Mother of the Bride Dresses

Your little girl is all grown up, and now she's getting married. Don't you want everyone at the wedding to know where she gets her fabulous sense of style and good taste from? Mother of the bride dresses have come a long way from the stuffy numbers in style decades ago. Today's moms are strutting their stuff, looking great and feeling glamorous on their daughters' wedding days. A little legwork (or mousework!) can go a long way -- start early so you don't have to worry about your outfit as the big day draws near!  

Things To Remember

As the mother of the bride, you have a lot of responsibilities -- and I'm not talking about writing checks. You have to look great for celebrating your daughter's special day. This means selecting the perfect attire. What exactly does that mean? * "Perfect" is something both comfortable and figure flattering. * It is also something that complements the color scheme of the wedding. * It is colored to not clash with the wedding gown or bridesmaid dresses. * It is tasteful and not gaudy or frumpy. * It is something that expresses the formality and tone of the wedding without upstaging the bride. Achieving all of these things is not a hard task as long as you start planning ahead of time. Too many mothers have procrastinated to the point of scrounging around for a dress just weeks before the wedding. Not choosing a dress early enough may affect everyone's planning. Your daughter is expecting you to tastefully represent her on her wedding day. The mother of the groom can't start shopping for herself until you have chosen your dress. And lastly, not planning ahead leaves you with fewer choices and less time to really plan out and find the best accessories, not to mention that alterations can take a week or two at least. Don't forget that you will be part of the wedding photos and you are a crucial member of the wedding party; all eyes will be on you.

Helpful Tips

To start, begin shopping around for mother of the bride dresses as early as six months before the wedding. Have tea at your daughter's house to sneak a peek at her bridal magazines -- there are plenty of dresses to give you an idea of what is in fashion. Talk to your daughter about the wedding and how formal it will be. A full dress formal wedding in a cathedral and an evening banquet hall reception allows you to wear an elegant ballgown or full length sheath dress. However, a casual backyard bash in the afternoon calls for something much more informal, such as an afternoon garden party dress. While taking into account the formality of the wedding, also note the time of day and the season in which the wedding will take place, since these will dictate what fabrics you choose, the length of the dress, the cut of the bodice, the color, and any cover-ups you might need. It will even make a difference in the type of shoes you choose. If it's a winter wedding or a night wedding, don't forget to find a matching shawl.


* White, ivory, and off-white are typically not acceptable. However, champagne, a richer, more colorful hue, is possibly one of the most popular shades. Not only is it subtle, but it also matches well when the bride wears a shade of white. Champagne is also a good color because it can look good by itself or with embellishments. Note that champagne is basically the same as sand, taupe, and nude. * Black, a color usually viewed as unlucky for weddings, is not typical for mother-of-the-bride dresses. However, styles are changing and black is becoming more acceptable except in very traditional circles. You'll see several black numbers available, often excellent choices for evening weddings and very formal receptions. The only time when black is an absolute no-no is when the bridesmaids are also in black; you should stand out, not match! * Rich jewel tones (burgundy, plum, hunter green) and pretty pastels (lavender, aqua, rose) are good choices as long as you select them seasonally and in line with the colors of the wedding. Silver is very popular too. When it comes to style, the sky is the limit. Make sure that the dress reflects you and your style and that it flatters your figure. If you find a dress that suits the wedding, pleases the bride, and is something you can wear again, you're set.  Make sure any embellishments or jewelry is subtle. Pearl accents are a great choice. You may be tempted to wear the "mother of the bride" pin your daughter got you, but it's a little tacky. Just remember not to upstage the bride. Remember that you can mix and match skirt and bodice styles to change the look, and by selecting different fabrics, you can greatly change the formality of a dress. Usually, the simpler you go, the easier it is to rewear a dress. For tips and advice on fit, check out the guide to Figure-Flattering Clothes for Women. And don't forget to bring the embroidered handkerchief your daughter got you so you can wipe away those happy tears.

Dress Styles

* Go short and sexy to show off great legs. Just don't draw too much attention to yourself. Good for afternoon parties, especially in summer. * If your daughter is okay with a cocktail dress or strapless gown, consider that option as well. Just remember to keep it tasteful. * Keep it casual with printed fabrics, or add a more formal touch to the same fabric by wearing it in a sleek, floor-length sheath. * A classy, sexy suit never goes out of style and with a full dress and jacket you can easily go from day to evening. * A long, elegant column dress can be formal or semi-formal. * Go all out for a top-notch formal event with a full size ballgown. You'll feel like a queen next to your daughter -- the princess. * Comfort is key and if pants are what make you feel best, sample the range of pant suits available. They can be as casual or as formal as you like. *Tea-length and voluminous knee-length dresses are all the rage. They are young, flirty, and perfect for casual or semi-formal events. * For a traditional wedding, consider a trumpet skirt or an A-line dress. * Keep it classy, keep it covered. Long sleeves are a must-have during winter, and they also help hide flabby arms. * For a winter wedding you may want to add a matching bolero or pashmina to keep warm. Once you have found a dress that pleases you and the bride, make sure to relay the info to the mother of the groom. However you get in touch with her, remember that it's a good way to break the ice with your future in-law, and it allows you to discuss the dress that you've purchased (or plan on purchasing). If possible, bring along a fabric swatch. The dress the mother of the groom should choose should be similar but not the same as yours, and preferably in a complementary color and length. Of course, it should flatter her but also take into account the style of the wedding.

Current Trends

Moms can be trendy too so here are some of the current trends in bridal-wear for mothers: * As mentioned before, champagne colored dresses are very popular and can be worn year round. * Moms don't have to dress so "stuffy" anymore. Short dresses, spaghetti straps, strapless gowns, and halter style gowns are all becoming more frequent at weddings. * Lace is no longer restricted to the bride's dress. Lace accents on the bodice of a dress will surely make a statement. * As weddings become more casual nowadays, wearing a short suit has become a new favorite for mothers. * Tiered skirts are another trend popping into stores. These can be a flattering choice if not too frilly. * Go "green" and search for dresses and gowns that are made of organic materials.

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Related Guides

* Wedding Gowns * Bridesmaid Dresses * Groom and Groomsmen's Attire * Flower Girls and Ring Bearers * Wedding Shoes