The to-do list for mothers of the bride is long, but local consultants say picking out her dress should be at the top of the schedule.

“It’s important for the mother of the bride to feel good in what she’s wearing. The mother of the bride is the hostess of the event, the mother of the groom is an honored guest,” said Nicole Bergeron, owner of Deshotels Dress Shop in Eunice.

It’s easy to get so bogged down with other wedding details that picking a dress becomes a low priority.

“Most mothers think of themselves last, but it still takes three to four months for a dress to come in, and you want to make sure you have something you really like,” said Helen Durham, owner of Gabrielle’s Bride and Occasion Salon.

The rule of thumb is that the mother of the bride chooses her gown first, and then the mother of the groom selects hers.

“Moms take the longest to pick something. They’re scared to do it because of body image,” said Robin Gilley, manager of Bridal Boutique.

“They still want to look younger and feel good about themselves,” she added.

Plenty of dress options include sleeves or jackets. Forgiving chiffon skirts and lace are popular as are illusion tops with lace and bead work to make the dress special.

Moms need to pick a dress color that complements the bridesmaids. Neutral colors like beige, mocha and champagne can be good choices. Navy, royal blue or royal purple are popular selections, but the hue needs to complement the other wedding colors.

“You don’t want to be wearing a pastel if everyone else is in darker colors. Think about how the photographs will look,” Durham said.

Fortunately, the design consultants say there is a wide selection of gowns, styles and sizes that can help accentuate the best of any figure. Picking out one in plenty of time is the key.