Mother of the Bride Attire Guidelines
mother of the bride attire Guidelines

Sources: 1. La Femme Gown on Couture Candy 2. Scalloped Mesh and Lace Dress with a Shawl from David’s Bridal 3. Cathleen Dress from BHLDN 4. Sequin Lace Shift Dress with Matching Jacket | David’s Bridal 

Commission links are used in the shopping sources of this post.

What Should the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom Wear to the Wedding?

Once the engagement is announced, the next questions of date, location, and my personal favorite,– what to wear– start to come up! After the couple has chosen their own attire, one of the looming questions is what should the Mother-of-the-Bride or Mother-of-the-Groom wear for a wedding? Selecting styles that suit the wedding’s spirit, formality, and location is a great place to start. Here, we’ll review some mother of the bride attire guidelines  and etiquette. (That apply to the Mother-of-the-Groom as well)!

Note: Portions of this post appeared in part on my Tips and Trend ideas for a column I wrote for Your Wedding Experience. Since that site and content no longer exists, I wanted to make sure a version of our current tips could live on, so I’m sharing them here! I’ve added some new details and up-to-the moment tips!

Commission links are used in the shopping sources of this post.

How to Choose Mother-of-the-Bride and Mother-of-the-Groom Dresses

gray floral mother of the bride dress

Liliana Dress from BHLDN

Most Mothers-of-the-Bride and Mothers-of-the-Groom naturally want to select attire that will allow them to look their absolute best and will appropriately reflect that role of honor. It should also be noted that the role of Mother-of-the-Bride or Mother-of-the-Groom can extend to stepmothers, grandmothers, or anyone who might be a special mother-like figure in the couple’s life.

Here on Dress for the Wedding, to help you in that search, we’ve organized Mother of the Bride Dresses by Season and Color, and Dress Code! The links below will lead you to each of these options!

Find Mother of the Bride Dresses by Color

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Spring Weddings 

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Summer Weddings

 Fall Mother of the Bride Dresses

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Winter Weddings

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Beach Weddings

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Black Tie Weddings

Plus Size Mother of the Bride Dresses

We always find that Nordstrom,  BHLDNAdrianna PapellNeiman Marcus, Dillards, David’s Bridal, Saks, all have great options for those of you shopping online for your Mother of the Bride dresses.

Where to Find Mother of the Bride Dresses that Suit Your Style

Short Grey Lace Dress for a Wedding Guest or Mother of the Bride

A mother of the bride style idea with a short cocktail dress. See the shopping details and full post here, or browse Tadashi Shoji dresses like the one shown here!

No matter what the dress code is and no matter what  your personal style is, there’s a mother-of-the-bride dress designer for you. Some great labels for Mother of the Bride Dresses include:

  • Adrianna Papell– Always elegant and modern. Known for sequined and beaded gowns. One of our favorite brands for mother of the bride and bridesmaids. Beautiful ball gowns, beaded dresses, and a full range of sizes from petite to plus.
  • Aidan Mattox – Modern beaded styles, with fantastic details!
  • Alex Evenings Classic and reasonably-priced mother of the bride styles, often with lace and sleeves, ad jackets. These easy to wear styles are often a great choice for grandmothers in the wedding as well!
  • Alyce Paris – Striking styles for special occasions. Lots of beautifully proportioned evening gowns with long sleeve, and elegant details.
  • BHLDN  – A boutique-like collection of romantic, and tasteful mother of the bride styles, in the most current colors and styles.
  • Eliza J – A range of styles from chic cocktail-length lace dresses to beautiful ballgowns!
  • Tadashi Shoji – Elegant lace dresses with great fit! A top choice for classic, flattering gowns.
  • Teri Jon – Always elegant high-quality gowns, a favorite of well-dressed Mothers of the Bride everywhere!
  • Terani Couture – Dramatic, and richly emebellished gowns ovften iwth on-trend details. Great gowns for making a statement or for very formal evening wear!
  • Pisarro Nights- Beautifully beaded styles at reasonable price points, with looser draping and silhouettes for those who want a more relaxed fit
  • RM Richards – Modern classics that are very affordable, most dresses retail for under $150!
  • LaFemme – Classic evening gowns and very special special occassion looks, and sure to garner compliments galore!
  • Favania – Special occasion evening gowns, with drama and elegant formal looks!
Trends in Mothers’ Wedding Attire

When looking for mothers’ wedding attire there are so many options:  there are long gowns, two-piece jacket and dress ensembles, and short and chic cocktail dresses in a myriad of colors and styles. Gone are the stuffy styles of years ago; there are many fashion-forward options for mothers that reflect current trends. Metallic fabrics, beaded gowns, colorful cocktail dresses, intricate illusion necklines, and embellished details are all in style for mothers’ attire this year.  Here’s one look that combines elegant styling with modern touches!

