How To Choose the Best Mother of the Bride or Groom Dress

by Karen

It may be your child’s big day, but it’s also a special day for you as a mother.

Considered the unofficial host to the most important event in the couples’ lives, the mother of the bride or groom must find an outfit that fits her role. It sounds easy enough, but with the sheer number of options available, finding the perfect dress to wear is nothing short of looking for a needle in a haystack.

We understand how incredibly overwhelming this can feel, so we created a guide that will make the hunt for your outfit successful.

Factors To Consider When Shopping for Mommas’ Outfits

Wondering what should mother of bride wear? Consider these factors to narrow your search for the perfect dress.

Couple’s Preferences

Couple with their family in their wedding outfits

The bride and the groom set the theme for the wedding, so they may have certain expectations. Check with the couple before you go dress shopping to see if they have any guidelines on color, style, and the degree of formality for the attire.

This will help you narrow down your search while ensuring you don’t blend in with the guests or look out of place as an important member of the wedding party.

Wedding Color Scheme

Wedding party’s colors

The color scheme of the wedding will dictate the dominant shades throughout the event.

Hence, it’s important for the mother of the bride or groom to take into consideration the wedding party’s colors. By selecting complementary hues, you can help create a cohesive and harmonious look without taking attention away from the couple.


Bride in a beautiful white wedding dress to match the venue

Different venues call for different attire. For example, a formal setting like a church wedding calls for a timeless, elegant gown or a vintage dress to match the ambiance. On the flip side, simple mother of the bride dresses like a cute pantsuit or a flowy dress would be considered more appropriate for a summer wedding.

Plus, when you match your dress to the venue, the pictures come out much nicer!


Season and the weather conditions for a wedding

Believe it or not, the season and the weather conditions play a big role in dictating your outfit.

For example, full-coverage dresses or dresses accessorized with shawls, jackets, or other layers could help you stay warm and comfortable during the winter. However, if the wedding is held during summer, it’s best to wear light, flowy dresses (preferably with short or no sleeves)  to keep cool in warmer temperatures.

Similarly, you’d want to opt for something more practical during the summer, such as a tea-length dress made with a light, breathable fabric for comfort and convenience.

Remember, the Mother of the Bride Selects a Dress First

Tradition dictates that the bride’s mother selects her dress first. After the mother of the bride chooses a dress, the mother of the groom can decide on her dress.

Our tip? Go shopping with the mother of your child’s partner instead. It will smoothen the communication process, allowing you to coordinate your outfits’ hues and patterns without ending up with an exact match.

Plus, it’s a great way to bond with each other before the big day.

A Tell-All Guide on Dress Codes for Mamas of the Engaged Couple

We’ll cover all the important aspects in this section — think colors, length, and style — to help you find the perfect dress for this exciting milestone.


Beautiful old ladies wearing exquisite vintage wedding dresses


If the bride asked you to match the bridal party’s color palette, we can’t stress how well this works in your favor. Now, you can waltz inside stores, ask the attendant for a specific hue by showing a fabric swatch and find your dream dress from the options available.

But if she hasn’t, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Ask what color is the groom’s mother wearing, then explore different hues to find one that complements your complexion and hair color while ensuring it won’t clash with the bridal party.

Navy, jewel tones, and pastels are great picks to subtly stand out. You may want to avoid beige or any color that looks too light in photographs. Don’t forget to skip black and gray as they have negative connotations that can bring a bad vibe to the occasion. Also, avoid champagne, white, and ivory as they can take attention away from the bride.


Vintage dress in matronly styles

MOBs and MOGs were expected to dress in matronly styles before, but that’s no longer the case.

Today, moms are encouraged to wear something they love and feel comfortable in while honoring the bride’s preferences. For example, A-line dresses and evening gowns are elegant mother of the bride dresses, while a tea-length dress is more appropriate for those who want to look glam without looking fussy.

Mother of the bride dresses with 3/4 sleeves, on the other hand, will bring a little flamboyance to your look, creating the perfect balance between innocence and flirtatiousness.

Just make sure you don’t limit your search to style alone.

You should also consider the pattern, color, neckline, and sleeve length. It should enhance your complexion, flatter your best features, and improve your overall look.


Length for the mother of the bride dresses

As the mother of the bride or groom, you’ll be on your feet for the better part of the day, running around, making sure everything is in order for the big day.

So, the length of the dress you choose should be practical without restricting movement. Knee-length dresses in light fabrics are a no-fail, although you can’t go wrong with a trouser suit either.

Of course, you can also select full-length pieces for a more formal and elegant appearance. Just make sure to stay away from styles that easily wrinkle.

Pro Tip: Dress According to Your Body Shape

It’s easy to get lost in the race to stay on trend, but not everything suits everyone.

So, consider your body shape when looking for a MOB or MOG dress.

The right mother of the bride dresses body types will highlight your proportions, camouflage problem areas, and bring attention to your best assets, creating a balanced and aesthetically pleasing silhouette.

Where To Buy Mother of the Bride or Groom Dresses

Looking for the perfect mother of the bride or groom outfit? Begin your search at:

  • WardrobeShop: It has an impressive collection of vintage-inspired mother-of-the-bride and groom dresses that will grab eyeballs wherever you go.
  • Nordstrom: It offers a wide selection of formal gowns and cocktail dresses for different budgets.
  • Anthropologie: It has trendy dresses. You can even find designer names here. While the collection is small, many of its pieces are great for making a statement.
  • Dillards: It has a wide variety of dresses that are well-suited for mamas. It also stocks plus-size fits.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue: It offers luxury, high-end options for mamas who don’t mind splurging for their baby’s big day.

When Should You Purchase the Mother of the Bride or Groom Outfit?

Ideally, you should purchase a dress for the wedding 3 to 6 months before. This ensures you don’t have to settle for a mediocre fit as the big day draws near and will have enough time for alterations if necessary.

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