What Does the Mother of the Bride or Groom Wear to a Summer Outdoor Wedding?

by Karen

Choosing mother of the bride or groom dresses for summer outdoor weddings can be perplexing and challenging with the sheer amount of choices out there. There’s a lot of pressure to wear a dress that is appropriate for one’s role in the wedding and the summer season.

So, what should the mother of the bride or groom wear to a summer outdoor wedding?

Let’s take a look. 

Summer Wedding Dresses for the Mothers of the Bride and Groom

Traditionally, the MOTB chooses her dress first, then communicates what she’s going to wear to the groom’s mother. This gives the wedding processional a cohesive look where dress colors and styles match the color palette of the event.

When it comes to a summer wedding, however, the etiquette is usually much more relaxed. The mothers of the bride and the groom can dress a little more casually because of the warmer season, however, they must still consider the following factors:

Summer Wedding Dresses for the Mothers of the Bride and Groom

Formality of the Wedding

Is the summer wedding formal or informal? Whatever the answer, summer wedding attire is generally more casual with laid-back styles that can be comfortably worn during hot weather.

It helps if you wear flowy, lightweight fabrics that are appropriate for the occasion. If you plan to wear heels, check if the venue has any grass and what the ground is like.

Time and Place of the Wedding

When it comes to dress codes, the time and location of the wedding will impact what you wear. If the wedding takes place during the day, you should wear light and bright colors with shorter hemlines. In contrast, an evening wedding might require floor-length embellished gowns with decorative beads and sequins.

Here are some venues that will further influence your attire:

Beach Party

Wear a flowy, lightweight floral dress with statement jewelry for a laid-back informal or semi-formal wedding that takes place at the beach.

Tea-length, cocktail-length, and knee-length dresses are great picks. Long maxi dresses with a loose silhouette can also work. You can accessorize tea length dresses with flats or sandals as well as lightweight accessories.

Experiment with various beach-inspired prints, fabrics, and cuts until you find one that you like. 

Even though the venue is at the beach, we don’t recommend wearing sundresses and beachwear because they are too informal for the occasion. In addition, figure-hugging dresses can be too warm and hot.

Garden and Rustic Outdoor Wedding

If an outdoor wedding is more formal, consider swapping a flowy dress in favor of a lightweight evening gown or a fitted mid-length dress with long sleeves. You can also go for a silk shirt and wide-leg trousers to match the rustic farmhouse vibe (if the bride allows it).

When looking for mother of the bride dresses for a garden summer wedding, keep in mind that the bride and groom might want you to stay in the same color family as the rest of the bridal party. If no color scheme has been specified, you can’t go wrong with navy blue and other neutral colors.

When it comes to footwear, we recommend block heels, wedges, and elegant sandals because they’re more comfortable to wear and walk in. You may also want to add a fashionable hat to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun.

Choosing the Right Colors

Avoid wearing white, champagne, and other colors associated with the bridal dress. Anything that will outshine the color of the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses is a big no-no.

If you don’t know what dress color to buy, ask the bride for recommendations. Chances are, she already has a particular style or color in mind. You can try a couple of outfits that meet her standards, but if they don’t suit you, feel free to communicate with her and choose another dress.

For summer mother of the groom dresses, you can consider shades of yellow, green, blue, and orange. You might also go for a more laid-back look with print dresses. 

Appropriate Dress Styles for Your Son’s or Daughter’s Wedding

Mothers of the bride and groom were previously required to wear conventional, matronly gowns that obscured their beauty, but many such formalities have become more relaxed over the years. Mothers are now encouraged to dress in clothes that make them feel and look attractive.

It may not be your wedding, but who’s to say you can’t look second-best after the bride?

On that note, here are some mother of the groom dress ideas and casual mother of the bride dresses for outdoor summer weddings to inspire you:

1. Knee-length Lace Dress

A knee-length lace dress in a candy-colored hue with a modest neckline is an excellent dress option. You can customize some features, such as the sleeves, to keep up with the light, informal mood of a rustic summer wedding.

Once you’ve chosen an outfit among the rustic wedding mother of the groom dresses for summer outdoor wedding, finish the look by leaving your hair in natural waves or pinning it back. These are practical looks that will keep you comfortable during the festivities of the day.

Knee-length lace dress for mother of the bride styles

2. Long Print Dress

A loose, long print dress made of lightweight fabric is perfect for outdoor wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Choose one with balloon or bell sleeves and modify the length as you wish. Mother of the groom long dresses come in a variety of bold and light colors, but make sure they don’t clash with the event’s color scheme.

