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What Should the Mother of the Bride Wear?

In honor of Mother’s Day, we post this article of trending fashion concepts for the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom. Read on to find out more!

Hey, Christie!

Help! I am so confused about the mother of the bride dresses! Jason and I are getting married at Ainsworth House & Gardens next spring.

My grandmother insists my mom wear something in a weak pastel or a bland shade of beige.

I’d love her to wear something bright which fits her personality. What do you suggest?

–Corey, Confused in Clackamas

Hey, Corey!

Let me help! Traditionally, the mother of the bride wore a dress in spring pastels or in a beige which faded into the wallpaper at the wedding venue. Often, she wore a sheath dress under a cocktail jacket that was matronly or very conservative in fashion.  I am grateful to state those are no longer the rules. Whew!

While there aren’t rules as to what your mother or grandmother should wear, there are guidelines. In general, your goal is to help your mom dress elegantly, be understated, and appropriate for the occasion.

Let’s look at a few to help you shape your decisions with the ladies in your family.

What is the wedding dress code? If it is a black tie wedding, then the dress for the MOB (mother of the bride) should be formal. On the other hand, if yours is a more casual wedding, she might be able to wear a strapless dress or something more flowing, boho chic. (We host weddings from black tie to vintage boho here!)

mother and wedding bride

Can the bride give the MOB any clues about the degree of formality for the wedding, the preferred style, and colors?

It’s very possible that there will be group photos of the wedding party, the couple, and their parents.

If everyone is in cowboy boots, then the MOB should blend in with that look.

Mother hugging wedding bride

The MOB’s ensemble should be harmonious with the other women in the wedding.

After the bride and her maids select their dresses and the MOB can get a fabric swatch from the dresses to guide her decisions.

Since the bride is the star of the show, the MOB should avoid white, ivory, or champaign. The MOB needs to look elegant and stunning in a distinct color from the bride.

The MOB can harmonize with other wedding party members. If the bridesmaids are all dressed in sea foam green, the MOB could harmonize with them in emerald green.

If the bridesmaids are in formal black dresses, the MOB might consider silver or gray for her dress. The dresses will harmonize but not match.

Does the MOB need to match the MOG (mother of the groom)? No. The two women should wear harmonizing hues. They may even want to shop together!

What is the venue? Is it indoors or outdoors?

(We have both at Ainsworth House & Gardens.)

In our gardens, we have blooming flowers including the most beautiful shades of light purple wisteria to yellow tulips. She might want to color coordinate with the gardens or add a light wrap to her ensemble.

What is the date of the wedding? If it’s an outdoor wedding, what is the weather during that season? For a summer wedding, the MOB might avoid long sleeves or heavy skirts due to warm days. We can help with your weather research if you ask us.

Who selects the MOB and MOG dresses? Ideally, the bride and the mothers select the mothers’ dresses. Sometimes the groom is involved. Ideally, one person’s whim of iron should NOT make the decision. If the two mothers want to go to a bridal salon or department store together to select their dresses, that is fine too.

When should the MOB start shopping for her dress or outfit? Start no later than three months before the wedding to allow for ordering the dress and any alterations.

Who picks her dress first—the MOB or the MOG? MOB. 

Does the mother of the bride need to match the mother of the groom? No. The goal is to be harmonious if they don’t match.

If this were NOT a MOB ensemble, what styles would make Mom feel glamorous, elegant, or comfortable? For instance, a friend of ours heads straight for fit and flare dresses when she wants to add a new dress to her closet. Look for the style of clothes your mom prefers and take it from there.Are there religious or cultural customs which must be followed? Make sure you know before you go shopping with your mom.

If this were NOT a MOB ensemble, what styles would make Mom feel glamorous, elegant, or comfortable? For instance, a friend of ours heads straight for fit and flare dresses when she wants to add a new dress to her closet. Look for the style of clothes your mom prefers and take it from there.Are there religious or cultural customs which must be followed? Make sure you know before you go shopping with your mom.

 

Mother of the bride and wedding bride

What are the options? The mother of the bride should wear what makes her feel beautiful and comfortable. She might select:

A trendy midi dress

A sleek evening gown

A maxi dress

A chic pantsuit or

A dressy jumpsuit.

Add a beautiful wrap or dressy jacket for a church or chapel wedding.

What if there is a stepmother of the bride? Is she included in the wedding? There are no rules in etiquette for this situation. The answer depends on the relationship between the bride and her stepmom.

If the stepmom has been actively involved in the bride’s life, the bride may wish to honor her by asking her to wear a traditional MOB ensemble.

However, if there is an uneasy relationship between the bride’s mother and the bride’s stepmother, then ask the stepmom to dress like one of the guests rather than call attention to herself in an MOB dress.

Mother kissing bride on forehead

Your friend in the wedding business,

Christie Shyne

 

Images courtesy of Pexels.com.

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