How To Dress As A Mother Of The Bride

what you should wear as mother of the bride

Every time I hear the words ‘Mother Of The Bride’ I think of two things, taffeta and flesh-toned stockings that are too dark for the wearer.

It’s hard to find a look that doesn’t make you stand out for the wrong reasons, that lets you have a sense of style and doesn’t scream ‘mother of the bride’. There are no shortages of stores selling shapeless dresses in synthetic fabrics that look like a fancy lampshade from your aunts’ house. If you’re going through menopause, you’re probably having a hot flush just looking at that bejewelled taffeta number on the mannequin – let me help.

I have purchased more mother of the bride dresses than anyone I know, most likely because I shop for and dress people for a living. I can confidently say I have a black (suede, gold buckled) belt in this subject. The question I’m always asked is; How do I dress like a mother of the bride without stereo typically looking like a mother of the bride? And the answer is this:

The Perfect Mother Of The Bride Knows She Must Maintain Her Style

When a special occasion like this arises, it’s easy to think ‘I need a dress’ and whatever fits and looks age appropriate will do. This isn’t the way to go, obviously, you want to keep your daughter happy, but you are the one wearing the outfit in photos that are going to last a lifetime, so my question to you is; what is your style?

Find your inspiration, just like the bride does for tracking down her dream dress. Look at magazines, jump online or watch a movie with characters that dress well. Once you’ve determined what your style is, you can move on and leave those frilly, pastel and taffeta over-priced dresses on the racks where they belong.

In this weeks post, and the next part to my five-part wedding styling series, I’ve tracked down various looks for you to get some ideas and inspiration from. These looks can cater for casual, cocktail and formal dress codes. Don’t forget to do a dress rehearsal, complete with your shoes and accessories on so that you know what needs altering, if the shoes are comfortable and if your outfit looks great from all angles!

What Should A Mother Of The Bride Wear To A Traditional Wedding

The first thing you should do is pick some colours to look for when shopping. Choose a colour that the bridesmaids aren’t wearing so you don’t look like one of them. A fit and flare, wrap or pencil shaped dress is a safe option for all body shapes, however, be mindful of two things, the neckline and the length. Get it altered to finish just past, or on your knee. If you have a larger bust, try a square, V-Neck or wrap neckline so that your bust doesn’t look out of proportion with the rest of your body. If you have broader shoulders, opt for a style with 3/4 sleeves and try to steer clear of boat neck styles. For all other body shapes, you can choose any neckline you like and if you’re unsure, opt for a v-neck.

Traditional weddings don’t have to be all about a standard mother of the bride dress either. No one said you had to wear a lace overlay cap sleeve pencil dress with shoes in the matching fabric. No one. If you want to wear a power suit, go for it. Just keep in mind, you’re not there to steal the show and when the wedding is traditional, opt for a more modest cut garment.

What Should A Mother Of The Bride Wear To A Casual Wedding

Casual weddings can be hard to dress for, however, it’s not a jeans and jacket event. Think of it more as smart casual and choose fabrics that don’t crush easily. Casual weddings are perfect for outfits made up of separates, like a tailored pair of trousers with heels and a lovely looking top, or a dress in a cotton fabric with a soft knitted pull over. Even though it’s casual, you still need to keep an eye on the small details. Get fitted for the bra you plan to wear to the wedding and make sure no straps are showing. Pick some shoes that you can walk in and paint those toes if they’ll be visible. Lastly, don’t bring a big handbag, even if your husband wants you to carry all of his things! Take a small bag that’s a clutch or on a thin strap so it doesn’t weigh your outfit down.

What Should A Mother Of The Bride Wear To A Summer Wedding

I have been to my fair share of summer weddings and I am not a religious person but thank god for natural fabrics. Just stay clear of synthetics as much as you can for a summer wedding and opt for open styles of clothing like dresses and skirts so you can sweat as comfortably as possible. A tea length (calf length) dress, pencil skirt with a smart top or even a maxi style dress can all be great options. Slip on a nude shoe and you’ll look extra long, just make sure if you’re tanning that your shoes match your skin tone.

What A Mother Of The Bride Should Wear To A Cocktail / Night Time Wedding

A cocktail or night time wedding can be hard to dress for because you want to wear something a little glitzy but nothing over the top and completely covered in sequins (cough, sequin kaftans aren’t suitable). I hear you. A printed pencil skirt, printed pants or a printed jacket will help you to add a statement piece without stealing the show. This ensemble is great for all shapes, however, if you’re mindful of having a print make you look larger, put the prints on your smaller areas. Lastly, be mindful that there’s likely to be more lighting around, check your dress isn’t see-through or wear a slip.


  1. The Wedding Stylist
  2. How To Dress Your Bridesmaids
  3. What Groomsmen Should Wear
  4. What To Know Before Buying Your Wedding Dress
  5. What To Wear As Mother Of The Bride

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.