Q: I don't want to look dowdy at my daughter's wedding. Can you help?
1. Work with the wedding's mood and color scheme—and consult the groom's mom so you don't clash.
2. Break in new shoes at home a few days before the event.
3. Beware of bare or ultrashort (a little dignity, please), but avoid head-to-toe coverage—the goal is to play up your best feature.
Shine, but don't outshine the bride: Separates are equal to the occasion if they're cream and silver brocade (left, Calvin Klein jacket, top, and skirt, $128 each; brooch, Alexis Bittar). This jersey gown isn't overly revealing and has lavish, shape-creating beading at the waist (right, David Meister, $428).
Q: I'm 44 and getting married for the second time. How should I dress? Is white okay?
Grown-up brides deserve distinctive dresses: Short looks smart covered with glistening tiers of fabric (left, Carmen Marc Valvo Collection, $680; necklace, Talbots). This glamorous bias-cut satin gown is worth a splurge (right, Vera Wang, $3,200).
Q: How can I avoid making my friends spend a lot on one-shot bridesmaid dresses?
Cute dresses they'll want to wear again: A simple boatneck comes in modern colors (J.Crew, $260). Rich jewel tones (David's Bridal, $145) are cheerier than black yet still formal. Satin shoes in sophisticated shapes (Lela Rose for Payless dye-to-match slingbacks or pumps, $45 each) provide an affordable shot of color.