 

Here on Dress for the Wedding, to help you in that search, we’ve organized Mother of the Bride Dresses by Season and Color, and Dress Code! The links below will lead you to each of these options!

Find Mother of the Bride Dresses by Color

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Spring Weddings 

Summer Mother of the Bride Dresses 

 Fall Mother of the Bride Dresses

MOB Dresses for Winter Weddings

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Beach Weddings

Mother of the Bride Dresses for Black Tie Weddings

Plus Size Mother of the Bride Dresses

We always find that Nordstrom,  BHLDNAdrianna PapellNeiman Marcus, Dillards, David’s Bridal, Saks, all have great options for those of you shopping online for your Mother of the Bride Dress.

what should the mother of the bride wear?

 

It’s hard to go wrong with a gown like this one! Navy is also a great color for so many weddings. Beaded Mesh Gown by Adrianna Papell

Consider the Color Scheme

Before starting the search for the mothers’ attire, it is helpful if the engaged couple gives the mothers in the wedding an idea of the color scheme of the wedding, indicates the attire and level of formality for other members of the wedding party, and expresses their personal ideas about what the mothers might wear. It is especially helpful if the couple can specify any colors and styles they want the mothers of the wedding to avoid, and any colors and styles they’d particularly like the mothers to consider. Within those guidelines, there should be lots of flexibility so that each mother may select a dress or outfit that suits her personal style. Find your color scheme below

Sequined and Metallic  Red and Burgundy    Pink and Blush     Coral and Peach 

Yellow   Green    Light Blue    Dark Blue  Purple and Lavender 

Silver and Gray  Gold, Taupe, Neutral     Black     Floral

Should the Mothers of the Bride Match the Wedding Party?

The mothers’ attire can be a wonderful way to introduce some of the secondary colors of the wedding, or to accent the rest of the wedding party’s attire for a cohesive appearance in pictures. If one is stumped for color ideas, I often recommend that the mothers’ dresses be a shade darker or lighter than the bridesmaid dresses in a similar or pleasantly contrasting hue and tone. For instance, if the bridesmaids are wearing burgundy, selecting a mothers’ gown in a dusty deep rose or muted dark plum might work, or trying other deep muted colors like pewter, navy, or mocha could potentially be a nice balance with the burgundy dresses.  Sharing ideas on Pinterest is a wonderful way to communicate these ideas to understand the specific vision each person has about what the mothers will wear. As with all wedding attire, long gowns and embellishment are more suited to formal and semi-formal weddings, while light fabrics, shorter lengths, and more casual styles are suited to daytime weddings.  Keep in mind that personal preferences vary widely about the attire for mothers; some brides would be honored for their mothers to wear light neutral colors like champagne, blush or gold, while others may feel these lighter colors compete with the bridal gown. Again, communicating any of these thoughts at the start of the attire search is key. Here’s a post we did with some ideas for how to coordinate with your bridal party.

Does the Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom pick her dress first?

Traditionally, the Mother-of-the-Bride will select her gown or color first, and then she will communicate with the Mother-of-the-Groom about her choice so that they may select attire of generally equal formality in harmonious colors. However, the mothers’ dress styles do not have to exactly reflect each others’ choices — different hem lengths and styles are acceptable if they are acceptable to the couple, or to whoever is making the general attire decisions.

Timeline for Purchasing Your Mother of the Bride Dress

Once the mothers have found some options, both mothers should run their selections by the couple and communicate with each other before making their final selection to ensure the dress they have selected is in keeping with the wedding day.  The mothers’ dresses should be purchased at least 3 or 4 months before the wedding to allow plenty of time for alterations. Many specialty shops require longer lead times for ordering, so be sure to start the search for gowns early in the process. I advise taking a look at the mothers’ dresses while the bridesmaids are searching for their attire. However, if there is a last-minute need or a short timeline, many retailers now carry a beautiful selection of mothers’ gowns that are available for immediate purchase. Again, we recommend looking at the offerings at Nordstrom,  BHLDN, Adrianna Papell for dresses that are available to ship immediately!

Check out more mother of the bride dresses, and styling ideas!