Mum’s the word – not mumsy

Unless you’re marrying into British royalty, the modern mother of the bride can have some fun with understated glamour, statement shoes and not a wide-brimmed hat in sight, writes Phyl Clarke


W ell, how did that happen? In the blink of an eye, my darling Zoe has gone from a little girl lost in the world of My Little Ponies to an independent young woman of the world, and about to be a bride.

Having gotten over the shock of not being centre stage for once in my life, I’ve taken the view that the upcoming nuptials are a perfect excuse for a bit of an overhaul.

I’m not going to turn into a gym bunny at this stage of my life, so to get in shape I ’ve ditched my

bus ticket to walk to work (a realistic 45 minutes).

I’ve had an on/off relationship with yoga for years. With a deadline to achieve “wedding arms”, I’m enlisting good old Barbara Currie, a British yoga expert, to ease me into shape. She’ll come to your house too – just invest in one of her DVDs like I have.

I’m not going to change my current skincare routine – which involves using a combination of Environ products and Crème de la Mer – but I will try to do some facial exercises to tone and lift. So it’s back to the DVD shelf for Eva Fraser’s Facial Fitness . I love her old-school style – and ladies, it works.

For an extra boost coming up to the event, I’ll be visiting top facialist Elaine Butler Doolin for a course of Meso Vytal – an electrical micro needling treatment where super serums penetrate deep down into skins layers to plump and smooth any fine lines. It works on face, neck, décolletage and hands. I can’t wait.

As for the outfit, I’m keeping it simple and plan to wow with accessories. I chose a Róisín Linnane asymmetric dress which is glamorous but understated and, yes, comfortable.

What lies beneath will be far from glamorous, but will do the job in smoothing out lumps or bumps. To avoid feeling like a trussed up chicken, go for a generous fit with your shape wear.

Ireland’s queen of special occasion underwear is Pauline Chetty who will custom-make the right foundation garment for you if it’s not on the rails of her jam-packed shop on Dublin’s Tara Street. She’ll have your bra size sussed the minute you’re in the door too. Now that inspires confidence.

I plan to go to town on statement shoes. These may be the biggest investment as fabulous footwear with comfort comes at a price. So what, I’ll wear them again.

On the other hand I won’t invest in an expensive headpiece to wear for one outing. I’m planning to hire mine (no fascinators please, or wide-brimmed hats where I have to strain my neck backwards to see my guests).

Hair and make-up on the day can make or break all the hard work and it’s a rare wedding nowadays that doesn’t employ a professional make-up artist. Someone who’s seen more wedding morning dramas than most is make-up artist Leonard Daly.

“The best advice I can give the mother of the bride is to relax. You have employed a team of professionals to do a job. You’ll get the best results when you allow us to do it.”

He’s not a fake tan fan.

“Pale skin with the right treatment is so much more beautiful. Tan can stain your outfit, ages skin and photographs differently than make-up.” His favourite product for all-over perfecting is MAC Face and Body Water-resistant foundation, for its light texture and nontransfer formula. Another no-no is matching your make-up to your “rig-out”.

“This is very dated. I always tell clients to let me match your make-up to you and not your outfit. You should be the star not the turquoise eyeshadow that matches your jacket perfectly.”

He also advocates using a deep-toned lipstick. “There will be lots of flash photos. Wear flesh-coloured lipstick and your lips will disappear. Also a good lip liner will enhance your lip shape and make your lipstick last longer.”

There will be tears so waterproof mascara is a must. Daly avoids mascara on the inner part of the bottom lashes when doing a mother of the bride. His two top mascaras are: YSL Shocking Waterproof and Boots No.7 Hypoallergenic Waterproof .

Barbara Currie’s yoga and Eva Fraser’s
Facial Fitness DVD’s from
Environ is available from
Elaine Butler Doolin, 01-664912 ,
Ró isí n Linnane,
Pauline Chetty, Intimate Lingerie, 01-6771010
Leonard Daly 087-2307734