Mother of the Bride Planning Process

Your daughter or son is getting married.  You are flooded with emotion.  The child you birthed, raised, supported and nurtured is starting a family of their own.  And on top of all this emotion, you have all these things to do.  It’s overwhelming.  To help you out we interviewed Debbie Bernheim, mother of blog-super-star Jenny Bernheim, to get her take on the mother-of-the-bride experience.  We were struck by Debbie’s upbeat attitude.  Debbie openly embraced this big family event. Although letting go of her little baby girl was tough, Debbie was also so proud of the woman her daughter has become.  This is what made the event so special.  She relished in all the love and happiness on this momentous occasion.   Debbie was the perfect person to talk to about being the mother of the bride.  She was practical and organized about wedding planning.  Debbie spoke with us about everything from shoes to tears.  And we felt we needed to share Debbie’s useful advice and positive outlook with our readers.  

Q: How far in advance did you start looking for your MOB dress?

A: Jenny got engaged 6 months prior to her wedding, which for some seems like no time at all.  But I felt like it gave me ample amount time to find a suitable mother-of-the-bride gown. I wonder what it would have been like if she had a longer engagement.  I probably would have looked around a lot more and still would have landed up with the same dress.

Q: Did you read any MOB blogs throughout the wedding process?

A: While I love my blogs, for this particular event I used Google and Pinterest to search for mother-of- the-bride dresses.  I wanted something that spoke to my demographic. I am more comfortable going to some of my “go-to” brands’ website to see options and pricing. I  scanned department stores as well.  I really wanted to explore all my options.

Q: How did you pick your accessories? What is your general style?

A: I have a more classic and conservative style; I would say traditional with a little twist. I am not 30 anymore, but I still like to be fashionable, even for my age, to fit in.

Q: Did you research hairstyles ? Where?

A: I normally wear my hair down; it is long and goes past my shoulders. But I wanted a more elegant look, so I decided to pin my hair up. Jenny had us pick pictures and send them to her hair stylist. It is important to leave enough time to find hairstylist that you like; Jenny picked out two hairstylists. They were both from Paris, now American locals.

Q: Did you go with your daughter to find her dress? Did you get a little teary-eyed? Was it hard for you?

A: We went out twice locally in West Hollywood. We brought Jenny’s maid of honor, and I remember that moment when I saw Jenny trying on a gown, it was so surreal; I couldn’t believe that my daughter was getting married.  She looked so beautiful in almost everything she tried on.  In the end, we ended up finding a stunning gown during our trip in New York.

Q: Did you buy a new outfit/dress for the rehearsal dinner? What were you looking for?

A: We had two parties, a boat party, where I wore Teri Jon (black with white cuffs- Audrey Hepburn style). I wanted a tea-length dress, something not as formal for this occasion.  It was important for me to be able to move easily around the boat. For the rehearsal dinner, I went with long beaded gown. I was playing off of my daughters theme for rehearsal dinner, which was a retro 20’s style look.  I was thrilled with both of those dresses.  They were perfect for each of the events.

Q: What were you most nervous for in the wedding process?

A: One thing I was nervous about was keeping the weight down to make sure the dress would fit. From a mother-of-the-bride’s perspective, overall the wedding process was nice and calm. I was very happy, relaxed and joyful on Jenny’s wedding day, which is shocking being that most mother of the brides are sad and more emotional.  I could see how happy Jenny was, and it was impossible not to be happy for her.

Q: What was your favorite part of wedding planning?

A: Being a part of a love story; I enjoyed spending time going out with Jenny, shopping and lunching and doing invitations, sitting together with her and being apart of the process from the very beginning up until the wedding day, before she started her new chapter with Freddy.  I know things will be different after the wedding; and I’m so thrilled to have this time to be with Jenny. You know, you spend so many years of your life thinking about your own wedding day, and to some degree this was like reliving all those years.

Q: Did you change your shoes for dancing?

A: I did not switch shoes; I bought very comfortable 1 ½ inch heels,  which were perfect, so I did not need to change for dancing.  I did not want the hassle or bother of dealing with changing my shoes.  I wanted to spend every minute I could at the event and not in a dressing room.  With these shoes I was comfortable and felt pretty the entire event.

Q: Did you help your daughter pick out something “old”?

A: No. Jenny is very close to her dad’s mother, who is 94.  She decided to take a piece from her grandmothers wedding gown and had it sewn into her dress.  Her grandmother was unfortunately not able to attend the wedding, and it was important to Jenny that her grandmother be a part of the wedding in some way.  I was so happy that Jenny could incorporate her grandmother in this way.  

Q: Did you make a checklist of things you needed to bring to the hall?

A: I did not.  But I want to say that if you are planning on having a destination wedding, we found it really helpful to bring a steamer along with us for the dresses.

Q: What advice would you give to other MOB’s?

A: Trust the bride, and follow her lead. I had complete trust in Jenny and Freddy, so I did not feel the need to have to impose myself. When I was asked to help, I was there, but I just trusted them and followed their lead. Trust the bride and follow their lead, stay calm and in the moment. Respect your daughter’s boundaries and her fiancé, don’t take it personally, offer your assistance but do not feel like it is your function. It is their big day, and allow them to have their dreams come true.  I really believe that Jenny felt more comfortable including me because I was there to assist and not take control.  I think being able to observe the amazing people your children have become is so touching; I didn’t feel the need to take control.  

Q: What are the best qualities that a MOB could have during the wedding planning process? What is the best piece of advice you can share with us?

A: I cannot stress enough the importance of communication with one another.  Remember, you can work through everything, so do not hold back, say how you feel.  This is the last time you will get to be a mother before your daughter is a wife.  Enjoy every minute.  Be open and accepting.  And don’t forget to enjoy.

Q: Did you wear the same color as the bridal party? Was that your decisions or the brides?

A: Jenny was very flexible with the color, one of your stylists at Teri Jon helped me find a dress that suited me, a pastel color, and it was magical and worked for the occasion and the venue.

Q: Any last words?  

A: Out of all the places I looked, and all the dresses I tried on- Teri Jon had the MOST selection for my style and taste to choose from.


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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Pat says:

    Very informative

  2. Sarah says:

    Great advice

  3. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing. Very helpful!

  4. Cindy says:

    I live in NY and am planning my daughter’s wedding next April on a ranch outside Denver. Thanks for putting it in perspective and for calming me down…just a bit. P.S. Having a difficult time helping my daughter find shoes for my gown as she will be walking down the aisle on grass. Any suggestions? 🙂

    • Erin Connolly says:

      Hi, Cindy! I’m actually wondering what ranch…I’m in IL but my daughter is getting married at Winding River Ranch outside Denver in July. Any helpful hints for “long-distance ranch-wedding readiness” would be greatly appreciated!!

  5. Erin says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Missy Isaac says:

    Thanks for your input my daughter has a great head in her shoulders and I’m enjoying being part of her big day .

  7. Humberto says:

    This is actually helpful, thanks.

  8. Janet Pitta says:

    I an grandmother of the bride, sometime in the next year or 2. I am a young and young-at-heart grandmother. Do you think I could wear a mother of the bride dress?
    Also, what type of outfit do you recommend for a beach wedding?

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