however, many times they write a check or send cash to help the bride and groom begin their new life together.
Shopping for Grandmother of the Bride Dresses
Especially for older women, locating the right size dress to fit your shape and height might be difficult. Unfortunately, most store stock is designed to fit younger women. Most grandmas are slightly shorter than the average women, averaging around 5ft tall. When you start to get into your 70’s and 80’s, you will prize comfort over everything else. One way to help with this when you are shopping for dresses, is to get one with an elastic waistband, as opposed to a fitted style. The elastic waistband also helps just in case you lose or put on a few pounds by the day of the wedding.
Grandmother of the Bride Outfits
The grandmother of the bride ought to pick a dress that matches the overall formality of the wedding. The grandmother should not choose a dress that is too similar to the style or color of the bride’s wedding gown or that of the bridesmaid’s dresses. For a not as formal wedding, consider wearing a casual dress or a pantsuit. For a formal wedding, wear a skirt suit or an elegant dress.
Consider all of the other accessories that go along with the dress or skirt suit. If the mother of the bride is going to be wearing a church-style hat, think about wearing one yourself. Wear proper jewelry for the event and venue so that you stand out in a good way.
Wedding Etiquette for Grandmothers
Depending on the size and formality of the wedding, the couple may want to have a formal procession down the aisle. Going down the aisle to find your seat, for the wedding ceremony, means that all eyes will be watching you. Take this opportunity to show your family how much they mean to you by thoroughly preparing beforehand. Make sure to fix up your ensemble, whether it is a suit or a dress, so that the color best matches with the shade of your skin. For example, if you have a darker complexion, think about getting a cool, neutral shade to bring out your glow. Consider getting your makeup and hair done professionally and double check to make sure your ensemble is tailored perfectly.
The grandparents typically start the procession first, then the groom’s parents and the bride’s mother. Then, comes the bridal procession, which consists of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girls and the maid of honor, and finally the bride and father enter. During the wedding reception, you will be expected to sit close to the top table, so you can have a nice view of the married couple. Most importantly, this is a day for you to spend some time with your family and feel very proud of your granddaughter.
Dress for the Season
When the wedding takes place during the summer months, heat is undoubtedly going to be an issue. Pick a breathable, natural fiber such a cotton and linen, mixed with a little Spandex or Lycra for elasticity. Consider going sleeveless if the temperature and humidity are too much to handle. However, make sure to keep your outfit as conservative as possible without revealing too much skin. If you are attending a winter wedding, the best option, to balance warmth and style, is a tailored coat. As opposed to wearing fancy slim trousers or a dress with opaque tights, put on a tweed or wool coat to keep you warm and cozy.
Complement the Venue
Always make sure to think about the venue in which the wedding ceremony is going to be taking place. If you are going to a beach wedding, a pair of sandals or a flat shoe will be more comfortable than high heels. Maybe the couple decided to have a wedding in the outdoors, such as a garden. In that case, use sneakers or other shoes with enough ankle support. If you need a little extra height, insert a wedge heel into a flat base. For formal venues inside, such as hotels and churches, wear dress shoes that reflect the elegance required by the location.
Match the Time of Day
If the couple has decided to go with a daytime wedding, you should adjust your attire to be more informal accordingly. For afternoon weddings, you might want to consider wearing a pantsuit or a tailored skirt in a neutral color like lavender, taupe, or pink. Do not forget to wear your summer hat for an added touch. When the couple picks the nighttime for their wedding, go with richer and fuller colors such as forest green, navy blue, or burgundy. You are only required to wear a floor-length dress or skirt if the evening wedding is black tie. Otherwise, a shawl, dress, or suit is, more often than not, appropriate. Think about adding some special accessories, such as heels or jewelry, to make yourself look extra elegant for the evening wedding.
Dress style options for Grandmothers of the Bride
Some general types of style options for grandmothers of the bride include:
- A suit-dress in a lighter color is a perfect choice. Instead of going extremely formal, suit dresses often are in chiffon and typically very wavy.
