What to Consider For Your Mother-of-the-Bride Dress

Bride and Mother with Matching Dresses

Although a wedding is mostly geared toward the bride and her ensemble, what her parents look like for the occasion matters as well. The level of formality the happy couple desires will set the tone for a mother-of-the-bride dress. If the ceremony is black-tie, for instance, it is expected the mother of the bride will don a formal gown or dress. For those mothers who are looking for that right fit, these tips will help you consider and select the perfect dress for both the occasion and for you.


1. Don’t forget to consult the bride!

If you do not know the colors your daughter and future son-in-law have chosen for their wedding, you should. You certainly do not want to choose a dress that clashes with the color palette. If they are getting married in winter and have chosen a soft pastel palette, you do not want to choose a bright, flashy dress; rather, select an elegant, classy dress, perhaps in silver or light blue. Always steer clear of traditional wedding dress colors, such as white and ivory, and most definitely the often black dress of mourning, unless it is a super-formal evening ceremony and the bride has previously given her approval of a black dress.

Most dress styles come in a variety of colors and shades, so invite your daughter to tag along on a shopping adventure or two before you nail down your choice. If she lives far away from you, never fear. There is a huge selection of dress options from brick-and-mortar chain stores such as Nordstrom’s, David’s Bridal, and Macy’s. If you find something available both online and offline, you can plan a telephone shopping adventure where you can both check out the dresses chosen in locations near your own homes.


2. Remember, etiquette counts.

Traditional etiquette states that the mother of the bride sets the tone for the attire of the mother of the groom. Generally speaking, the mother of the bride selects her dress or gown and then shares a photo with the groom’s mother so she will know the standard of dressiness for the occasion. It would be a fashion nightmare to leave these matters to chance, because someone would inevitably dress too formally or too casually for the occasion.

Another matter of etiquette and tradition states the mother of the bride generally arrives early for the big event to greet the wedding party and guests, bridging the union for both sets of family and friends. It is also common for the bride’s mother to gather wedding party members and special guests of the bride and groom for the photographer ahead of time. This way, the photographer knows exactly the location and those involved in the photographs he or she will be taking.

3. Be sure your dress flatters and compliments your shape.

One of the most embarrassing scenarios for any bride is for her mother to wear something that looks atrocious on her. This could be a dress that is too tight, too young-looking, or just overall unflattering. If you cannot model the dress for your daughter in person, have someone take a photo of you in your proposed dress and send it to your daughter for her opinion. While she doesn’t have to give her approval or permission for your dress choice, it is a kind gesture to make sure you wear something that doesn’t make her or you feel embarrassed on what is meant to be a joyous occasion.

Along the same lines, be sure your dress is not fancier or sexier than your bride’s dress. While it is acceptable to show some skin, you probably don’t want to show more than the bride. This includes cleavage, leg, and back in particular. This day is about your daughter, so let her have her moment. Save the scandalous dress for a dinner out with your husband or sweetheart.

4. Don’t forget to have fun.

Despite the unspoken rules for dressing the mother of the bride, for you it is ultimately about the fun and enjoyment of watching your daughter walk down the aisle for one of the most important and special moments of her life. Don’t lose sight of that and miss out on those special little moments between the two of you before and after the “I dos.”