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Not only do you have to become an instant event coordinator when planning your wedding, but you can add fashion director to your list of qualifications and duties as well. Not that we’re complaining, but chances are you’ll be picking out not only your own wedding dress, but your bridesmaid and mother of the bride dresses as well. Just another thing to add to your plate! 🙂
It’s important to remember that despite your (presumed) ability to veto a mother of the bride dress, you are not going to be the one wearing it. Also, your mother is your MOTHER, which means not only does she most likely have her own taste and opinion, but she is entitled to both.
I personally had to remind myself of this several times when shopping for a mother of the bride dress with my mom. (That’s me and my beautiful mom on my wedding day, pictured above). She definitely has her own fashion sense (which happens to be more fashion-forward and unique than mine), and I was veto-ing practically everything she loved. Until I realized that my wedding day was big for her as well, and that she should wear what makes her happy in the end. She ended up strutting her stuff in a gorgeous Roberto Cavalli gown that I happened to also love. But the bigger point was that she was crazy about. (And bonus? She has worn it again!)
The bottom line is we all need reminders from time to time when planning a wedding that our opinion is not the only one. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and remember…it’s all about compromise!
Before we go over our picks, however, let’s get into some basics.
What color is the mother of the bride supposed to wear?
While tradition may suggest that the mother of the bride should wear neutral colors like black, navy, or silver, there’s no reason not to mix it up and add a pop of color. From bold and bright hues to soft pastels, there are so many options to choose from that will make the mother of the bride stand out in style. And who says she can’t wear patterns or prints? A fun floral or geometric design can add a playful and whimsical touch to the wedding celebration.
One rule? Like any wedding guest or bridal party member, it’s usually best to avoid white unless it’s a theme or specifically requested. You’ll also want to make sure they’re not matching the bridesmaid dresses (unless that’s the intentional plan). Overall, it’s always a good idea for mom to coordinate with the bride or wedding planner to ensure she complements the overall wedding aesthetic.
Should the mother of the groom and mother of the bride dresses be the same color?
The two moms shouldn’t match (identical dresses would make them look too much like bridesmaids). But it’s always nice if they can coordinate with each other and with the overall wedding aesthetic to ensure a cohesive look for the wedding party. Once they have the overall directive they should connect with one another (vs. having the bride be the go-between!) to find dresses that work with one another. It’s a fun way for them to get to know each other even more, and maybe they’ll even inspire each other to try something new!
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Where should I shop for mother of the bride dresses?
When you start shopping for a dress (particularly online) it’s important to remember you don’t have to search specifically for a “mother of the bride” dress. You’ll want to search for evening, formal, or cocktail dresses, depending on the formality of the wedding and wedding dress code. Our favorite stores for party dresses include:
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Neiman Marcus
- Bergdorf Goodman
WGM Says: While you can also rent a dress via a site like Rent the Runway, it can be tricky given the quick turnaround time and availability, especially if you’re looking for a specific color/pattern to coordinate with the wedding party.
The Best Mother of the Bride Dresses for 2023
When it comes to mother of the bride dresses, one type does not fit all! If your mom is anything like my mom, she’s WAY more stylish than me, and is actually willing to take more fashion risks than I am (hence the gorgeous, one-shoulder animal print dress she wore to my wedding). But while she might be fashion forward, there are a lot of moms out there who prefer something a bit more demure.
Below you’ll find a few of my recent favorites for formal to beachside weddings for every budget. If you see anything that you like share them with your mom! And if not, it’s always good to just get a point of reference in terms of colors and styles as well as designers she might like.
Most Festive: Mac Duggal Floral Embellished V-Neck Gown
Get ready to bloom with this stunning floor-length gown! The floral embroidery and paillettes add a touch of dimension and fun to this already fabulous dress. The plunging v-neck and short sleeves create a playful look, perfect for showing off your inner diva.
Best for a Beach Wedding: Sachin + Babi Chelsea Gown
The Chelsea gown is all about effortless elegance. Made from crinkle georgette, this dress has a flattering fit that’s just right, not too snug or loose. The subtle bow on one shoulder? It’s a chic touch without being over-the-top. Perfect for mothers of the bride looking for something classy yet current. And the bonus? It’s versatile enough for other special events too.
Winter Chic: Tadashi Shoji Twist-Front Velvet Sateen Midi Dress
This Tadashi Shoji velvet sateen midi dress is a mix of elegance with a twist-front design. And that red? A total showstopper. From its classy peak lapel to the playful high-low hem, it’s the kind of dress you’ll reach for when you’re looking to impress without trying too hard.
Best for a Garden Wedding: Chiara Boni La Petite Robe’s Gosia Gown
The stunning one-shoulder gown features a beautiful floral print in shades of blue that makes it one of the best mother of the bride dresses for a spring or summer wedding. The dress is made from a soft and comfortable jersey fabric that drapes beautifully, with a one-shoulder design and neckline featuring a subtle ruffle detail.
