What should the mother of the bride wear? These mother of the bride style tips will ensure you pick the perfect attire for your daughter’s wedding day!
What should the mother of the bride wear?
This is a question every mom wonders as her daughter’s wedding day approaches.
You want to feel confident and look stylish as the MOB, but you don’t want to overstep your style and overshadow the bride. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to be underdressed either.
And yikes, what if you wear the wrong style entirely or choose the wrong mother of the bride dress colors?
We’ll help you avoid all of the stress and, instead, instruct you on exactly what to wear as the bride’s mom.
If you follow these dress etiquette tips, you’ll feel stress-free as you head into the big wedding weekend knowing you’re going to feel confident (and look great) with the proper mother of the bride dress protocol.
First, the big question on everyone’s mind: what should you wear to your daughter’s wedding?
We’ll follow it up with the other question on everyone’s mind: a dress is great, but does the Mother of the Bride have to wear a dress?
What Should the Mother of the Bride Wear?
As a rule of thumb, the mother of the bride should always dress up for the occasion. This means no informal or casual wear; however, it does not necessarily mean you have to wear a ballgown.
When selecting a dress, the mother of the bride should choose an appropriate outfit suited towards the tone and theme of the wedding, particularly in formality.
If the wedding is formal, the mother of the bride should wear an elegant ballgown or floor-length dress; accessories should be formal in style.
When you’re attending a beach wedding as the mother of the bride, the dress can be more laid back but should still stand out in some way. Many moms opt for a dress with a sparkly jacket or bodice, a midi-length vs. a floor-length gown, or a patterned dress.
Here is an example of a floral dress that would be perfectly suitable for a beach wedding. You can get this style here.
What does the mother of the bride wear to an outdoor wedding?
If the wedding is held outdoors, they should wear a dress with a mid-length (also known as midi) or a cocktail dress are appropriate attire options for the mother of the bride.
In keeping with the semi-formal wedding guest dress code, the mother of the bride can wear an elegant midi or floor-length dress, a pair of dressy heels or flats, and carry an evening purse. Jewelry is a must!
Does the Mother of the Bride have to wear a long dress?
While a long-length gown is a classic and elegant look for the Mother of the Bride particularly for any wedding in the afternoon and evening, it’s not the style every mom wants to wear and that’s OK.
If you’d rather wear a short dress, go for it, as long as the dress code allows (cocktail length is perfect!)
This tiered dress is one example of a Mother of the Bride style that is shorter in length yet doesn’t disappoint in elegance. It features tiers, a jewel-neck capelet, and a flared hem. Available here.
This blue lace dress with a jacket is another favorite style. I think it goes with everything! Get it here.
And if you can’t decide, do the next best thing: choose a midi length. It hits perfectly at the middle of your calf so it’s not too long and it’s not too short. Midi is a very trendy style right now, too, so there are plenty of fashionable midi dresses available.
Should the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom wear the same length?
Ah, this is another question: do you have to wear the same length dress as the Mother of the Groom? Not necessarily. Althogh many moms try to coordinate their look in length, it’s not necessary to do so.
Many may argue this looks better in photos when the dress lengths are similar, but it’s completely up to your discretion.
What NOT to wear as the Mother of the Bride
In addition to what you should wear, it’s important to also note what the Mother of the Bride should not wear to the wedding.
– white or ivory dresses, as that is the bride’s color
– anything skin-tight, revealing, or too short
– uncomfortable shoes or attire: you want to enjoy yourself!
– don’t wear the same color as bridesmaids, as you don’t want to look like an attendant in the bridal party
What color is the mother of the bride supposed to wear?
There is no color set in stone, but most Mother of the Bride dresses are in the following colors: navy blue, grey, silver, gold, black, and blush.
What is the most popular color for mother of the bride dresses?
he top color seems to be Navy Blue, with silver or metallic grey coming up in 2nd place. This is because both colors are universally flattering and go with everything, any season, and any theme.
For fall and winter, we’re seeing an uptick in rich hues of deep rose, emerald, or burgundy / merlot. This dress with a jacket is a perfect example of a color to wear in the cooler months.
In the spring and summer, select a dress with a lighter color. We’re seeing a trend with blush pink and lavender color dresses, like this short sleeve sequin lace sheath gown (available here):
Does the Mother of the Bride dress have to match the same color as the Mother of the Groom’s dress?
No. You do not need to wear the same color dress as the Mother of the Groom.
