Friday 20 September 2019

Revealed: This is how much Irish mammies are spending on their wedding outfits

The average cost of mother of the bride outfits in Ireland is rather shocking (hint: it's way more than the bridesmaids' dresses)

Karen Birney

Karen Birney

Irish mammies are spending big on the big day.

And no, we're not talking about how much they're chipping in to the cost of flowers and a few extra places at the table to keep things civil in the extended family, we're talking about how much they're prepared to part with to look the part of the stylish mother of the bride (or groom) for the day itself.

Our most recent survey has revealed that a massive 42% of Irish mammies are spending over €500 on their rigout for their son's or daughter's big day*, which is big bucks for a nice dress and a hat, it must be said.

A tiny 3% of those polled said they were planning to spend less than €100 on their outfits, while 32% said they were looking to spend between €250 and €500 on their wedding rigout.

"Most mothers of the bride when they come in to us say they don't want to spend a fortune on a 'typical' mother of the bride outfit," Nessa Cronin, owner of Vanity Fair Boutique in Newbirdge, Kildare, tells

"We carry dresses from €150, but most of our mothers of the brides end up coming out with the €800 option."

Anoola dress from Vanity Fair
Anoola dress from Vanity Fair
Sarah R dress from Vanity Fair
Caroline Kilkenny at Vanity Fair
Dressed Up at Vanity Fair
Damianou at Vanity Fair

Nessa says it's down to wanting something unique so as to ensure that no other guest will be in the same outfit - which many people believe could happen if they choose a dress for under €200, that "could be worn out to dinner."

"Nine times out of ten when they try on the plain dress they just don't think it's good enough for their daughter's big day, so they end up going for the higher end outfits instead," says Nessa, who believes that while Irish women in their 50s and 60s now have a much 'younger' style, that they still have a firm idea of what a mother of the bride should wear.

"It's very hard for mother of the bride," she says, "they're so much younger (dressing) now so it's hard to find something speical enough... Something that a guest isn't going to be wearing and something that is special enough that they're not going to be worried if they're dressy enough."

Nessa says it's very much the first time mother of the brides who tend to spend the most on the big day, but after they do it once or twice they tend to try to keep costs down. "They work themselves up," she insists, "and they end up with the €800 outfit that they associate with the mother of the bride. But they love it."

Okay to wear white

While the mother of the bride is prepared to splash out on the latest trends, one area that's proving to be a bit tricky is the trend of the mother of the bride in white.

While half of those surveyed by (51%) said it's not okay for the mother of the bride to wear white or off-white for her daughter's wedding, 28% said they think it's okay to wear white if the bride herself requested it.

For Nessa it's a trend on the rise however, with Irish brides seeing it as a way for the mother of the bride to complement her dress, and create a more unfussy bridal party look.

Read more: Oh Mama! 21 show stopping mother of the bride outfits for Irish weddings in 2018

"Four years ago I'd have say no way to a white or cream dress for the mother of the bride, but 100% there's a swing towards it," said Nessa, "often now they're first to sell."

While there's a definite trend towards it with the mothers Nessa is seeing at her boutique, she insists that it's still completely at the discretion of the bride to be. "It's totally up to the bride, if she says no it's no, but often they're quite happy because she feels that it complements the look and won't clash with bridesmaids."

"The mother of the groom is a different story though," Nessa adds, "we've had a few mothers of the grooms marched back in to the shop to return their white or cream outfits. Whatever about her mom, but his mom, now that's just a completely different kettle of fish."

Best to go for the lilac, we think.

* 150 people polled on
**  Here's how much the average Irish bride spends on her wedding dress
Revealed: Here's how much it costs to attend a wedding in Ireland

Lace and beads embellished gown, House of Fraser
Lace and beads embellished gown, House of Fraser
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Look 5 from the latest collection from John Charles, stockists nationwide
Nissa by Phase Eight , £130.00, exclusive to
Veni Infantino for Ronald Joyce Draped Dress, €979.00, McElhinneys Bridal Rooms
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