Opt for a flattering V-style neckline and match it with a sleeveless or short-sleeved look for a true summer vibe. If embellished bodices suit you, skip the accessories to avoid going overboard. Put on a pair of strap-on heels and gold earrings, and you’re ready to go.

Mother of the groom long dresses

3. Sheath Dress

A sheath dress is a solid choice because it flatters almost all body types. If you want a vintage MOB dress, a neutral-colored knee or tea-length dress with lace embellishments is a lovely and appropriate style.

A sheath dress with an empire waist is a figure-flattering style that can hide common problem areas like the stomach and hips.

Appropriate mother of the bride sheath dress styles

4. Flowy Dress

A pretty flowy dress in shades of pink and blush offers a softer, more youthful look. Choose a dress with cap sleeves and a style that will flatter your body type. This will keep you comfortable in your dress even if the temperature rises.

You can also add embellishments to make your dress more appealing. The right amount of lace, beads, sequins and appliqués in the right places can take a dress from so-so to wow!

Flowy dress for mother of the bride outfit

5. Off-the-Shoulder Mid-length Dress

If you have nice shoulders and delicate collarbones to show off, an off-the-shoulder mid-length dress may be the perfect dress style for you. This style can be trendy, elegant, and comfortable for weddings as long as you choose a light, breathable fabric.

For more formal evening affairs, choose a long-sleeved version. On the other hand, a sleeveless off-the-shoulder number would be more wearable for a daytime summer wedding.

Off-the-shoulder mid-length dress for mother of the bride outfit

6. Victorian and Edwardian Dresses

Nothing can surpass the romanticism and beauty of Victorian and Edwardian gowns. These gowns are constructed with luxurious lace and delicate layers of fabric that are embellished with beautiful embroidery for an attractive, elegant, and graceful look.

Channel Daphne Bridgerton by wearing gorgeous, intricately decorated gowns with lace gloves, or go for figure-hugging vintage-inspired dresses. Choose from a variety of sleeve designs and dress cuts. Bring back the drama and sophistication of the 1940s and 1950s while remaining completely comfortable in your flowing dress.

With their lightweight materials, flowy cuts, and vintage designs, Victorian and Edwardian dresses seem to be made especially for summer weddings!

Victorian and edwardian dresses for mother of the bride

7. Flapper Dresses

Flapper dresses are straight and loose fabulous frocks with bare arms or ultra flimsy short sleeves that will give you that vintage glamor look of the Roaring Twenties. You might go for a classic look with a black and gold flapper-style fringe dress, or go for a more subtle vibe with mauve or lemon colors.

Vintage wedding flapper dresses for mother of the bride

8. Plus-Size Dresses

If you’re a full-figured woman, you know how difficult it is to find a dress that is comfortable and flattering. You can save yourself from a lot of headaches (and even heartache!) by shopping in the plus-size section.

Plus-size dresses are made to fit and caress your generous curves. Instead of a frustrating expedition for extra-large sizes in the regular section, consider the dress section for plus sizes.

Plus-size attire has exploded in the last several years with more choices and variety than ever. You may just find the perfect lightweight and flattering dress for the wedding if you’re willing to give plus size a chance. 

Plus-Size wedding mother of the bride dresses

A Few More Friendly Tips

Many bridal stores have dress styles that will look great on the mother of the bride and groom. Make sure to visit them and try on a couple of dresses. They may be overpriced but you don’t have to commit.

Even if you don’t buy one right away, the experience can give you insight into what styles and cuts look good on you. The next time you go shopping, you’ll have an easier time pinpointing which dresses deserve a second look and which ones get a hard pass.

Finding dresses for mother of the groom entails shopping around, awareness of general wedding etiquette, and even coordination with the bride and groom.

For example, the mother of the groom should avoid wearing the same color as the bride, bridesmaids, and bride’s mother. It’s thus a good idea to ask the bride for advice, or a swatch of the bridesmaids’ dresses so you know which colors to avoid.

By doing so, you have a much better chance of picking a great-looking dress that doesn’t clash with the bridal party. 

Wrapping Up

Finding the perfect dress for your son’s or daughter’s wedding can be difficult. However, once you consider the timing, location, and formality of the event, the decision becomes much simpler.

By following these guidelines and our advice, you can find the picture-perfect dress for the wedding and yourself.

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