Wedding Ideas

Mother of the Bride Dresses 101: A First Guide

Posted At : January 28, 2010 6:43 PM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 57,219
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Mother and Bride (from Wedding Guide Australia)

For the mother of the bride, her daughter's wedding day is full of emotion, pride, and duty and she'll want to dress in a manner that will honour the day without imposing on the bride's look. Here is a quick study guide on how a bride and her mother can go about choosing a dress for the second most important woman at the wedding: MOM.

Some Thoughts on Colour

Cameron Blake mother of the bride dress 110602

Cameron Blake dress from Lockhart's Weddings & Special Occasions (New Brunswick)

A silvery blue hue is perfect for a mom. It works well with a multitude of colours from neutrals to blues to pinks and browns.

Montage #28908 mother of the bride dress

Montage #28908 from Bells & Bows Bridal Centre in Lethbridge, AB

Sage is a beautiful muted green tone that is understated and elegant. It works well with browns, bright greens, neutrals, silvers, rust, burnt orange, deep maroon.

Cameron Blake #19647 mother of the bride gown

Cameron Blake dress from Bells & Bows Bridal Centre in Lethbridge, AB

Red is a powerful, bold colour that should reflect the same in the MOB's personality. Don't want to be noticed? Don't wear red!

Capri by Moncheri mother of the bride dress

Capri by Moncheri dress from Lockhart's Weddings & Special Occasions (New Brunswick)

Don't be shy! A short flirty dress in a conservative colour is definitely "acceptable" attire for the mother of the bride.

..Some more thoughts on Colour!

  • This is where the bride should be able to tell mom roughly what colour she has in mind. It is important to try to coordinate the MOB (mother of the bride) with the bride's overall wedding theme. Plus, involving the bride in this decision, gives her an extra feeling that everyone is working together to create a special mood for her day.
  • Make sure the MOB compliments the bridesmaids' dresses. That is not to say that they should all wear the same colour but the MOB dress should suit the bridesmaids' dresses and they should all look good together. No colours should be clashing in photos etc.
  • It is customary to consult with the groom's mother regarding colour choice as the mothers should never be in clashing colours or even in the same colour.
  • After having consulted with the bride and narrowed down the acceptable colour options, mom should eventually choose a colour that she herself is comfortable in. If the colour options are not something she normally wears or would like to wear, she should choose a neutral colour that will go with everything.

..and, Colours to Avoid

  • White or anything close to white is not an option for the bride's mom as it is too close to the bride's colour. The bride should stand out, not blend.
  • Black is also a no no. It not only is the colour many cultures wear while mourning, it also could be seen as a disapproval of the wedding.
  • Also, bold colours are not to be experimented with if mom doesn't usually where them. They may make her look tacky.
  • The most basic colours to stick with are lavender, blue, rose, silver, burgundy or beige.

Style Considerations

Choosing the right dress style is usually determined by the wedding theme itself. For example, if the bride has decided on a sit down formal evening and her dress is a formal gown with lots of beading and a long train, the mother of the bride would mimic this by wearing a formal gown.

If however, the bride has decided on a simple yet elegant affair with an understated gown with clean lines, the mother of the bride again would choose something accordingly.


  • It is a good idea to wait on purchasing a dress until some of the wedding plans have been finalized and definitely until after the bride has chosen her gown.
  • Ideally, the dress is supposed to be "age-appropriate" (whatever that means exactly..) and should probably not be too revealing or too tight fitting, regardless of age. (but also, yes, it is your day, but it is also her day.. don't cramp mom's style too much!)
  • Its length should be anywhere from floor length to tea length (at or below the knee)
  • Work together: the bride should be consulted prior to selecting the mother's dress, to ensure the dress choice suits her overal "vision" and theme.

Additional "etiquette" for Moms and their Dress

  • Waiver: "Etiquette" is another word for "what everyone usually does". If you feel like breaking some rules.. it's your wedding! Having said this..
  • Make sure the bride is happy with the dress.
  • Stay away from certain colours like whites or black (see above)
  • Look your best without trying too hard to be cute or sexy. Although you don't have to look frumpy or conservative, only the bride should stand out today.
  • Consider the groom's mother. Etiquette (that word again..) dictates that the "mother of the bride" chooses first and "sets the tone", but it is polite to consult with your counterpart prior to making any final decisions. The mothers should probably be coordinated and not clashing and neither should be overdressed compared to the other. It shouldn't look like a competition.

Just for Fun: Some more great M.o.B. Dresses & Gowns

Montage #28923 mother of the bride (or groom!) gown

Montage #28923 from Bells & Bows Bridal Centre in Lethbridge, AB

Elegant formal gowns in classic neutral colours enhance the sophistication of the event. A strapless beaded gown adds an extra element of formality to the garment which is perfect for an evening wedding.

Alfred Angelo, Mother's Style #7087

Alfred Angelo Mothers Style #7087
from ACS Formals, Moncton, NB

Short, one or two piece outfits are very well suited to elegant yet less formal events. Plus, the subtle green against the white lace makes this look perfect for day or evening wear.

Alfred Angelo #7100, mother's dress

Alfred Angelo Mothers Style #7100
from ACS Formals, Moncton, NB

Opting for full pants instead of a skirt or dress adds an element of personality to the garment. For the mother of the bride that wants to stand out just enough for people to take an extra look.

Venus Bridal #566051 mother gown

Venus Bridal Style #566051
also from ACS Formals, Moncton, NB

The full formal gown. A perfect compliment to a bride's ball gown.

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