The mother of the bride and groom often play an important role in weddings, not only in the lead up to the big day, but on the day itself, so it’s understandable that many mums feel the pressure to find the perfect outfit for the occasion. And while you may think it will be difficult to find an outfit that is age-appropriate, flattering and elegant, one woman who showed it isn’t is Carole Middleton, who was praised for the beautiful ensembles she wore for both of her daughter’s weddings – Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding in 2011, and the nuptials of her youngest daughter Pippa Middleton to James Matthews in 2017.
The one thing both outfits had in common is that they were from Catherine Walker & Co, a label long loved by the royals, including the Duchess of Cambridge and the late Princess Diana. With that in mind, we asked the label’s co-founder and head of design, Said Cyrus, to share his top tips to ensure mothers of the bride and groom look – and feel – their best this wedding season…
Carole Middleton wore Catherine Walker & Co to both of her daughters' weddings
"Check what other key people at the wedding will be wearing so that your outfit will harmonise with the group."
The mother of the bride and groom will star in many of the main wedding photos alongside the bridesmaids and groomsmen, so it’s important to pick an outfit that complements the colour scheme chosen. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but wearing a colour that works well with the bridal party will help the group photos to look more cohesive.
"If you don’t know what styles and colours suit you ask a designer."
It can be overwhelming when you’re faced with a huge array of colours, styles and prints while occasionwear shopping, making it challenging to find something that not only works with the wedding’s colour scheme, but also suits you. If in doubt, ask the experts, who will be happy to help.
"When choosing colours it’s best not to dress head to foot in one colour."
You may want everything to match, but even choosing accessories and footwear in contrasting tones can have a big impact on your overall ensemble. Look to Carole Middleton, who complemented her powder blue royal wedding outfit with a pale grey clutch bag and court shoes, rather than wearing head-to-toe blue.
"Tailored coats and dresses give a long silhouette that look elegant from all angles."
This is a speciality of Catherine Walker & Co, with Said noting that "mother of the brides are seen a lot from the back at weddings!"
"It’s helpful to have a coatdress that can be taken off later and show a matching shift with a wow factor even if it’s just a crystal belt."
You won’t be wearing a coat or jacket all day, so pay attention to what’s underneath it to ensure you still feel your best long after the wedding ceremony is over.
"This season we think lace will play a big part in MoB dressing."
Experiment with the fabric either as applique such as Catherine Walker’s Mount coat and dress, or one standalone piece such as the Hampton dress and Selena suit.
"It’s very convenient to have the whole thing created by one designer."
It can be difficult to find a match between your outfit and accessories when buying from a variety of shops, so going to a specialist designer who can create pieces like hats and clutch bags to co-ordinate with your chosen ensemble could make the process much easier. Said says of Catherine Walker & Co’s service: "The hats are also designed to work in harmony rather than ‘fight’ with garments in making a fashion statement."
"It’s never too early to plan your outfit."
Said regularly takes orders six months or more in advance of a wedding date, and it’s a good idea to allow more time to look for your own perfect outfit, especially if you may need any alterations. It’s never too early to start!
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.