- A longer length dress makes a fabulous choice too. More often than not, these ankle-high dresses or ones at floor level are reserved for more formal marriages.
Tea Length Dresses
Finding the perfect grandmother of bride gown can be equally as difficult as locating the perfect bride’s dress. The innumerable lengths, colors, styles, and cuts mean it is close to impossible to find a style that is suitable yet has a high degree of repeat usability. One type of wardrobe, for grandmothers of the bride, that consistently has both of these factors is the tea length dress.
A tea length dress has a hemline that goes anywhere from just below the knee to just below the calf. The elegance and timelessness of this dress ensure it is appropriate for any kind of wedding. If you are a full-figured woman, a full skirt and a modest neckline will accentuate your beauty. For more slender women, consider purchasing one with stunning elbow-length sleeves, a fuller skirt, and a high neckline. Tea length dresses allow a significant amount of flexibility for the grandmother when it comes to sleeve styles, accessories, hairstyles, and necklines.
Choose a Tea Length Dress
Tea length dresses provide a lot of versatility and repeat use that most of the other bridesmaid dresses do not. They are suitable for every body type, age, and degree of formality. Tea length dresses do a great job of accentuating your figure and ensuring that you feel and look radiant on the wedding day. Also, it is important to remember that tea length dresses are some of the most affordable and available dresses on the market.
Best Places to Buy Grandmother of the Bride Dresses
- Dillards has a very diverse selection of grandmother of the bride gowns. The R&M Richards Lace and Chiffon Asymmetrical Jacket Dress in champagne make a gorgeous selection for any wedding day.
- Nordstrom offers a massive selection of grandmother of the bride wedding gowns. One that sticks out, in particular, is the beautiful, ankle-long Alex Evenings Mock Two-Piece Dress in wedgewood. Another option to consider is the Adrianna Papell Chiffon Overlay Shutter Pleat Sheath Dress.
- Macy’s has dozens of different options from the lovely Jessica Howard Portrait Collar A-Line Dress to the plum colored R&M Richards Sleeveless Sequined Lace Dress and Jacket.
- JJ’sHouse offers a wide selection of dresses from V-neck Knee-Length Chiffon Lace to beautiful Ankle Length Chiffon style with beading sequins.
- Davids Bridal has a stunning choice of dresses from the new Allover Lace Sleeved Dress with Scallop trim style and the Long Dress with Lace Bodice and Cuffed Sleeves
Buying a Grandmother of the Bride Dress
- Do not think too much what the wedding entourage is going to be wearing. Oftentimes, grandmothers of the bride get hung up on false traditions. You are not supposed to match the bridesmaid’s attire. Instead, you should distinguish yourself from the rest of the guests, not try to conform to anyone else’s outfit choice. Instead, wear a dress that matches up to the theme of the wedding or the venue. Always accentuate and elevate your dress by including accessories and embellishments. That way, worst-case scenario your dress is similar to that of the bridesmaids, you will still stand apart. Usually, a distinguished scarf or piece of antique jewelry is enough to do the trick.
- Find out what the wedding theme is and match your wardrobe accordingly. Every wedding ceremony has a particular color scheme, whether it is primary or pastel, vibrant or subdued. In addition, every wedding ceremony has a tone, whether it is a casual, semi-formal, or black tie. It is wise to follow the degree of formality and the color scheme to make this day as special as possible.
- Do not give up on personal taste entirely. Grandmothers of the bride, while adhering to the dress code of the wedding ceremony, can still afford themselves some freedom when it comes to their personal style. If you like to wear a unique pendant or drape yourself in a silk charmeuse, you should be able to put on what you would wear again at any other glamorous or formal occasion.
- Do not think that you have to dress dowdy. There is an old false tradition that states that the grandmother of the bride should not try to look dashing on her granddaughter’s wedding day. Dressing without any character or color at a day of celebration is a misguided piece of etiquette. Do not be afraid of a flattering knee length hemline, during the warmer seasons, or a tastefully draped neckline for the winter months.