Best for a Black Tie Wedding: Mac Duggal Embellished Fringe Cap-Sleeve Trumpet Gown
Get ready to shimmy and shine with this Mac Duggal floor-length gown! The shimmering fringe detail at the sleeves adds a playful and fun touch, catching the light with every twirl on the dance floor.
Most Elegant: Rene Ruiz Collection Embroidered Floor-Length Gown
Get ready to turn heads and make a statement with the stunning Rene Ruiz Collection gown! The shoulder-baring neckline adds a touch of sass and sexiness to the sweeping floor-length silhouette, creating a look that is both elegant and playful.
Most Unexpected: Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon Ruched Gown
A perfect blend of sophistication with a touch of the wild, thanks to its metallic animal jacquard. Its asymmetric neckline paired with cap sleeves adds a modern twist, while the center back slit gives just a hint of allure. And to wrap it all up? A full-length column silhouette and a handy invisible back zipper for effortless wear.
Most Dramatic: Marchesa Notte Two-Tone Gown
Dive into the world of color with Marchesa Notte’s gown in popping shades of fuchsia and red. Made from stretch-crepe, it’s got this sleek column vibe with a flowing cape that’s all about drama. And that knotted bodice? It crafts a sweetheart neckline that’s just asking for some shimmer. Whether you go with highlighter or a glitzy necklace, you’re set to shine.
Best for Religious Venues: Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon Coat Dress
Dive into a shimmering world with this Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon coat dress. With metallic jacquard and a chic multi-pattern flair, it’s every bit of understated glam you need. Those 3/4 sleeves and slanted pockets? Oh-so-classy. And with a notched collar and knee-grazing hem, you’re all set for that effortlessly stylish entrance.
Most Versatile: Sabina Musayev Majesty Dress
The Majesty Dress features a crinkle metallic fabric that looks fancy without trying too hard, and a tiered design that moves just right. The bodice cut-out paired with the halterneck tie? It’s a fresh touch, but nothing too wild. And you can trust the fit, thanks to the sneaky back zipper and lace-up tie.
Best for a Neutral Wedding Theme: Sachin & Babi Bonnie Gown
Stepping out in the Bonnie column dress? Expect some double-takes. Its sleeve, crafted from double-face stretch Mikado, sports a chic one-shoulder design, complemented by that tasteful bow detail. Perfect for those days when you want to dress with a splash of joy and exude confidence. After all, life’s about those special moments and feeling fabulous in them.
Most Playful: Mac Duggal Floral Brocade Ball Gown
We love mother of the bride dresses that feel baroque, and this one definitely does! Get ready to make a grand entrance with this stunning Mac Duggal strapless ball gown. The sweeping floor-length silhouette works whether you’re dancing the night away or mingling with guests.
Most Daring: Norma Kamali Strapless Wing Fishtail Gown
Get ready to turn up the heat with this stunning Norma Kamali strapless wing fishtail gown. The double-lined fabric hugs your curves in all the right places, while the pull-on styling and nonslip silicone grip neckline keep you comfortable and secure all night long. And let’s not forget about the exaggerated hip detail!
Ready to shop for Mother of the Bride Dresses? This quick overview should help:
|Mother of the Bride Dresses Overview|
|Where to Shop|
|Neiman Marcus||For when you’re feeling a touch fancy.|
|Nordstrom||From chic to wow, they’ve got a bit of everything.|
|BHLDN||Bohemian elegance anyone?|
|David’s Bridal||A range that truly offers something for everyone.|
|Dillard’s||Dive into their evening wear; you won’t regret it.|
|Colors to Consider|
|Neutral Hues||Think champagne sips, taupe moments, and classy grays.|
|Jewel Tones||Dazzling as emeralds, sapphires, or that gorgeous amethyst.|
|Soft Pastels||Soft touches of blush pink, dreamy lavender, and minty fresh greens.|
|Lacy Numbers||Because, timeless? Always in.|
|Sleek Columns||Effortlessly chic and straight to the point.|
|Jacket/Wrap Combos||Add that layer; it’s both stylish and practical.|
|High-Low Hemlines||A touch of drama without the trip hazard. Win-win!|
|Comfort First||We all know those hours can be long, so comfort is king.|
|Coordinate with Bride Squad||Stay in sync but retain your individual flair.|
Mother of the Bride Dresses FAQ
Navy is the most popular color, as are neutrals like silver and black. However, there has been a trend in recent years to wear more pastels and patterns, even bold colors like hot pink.
There are not rules when it comes to length, it’s what you are most comfortable with. With that said long, knee-length, and midis always look elegant, and add more formality to the event.
You can never go wrong with neutral shades like black, nude, and metallic silver and gold. Just keep in mind whichever color and style you choose, they should be comfortable! You’ll be standing on your feet for hours taking photos, dancing, etc. so you want to choose something stylish and easy to wear.