Mother-of-the-bride Styles + Tips from Frank Murphy & Salon Zeo

Models: Lori kirchner and Susan Lauermann

Congratulations! Your baby is engaged! Whether you’re the mother of the bride or mother of the groom, this is a very exciting time. And, undoubtedly, there are many things you’re responsible for to make sure the day runs smoothly and is the stuff of which dreams are made—and shopping for your dress is one more thing to cross off the list.

To help ease your burden, we enlisted Alexandra Schmalzer, executive fashion director for Frank Murphy, to help find your perfect ensemble—she pulled some gorgeous looks and shares some invaluable tips for you, dear moms (And Niki Zugschwert, owner of Salon Zeo, offers some hair and makeup input, too).

From floral and floor-length with playful pockets to elegant and extraordinary, here are a few MOB and MOG dresses that will make you (almost) as memorable as the bride.

Designer Adrianna Papell
Color Emerald/Blush Floral
Price $375
Trends Florals, illusion necklines, pockets
“You’ve surely seen this Dior inspired trend: Florals are back and better than ever,” says Alexandra Schmalzer. “Illusion necklines are equally popular—but you’ll want to find a great strapless bra. And our favorite part: pockets!”
Frank Murphy #7628

(Below left)
Designer Frank Lyman  
Color Midnight  Price $289
Trends Taffeta, wire collars
“Taffeta is a beautiful, classic fabric known for the way the light dances on the surface. It’s also highly flattering for every shape and size,” Schmalzer says. “A wire collar is such a fun addition to this dress; it can lay flat, be rippled, or raised for added drama.”
Frank Murphy #10360

(Below right)
Designer Adrianna Papell  
Color Dove  Price $398
Trend Peplums
“They work to the advantage of the wearer, both to hide problem areas and aid in the hourglass silhouette,” says Schmalzer. “And as you’ve probably heard, ‘gray is the new black’ and is a great alternative to the classic champagne for mother of the bride.”
Frank Murphy #9329


(Above left)
Designer Mon Cheri  
Color Black/Nude
Price $518
Trends Mermaid dress, horsehair braid, lace overlays
“A mermaid dress is both elegant and elongating; you’ll feel curvy and tall at the same time,” says Schmalzer. “A horsehair braid along the hem provides that perfect ripple you always see on the runways. The lace overlay is a romantic trend that is not going away anytime soon. Available in multiple color ways, both in the lace and the underlining, you’re sure to find the perfect combo for your special day.”
Frank Murphy #10407

(Above right)
Designer Mac Duggal  
Color Wine  Price $578
Trends Two-piece ensembles, outfit changes
“Two-piece ensembles are a great way to mix and match your favorite top and skirt,” says Schmalzer. “While crop tops are very trendy, you may also choose a more traditional top as well. Many women buy two different skirts to go with the same top so that they can change into something less constricting when it’s time for dancing. And, as more brides are choosing a second, less formal dress for the reception, they are convincing their mothers to do the same.”
Frank Murphy #10366

Designer Frank Lyman
Color Slate  Price $345
Trends Beaded dresses,
garters for moms
“Beaded dresses are becoming the top choice for weddings as they photograph incredibly,” says Schmalzer. “The sequins and beads add that extra sparkle as they hit the light. But want to know our favorite trend of 2017 that you can’t even see? The garter for moms. We’ve had lots of mothers buying a garter not only for the bride and bridesmaids, but also for herself. Our garters have different-sized pockets, perfect for lipstick, cellphone, Kleenex (you know you’ll need it), speech, or whatever else you need to carry.”
Frank Murphy #8025

With seating for up to 250 guests (300 for a cocktail party), a smaller space for more intimate gatherings, a bride’s suite—complete with 6 makeup stations and bridal waiting area—and a unique groom’s room, and all with more than a touch of Southern flair, the Charleston Event Center is the perfect venue for your big day.

“The big thing here is that you have that whole private mansion feel,” says owner Shannon Hartinger.  “Having an event at Charleston Event Center is like renting a mansion for the day.”

(Look for an extended piece on the Charleston Event Center in a summer 2018 issue.)

Editor’s Note: A heartfelt thanks to all of the women who shared their time, talents, products and venue to help make this feature possible.