As a tradition, the mother of the bride typically has the first choice on what kind of dress to wear; then, the mother of the groom selects hers. This gives the honor to the bride’s mom to choose any dress without restriction.
Can the Mother of the Bride wear black?
A black dress is no longer a faux pas at weddings; in decades past, the color was reserved only for funerals. However, this rule has dramatically changed and it is now acceptable to wear a black dress to a wedding as a guest or as the Mother of the Bride, given the dress is proper in formality, length, time (black is best reserved for evenings), and tone of the wedding. Black is best reserved for evening weddings, too.
Here is an example of a short tiered mother of the bride dress in black that is perfectly suited (via here) to the occasion.
Does the Mother of the Bride have to wear a dress?
One big question is: does the Mother of the Bride have to wear a dress? The answer is no! Although a dress is the most traditional option for attire, you can wear anything that is formal enough for the occasion.
These days, anything dressy goes, whether it be a dress, a more formal ballgown, or a stylish jumpsuit, as long as it follows that one major etiquette rule: it fits the tone of the event.
Here is an example of a very beautiful jumpsuit for the Mother of the Bride. It is elegant, fitted, and makes an appropriate Mother of the Bride dress alternative. Get it here.
For another option, try this rhinestone trim jumpsuit! You can get it here.
Is a Jacket Mandatory?
While many dresses for the bride’s mom include a jacket, that doesn’t mean you have to wear one. The Mother of the Bride dresses we’re seeing today — and sharing in this blog post — are more tailored towards style and elegance. We’re not seeing the overly matronly dresses of the past, where a jacket was worn to cover up the entire ensemble.
If you don’t want to wear a jacket, you don’t have to; showing off your shoulders is perfectly acceptable, as shown in this cold-shoulder mother of the bride dress with chic rhinestone straps (available here).
If you’d like to wear a jacket during the ceremony and remove it during the reception, this is one of the best Mother of the Bride dresses to wear! It has a stylish jacket that, when removed, has a lovely sleeveless shift dress underneath, perfect for dancing! Get it here.
Without the jacket:
Or this daisy sequin gown in a long-length and with an elegant drape neck (from here):
And if you do like a jacket, I have some good news for you: many of the mother of the bride dresses with jackets are only adding to the look, vs. the dresses of the past that looked overly matronly. I’m loving these modern options!
As one example, this dark rose Mother of the Bride dress features a lace ruffle trim and a sequined jacket. It is one of the most flattering dresses we’ve seen yet and will look fabulous on you! It’s available at Boscov’s here.
As another instance, here is a sequin ruffle-trim jacket dress, which features a contemporary granite color accented by a sheet floral-embellished topper. Cute! See it here.
For another type of jacket that is new this season, try the beaded poncho. It is similar to the jacket in terms of functionality: it pulls your look together, is flattering, and makes you feel more confident. This gown below is sewn with a beaded poncho overlay to add a little sparkle to your ensemble.
Here are two more options of the poncho gown: first, shown in blush. The second style is shown below in black with a hint of silver.
Another type of jacket or overlay is the flyaway jacket: it is sheer and lightweight. I love how it looks on this blush Mother of the Bride gown with a flare-bottom silhouette. You can see more about this dress here.
And lastly, if you’re hoping to wear one of the Mother of the Bride dresses with a jacket but you’re not committed to the look, try a cape! This cape makes an elegant addition to the dress and features gorgeous rhinestone detail at the shoulders. It is perfect for an elegant wedding. Available here.
What kind of accessories does the Mother of the Bride need?
You should have an evening bag, a pair of dressy shoes, a shawl if it is cold, and jewelry.
Here is one example of a Mother of the Bride attire look you’ll want to copy — and you can! It’s available at Boscov’s here.
This outfit includes a navy blue pantsuit with a sheer jacket, beautiful dark metallic heels, a stylish envelope-style clutch purse, and dangling earrings. What a great outfit!
Where to Buy Mother of the Bride Dresses
These dress style ideas are available at Boscov’s. They also offer the accessories you’ll need: clutch bags, dress heels, and jewelry. You can shop here for the full collection.
If you like a particular dress style on this list, simply click on its photo above and you’ll be redirected to that product listing to purchase.
And as always, if you need more inspiration, check out the collection at Boscov’s which includes regular, petite, and plus size mother of the bride dresses to wear to any wedding.
• Click here to shop now!
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