Frequently Asked Questions: Mother of the Occasion

As a mother, choosing your own ensemble for the wedding can be intimidating.  You might find yourself dropping to the very end of your “to do” list.  Luckily, The White Dress by the shore only needs an hour and a half to make you look and feel as beautiful as you deserve.

To make the process simple for you, here is what we reccomend~

You’ll set your appointment, so that we may give you our undivided attention in the comfort of our private mother of the occasion studio.

You’ll meet one of our highly trained stylists, who will be your personal expert in fit and construction.


You’ll explore multiple collections, hand-picked by owner Beth Chapman, at varying price points, so we can accommodate your taste and your budget.
And then, with your figure flattered in a celebration of your personal style…you’ll dazzle.

All of our dresses are made to order, so we’ll need a minimum of five months for proper delivery and alterations.

images by Abbey Scott

Below are some frequently asked questions and responses from one of our mother of the occassion specialists.  We hope that this information will help you to navigate through the process~

Do I need to schedule an appointment?  Yes!  The White Dress by the shore is a by appointment only boutique, so that we may provide you with exceptional, personalized service.  Each appointment is 1 1/2 hours in length, where you will work one on one with a stylist.

What if I just wanted to come in and browse?  As our goal is to provide you with the exceptional, personalized service you deserve, we strongly encourage an appointment.  Although browsing may seem more relaxing to you, it does not allow us to give you our undivided attention…and we wholeheartedly believe you deserve that.  The majority of our collection is customizable.  Simply viewing the collection without an associate will not allow you the opportunity to discover the myriad of style and color options availalbe. 

Are there dresses that will coincide with my budget? It is helpful to come to your appointment with a budget in mind.  This will help your dedicated stylist to guide you to the dresses that are applicable.  Although mother of the occasion dresses range in price (dictated by a number of variables), we certainly have a diverse selection, accommodating various budgets.  Our mother of the occasion collection ranges in price from $500 – $2800.

Do I have to wear the same length dress as the bridesmaids?  The quick answer is that length is dictated by “personal preference.”  However, sometimes other variables come into play, which can be discussed during your appointment.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited to, bride’s preference, venue, setting/location, tone/feel of the day, what the bridesmaids and/or other mom is wearing.

Do you have anything that won’t make me look like a “typical” mom?  We certainly have a variety of silhouettes and designs to choose from.  Some moms choose a “mother of the occasion” dress from our selection, while others choose a less formal dress from our “bridesmaid” collection.  In our consultation we will determine what option is best for you based on your budget and style needs.

What can I do if I don’t want my arms to show?  Some moms have a concern about their arms, although you all look terrific!  Our collection offers many options.  We can customize many of our dresses to add a sleeve or we can compliment your ensemble with a coordinating jacket,  bolero or a stole.   

I do not want strapless.  Are there other options?  Absolutely!  Generally speaking, any dress is customizable, whether through the designer or during our alterations process.  We can provide you with a “visual” during your appointment, allowing you to see your options.

images by Abbey Scott

Are the colors on the rack the only available options?  The sky is the limit, or close.  Color options vary by designer and fabric, whereby the selection is quite extensive.

Are the dresses available in other fabrics?  Fabrics, like colors, vary by designer’s choice.  Once the silhouette is chosen, we can advise what other fabric option may be available.

Can you accommodate large sizes?  Of course!  Although size charts and special sizing vary by designer, we do our best to make the dress happen for you.

What if I am having difficulties “seeing” the dress/outfit, considering my size?   We (and you) are so fortunate to have one of our designers right “in our backyard.”  Should you choose a silhouette from Modern Trousseau, you have the option to order a muslin, which includes all of your fittings.  The muslin process affords you the opportunity to work directly with the designer and her pattern-maker. Your dress is initially constructed in a cotton material (muslin), that is made from your specific measurements and is then appropriately fitted to your body.  The muslin then becomes the pattern for the final product- your gorgeous ensemble- while allowing you to “see” the dress before it is finished. Amazing experience plus supporting your local businesses, equals a formula for success!

What is required to order a mother of the occasion ensemble (gown/outfit)?  Once we have determined your selection, three things need to happen to place your order with the designer- 1.  we take your measurements, in order to determine the appropriate size according to the specific designer’s size chart; 2. you sign a policy form, which not only confirms your size but provides additional information regarding your order; 3. payment, which is required in full.

How much do alterations cost, and/or are they included in the price of the dress? Alterations vary upon need, and at The White Dress by the shore, are priced a la carte.  Thus, they are not included in the price of the dress, as each client is accommodated according to the work that needs to be done.  Furthermore, at your first fitting you will receive an explanation as to what alterations are needed, along with the total cost.  Generally speaking, mother of the occasion alterations range from $175-$300, with an average of $250. If this range is out of your budget or if our specific alteration days and times do not align with your schedule, we have a network of outside seamstresses that we my refer you to.

What does a fitting entail and how many do I need?  Although there are exceptions to every rule, moms usually have a total of 3 fittings.  A dedicated fit specialist is assigned to you to attend all of your fittings with you.  Each fitting is 1 hour in length, with the final pick up allotted at 2 hours (you may not need the full 2 hours, but we reserve this time in case additional work needs to be done).  Additionally, in alliance with the cost of alterations, the number of necessary fittings will be determined at your first fit appointment.

How far in advance do I have to order?  Although the lead time for a mother of the occasion dress is not necessarily as long as a bridal gown, you still need to plan ahead!   Your dress should be ordered 5-6 months prior to the wedding, in order to accommodate alterations.  With that said, dresses can be ordered with a lesser lead time, however, please be prepared to pay a rush fee (this varies by designer).

I don’t have enough time to order a dress, what are my options? Not to worry! We have an incredible selection of sample gowns that we sell off the rack- meaning gowns that were once our floor models are now being sold ‘as is’ at a great, discounted price! Click here to link to our selection- keep in mind, we usually only sample our Mother of the Occasion styles in one size and color so this option can be more limiting. The size of these gowns usually ranges between 8 and 18. Additional alterations and repairs may be required when purchasing a sample. 

Image by Abbey Scott

 Ring us at 860.669.4596 today to work with your personal stylist to find your mother of the occasion ensemble.  Stay tuned to the blog for amazing mother of the occasion trunk shows!


xoxo, TWD 

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