- Do not forget whose day it really it. Consult with the bride beforehand so that she can give you some guidelines for appropriate apparel. It should be the bride and groom that have the ultimate say on what colors and patterns are to be permitted at the ceremony. Always remember to dress down to the bride because it is her day to shine. Dressing competitively with either the bride or the mother of the bride is a major faux pas.
- Try to look as sophisticated as your budget allows. The grandmother of the bride should not skimp on herself when it is something as important as the wedding of her granddaughter. Weddings are one of the rare times to indulge and show your absolute best. Once the grandmother of the bride finds her dress of choice, the next thing to do is locate the accompanying set of support lingerie and hosiery, to give your wardrobe the full effect.
- Once the wedding dress code has been established, the grandmother of the bride is free to locate the perfect wardrobe to fit her tastes and needs. Understanding a few things while shopping will make sure that you bring your unique sense of fashion, within the dress code of the ceremony itself.
- Put a lot of thought and consideration into your hairstyle and accessories. When it comes down to the memorable and personalized grandmother of the bride ensemble, the beauty is in the details. Think about visiting your hairstylist to get a soft and sophisticated haircut for the ceremony. Many grandmothers of the bride still sport the tasteful look of a veiled hat and other extras such as a matching handbag or formal gloves. Do not overlook the opportunity you have to indulge, but make sure to keep everything you buy tasteful and well thought out. A pair of proper and comfortable shoes is an absolute necessity.
- Communicate with the mother and grandmother of the groom about you and your daughters dress choice. Often times, the grandmother of the bride will inform the important female figures on the grooms side so that they may choose a dress appropriately. If you are particularly close with those family members, you can even go shopping together for a day and pick out the right clothes. This kind of coordination is crucial because it ensures that both sets of grandmothers do not have clashing wardrobes or end up outshining each other. Both grandmothers can bring out their own personal characteristics without any unwanted surprises on the wedding day.
What Grandmothers of the Bride should avoid doing
- Do not be late and always show up on time. It is never a good feeling for the bride to see her grandma absent from the procession or miss the welcome party. You never know if your tardiness might delay or hold up the event for everyone.
- Do not try to be the center of attention or take up too much of the photographer’s precious time. If you have had a few drinks, stay away from the center of the dance floor. Do not constantly ask the photographer for personal picture requests when it mean fewer pictures of the newlywed couple. It is their day, not yours.
- If you did not assist with the wedding planning, do not attempt to alter any details on the big day. The original planners have prepared a very strict décor and schedule that the bride herself has pre-approved.
- Do not drink too much at the wedding events. Otherwise, it may affect your ability to cherish and remember this crucial day. It is all right to celebrate a little bit with a ceremonial glass of champagne, but avoid anything other than light drinking. Many people will be filming this event, and it is best to have yourself remembered in a respectful condition.
- Do not wear white or ivory. Otherwise, you will clash with the color of the brides dress. Never wear any color you would not want your own grandmother to wear on your wedding day.
- Never attempt to match the bridesmaids dresses or the wedding party attire unless your granddaughter has specifically asked you to. You are not a member of the bridesmaids, you are the grandmother of the bride, and you should dress as such with an appropriate dress.
- Remember that you are a grandparent and not “one of the kids.” Behave your age and resist the desire to engage in the potentially dangerous behavior that your granddaughter’s friends are doing, such as jumping in the pool.
- Despite how you might feel about your granddaughter’s new spouse, do not show or express your dislike for the groom or their family throughout the wedding weekend. You can never be too sure who is listening to what you are saying. The bartender you opened up to might very well repeat the same words to someone in the groom’s family.
- Do not refer to your granddaughter’s big day as “our” wedding. It is her wedding and ceremony. The wedding day belongs only to your granddaughter and the groom. This rule is critical because it will help you remember most of the other things not to do.
As you plan for your granddaughter’s big day, do not forget any of these rules of etiquette or fashion. Make sure to remember that it is your granddaughter’s special day, and she has the final say in everything. Ensure that this day is as perfect for your family as possible by following these basic guidelines.