Guide to Choosing a Mother of the Bride Dress


Photo Courtesy of: Eli Turner


Your daughter’s wedding day is right up there with your own in terms of the most memorable, joyous occasions in your life. While the spotlight is fixed on the bride during her special day, choosing a dress is an important decision for you, too. You’ll want to make sure that you look your best, for this exciting milestone. 

What Should the Mother of the Bride Wear to a Wedding?

The first step to dress shopping for the mother of the bride is consulting with the bride. Choices that were once dictated by strict rules of ethics are now very much up to the couple tying the knot, so you’ll need to talk to your daughter to get a sense of her expectations. Former faux pas like wearing white (risking a clash with the bride), black (indicating mourning) or red (too flashy) are perfectly acceptable now, as long as you have the bride’s blessing.


Before you start shopping, be sure that the wedding’s theme, colors and level of formality have been established. This will help you narrow down your options and ensure that you don’t look out of place in the wedding party. But don’t wait too long, either. It’s smart to allow about three months for any necessary alterations to be made. You’ll have enough to stress about as the big day approaches, so get your dress taken care of well in advance.


What Color Does the Mother of the Bride Wear?

If the bride rules out a color you like, such as white or black, you can accommodate her wishes by choosing a similar shade -- think champagne or silver instead of white, and midnight blue or dark charcoal in place of black. If you love bold hues but don’t want to call too much attention to yourself with overly bright colors, opt for a darker or lighter version like a deep burgundy or a soft rose instead of red.


What about coordinating with the bridal party? Again, it’s up to the bride. A wedding party dressed in perfectly matching shades makes for dramatic photos and a sense of aesthetic unity, but mismatched and rainbow looks are popular wedding trends that can be just as striking. A good compromise is choosing a dress that complements the bridesmaids’ gowns without matching them perfectly. If the bridal party is wearing royal blue, you could wear navy; if they’re in purple, look for a dress in lavender. Stay within the same color spectrum for a harmonious look that’ll still set you apart.


Still at a loss? Our elegant floral beaded godet gown in taupe is perfectly neutral and so versatile, it’ll complement any color scheme and make sure you look amazing.

Floral Beaded Godet Gown with Short Sleeves 


From Black Tie to Beach Weddings

Modern weddings can run the gamut of formality. Casual brides are likely to embrace the idea of a beach wedding or a rustic country occasion, opting for midi dresses over formal gowns or casual mother of the bride dresses. Other ladies like to celebrate their big day with all the high-fashion flair of a red carpet event. The choice is entirely up to your daughter -- regardless of your personal preferences, ensure to follow suit for her special day. 


For a more formal wedding, dare to dazzle in a gorgeous number like our scoop back sequin gown, available in a range of flattering colors.

Scoop Back Sequin Gown


Or a cap sleeve diamond beaded cocktail dress featuring elegant detailing with a less formal cut, perfect for a wedding that’s not quite black tie.


Vine Beaded Sheath Dress with Flounce Short Sleeves 


Seasonal Styles

The time of year should inform the wedding colors and styles, including the mother of the bride’s dress. Sweet pastel shades are perfect for springtime, while fall supplies the autumn leaf palette of reds, browns and golds. Summer and winter offer the opportunity to go a little bit bolder -- midsummer allows for more vibrant colors than the rest of the year, while in winter, silver with deep reds and greens call a snowy landscape to mind.


This Floral Metelasse Gown with Short Sleeves is sure to stun for a springtime wedding.



Coordinating with the Mother of the Groom

Once you’ve found your dress, it’s customary mother of the bride etiquette to share your selection with the mother of the groom. The two mothers’ looks should complement one another, and the mother of the groom will typically take style cues from your dress of choice. Sometimes the mothers will even choose to go shopping together, which makes a great bonding experience while also ensuring that the two dresses coordinate beautifully.


Ready to Shop, Mom?

For a huge range of great mother of the bride looks, take a look at our hand-picked collection of mother of the bride dresses. We’ve got the rest of the family covered, too -- be sure to check out our complete selection of dresses for wedding guests, too.