13 April 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Mothers of the Bride

I have a message for all mothers of future royal brides with outfit jitters: calm down. Unless you go terribly, terribly wrong with your attire, history won't care what you wore. It sounds harsh, but it's true: when I set out to do a post on the mothers of our royal brides, I was hard pressed to find good photographs of most of them, even the royal mothers.

The time when mothers of the bride warrant future mention is when their outfits weren't quite up to par, and there aren't many of those.
Left to Right: Queen Paola at Princess Astrid's wedding, the Duchess of Gloucester at Lady Rose Gilman's wedding
Queen Paola's (then Princess Paola's) veiled headband thing at Astrid's wedding is quite the eyebrow-raiser, but it can be excused on the grounds that it was 1984. There is no such explanation for the Duchess of Gloucester, sadly, at Lady Rose's 2008 wedding.

The Duchess stuck to her regular elegance in 2004 at her other daughter's wedding. She sported a lovely blue frock, which is actually quite a popular color for a royal mother of the bride.
L to R: the Duchess of Gloucester at Lady Davina Lewis' wedding, the Duchess of Kent at Lady Helen Taylor's wedding, Princess Margaret at Lady Sarah Chatto's wedding, Queen Elizabeth at Princess Anne's wedding, Queen Sonja at Princess Märtha Louise's wedding, Queen Sofia at Princess Elena's wedding
How lovely is the Duchess of Kent? Makes me sad she isn't out and about on the regular royal prowl these days. I'm not so much a fan of Queen Sonja's blue gown at Märtha Louise's wedding; the way it fades into a lighter blue at the bottom gives it more of a "high school formal dress on sale" look, rather than the queenly elegance she deserves.

Pastels in general are a real favorite among of royal mothers of the bride.
L to R: Princess Grace at Princess Caroline's first wedding to Philippe Junot, Queen Anne-Marie at Princess Alexia's wedding, Queen Sofia at Princess Cristina's wedding, Queen Silvia at Crown Princess Victoria's wedding
Princess Grace's sunshine yellow choice reminds me of the gowns her own bridesmaids wore. Perhaps a little nostalgia at work? Queen Anne-Marie and Queen Sofia are perfectly ladylike, while Queen Silvia shone in pale pink and her most impressive tiara at Victoria's nuptials.

Neutrals are always a popular choice, including among non-royal mothers of royal brides.
L to R: Crown Princess Mette-Marit's mother Marit Tjessem, Princess Mathilde's mother Countess Anna Maria Komorowska, Princess Marie's mother Françoise Grassiot
Mette-Marit's mother was dressed by the same designer as her daughter for her big royal wedding, and just like the wedding gown itself, this is pure simplicity. Mathilde and Marie's mums went a little more luxe for their royal days in the sun.

Once we leave the neutral category, reds and pinks become the most popular shade on the block.
L to R: Princess Letizia's mother María de la Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez, Princess Claire's mother Nicole Coombs, the Countess of Wessex's mother Mary Rhys-Jones, Crown Princess Mary's stepmother Susan Moody, Princess Laurentien's mother Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa
I've got to give this one to Letizia's mother, who looks bright and incredibly young in her shade of red. An honorable mention has to go out to Mary's stepmother, who looks lovely but still understated on a day when she knew her stepdaughter's thoughts would be with her late mother.

A few scattered colors, just to finish us up:
L to R: Princess Mabel's mother Florence Wisse Smit; Diana, Princess of Wales' mother Frances Shand Kydd; Sarah, Duchess of York's mother Susan Barrantes (on the balcony and a bad quality full view)
Mabel's mother actually coordinated perfectly with Queen Beatrix and Mabel's attendants, all in blue. Frances Shand Kydd's blue number kept her in the shadows, mostly: even in the most documented wedding in British royal history, she's seen most frequently in the background of shots taken during the ceremony. Sarah Ferguson's mother made the biggest color statement of all in her electric yellow outfit, but most of the pictures of her from that day are from the carriage ride back to the palace with Prince Phillip and that's it.

Yes, mothers-of-the-bride-to-be, you'd have to bring a level of outrageous as yet unseen to compete with your royal daughter's spotlight. And I have to say, it's completely refreshing that it hasn't been tried...yet.

Any favorites for you? Any major mistakes sticking out?

Photos: Getty Images/Tim Graham/Gamarapho