The mother of the groom should select an outfit she feels comfortable wearing and that’s appropriate for the time of day and formality of the wedding. Traditionally the mother of the bride contacts the groom’s mother to let her know what style and shade she has chosen. The mother of the groom then picks something in a color that complements, but doesn’t exactly match, the attire of the bride’s mother and the attendants. As for who calls whom, the mother of the groom shouldn’t stand on ceremony; if she has heard nothing once the initial wedding plans are underway, she’s perfectly free to call the mother of the bride to discuss apparel options.
The Mother Of The Bride (Or Groom) How To Dress?
The wedding of your son or daughter will be one of the most memorable events in your life so naturally, you want to look amazing. So before I even go into detail on what best to wear, I want to emphasize one important thing.
Don’t economize on your clothes for such an important event, even when you think that you will wear the outfit only once.
Of course, you may want to try to get an outfit that you can wear for other occasions as well, but if those outfits don’t make you feel as special as you want to, then just accept that you will need a good budget.
The memories of that day will stay with you forever and you will always remember what you wear.
And then, there are numerous photos of course. I have personally made the mistake of sticking to a low budget for a high-profile occasion and I still regret it today! I can assure you that I will never make that mistake again.
What Requirements Does A Mother Of The Bride / Groom Outfit Have?
Although dressing rules at weddings vary by country, in general, a mother of the bride dress should:
Not be the same color as the wedding dress. So check with the bride! Also, find out which color the bridesmaids are wearing. You do not want to be mistaken for one!
Preferably not be all black as that may suggest mourning. Although this is not a strict rule, I would personally prefer you to choose another color since most women over 40 looks much better in more colorful outfits. An alternative is to mix black with another color, which can look very chic. I also like the other black and grey combination I feature (above), because of the great drape of the dress and the chic combination with the jacket.
Avoid flashy shades like bright red, pink, or yellow as the dress may stand out too much. If you like to wear color, go for something more subtle like the multi-colored dress (above) I featured with the very stylish long purple coat. This combination is especially great for summer weddings.
Not be overly sexy. Avoid too much cleavage and let the bride be the sexiest girl in the room.
Offer solutions for multiple locations. If the wedding includes a church service, for example, make sure that you have an accompanying jacket with your dress. Most of the combinations I feature here come with great jackets.
Not be too fashionable. Remember, you will look at these photos in years to come. Opt for something current yet timeless with clean lines. The two looks below are good examples of timeless style.
Be made of good quality fabric. Make sure it does not wrinkle too much and is appropriately warm or cold for the climate in which the wedding takes place.
Talk to the bride and ask her about her preferences. If she is casual about your dress, then you can just select whatever you please. But if she is sensitive about certain colors or gives you some guidelines, you may want to stick to that. She may even want to coordinate the color of your dress with those of the bridesmaids (let’s hope not!)
Even though you may want to take the bride’s and groom’s wishes into account, make sure you select something that YOU love too.
Don’t leave shopping for your special dress to chance. Plan well in advance, so you will not get too stressed and can help either your son or daughter with the wedding preparations.
Stick to your style personality as much as you can. If you normally like clean, plain clothing, don’t go over the top with sequins and diamonds. On the other hand, if you like to be hip and enjoy patterns you could consider the featured modern black and white outfit (above).
Although it’s perfectly fine to wear pants at the wedding, nothing says party like a dress. However, if a dress is totally out of your comfort zone, then choose great pants and blazer combination in a luxurious fabric. There are ideas here on how to wear pants for the mother of the bride.
Here Are Some Ideas For Your Outfits
Please note that fashion items sell out quickly so these may no longer be available in stores. They can still serve as inspiration though.
However, because wedding outfits are more timeless than other fashion items, you may well find that your favorite piece is still available!
Many stores have a dedicated mother of the bride section.
- Knee Length
- Two-Piece Tea Length Dress
- Off the Shoulder Lace Sheath Dress
- Long And Elegant
- Beaded Longline Gown
- Soutache Mesh Dress
Just keep in mind the following:
Take your style cues from the bride’s dress and the style of the wedding party in general, e.g., lace as a running motif, or a 40’s theme.
Match the outfit appropriately to the venue, i.e., covered arms for a church wedding, but more flesh-baring outfits for a beach wedding.
Wait until the bride has chosen her dress before you start shopping so that you can plan for any last-minute changes to the overall look of the wedding party.
Basic Traditional Guidelines
Following proper protocol is important, especially when it comes to extremely formal weddings. Keep wedding attire in line with some general mother of the groom etiquette rules for selecting a dress. These rules prevent the mother of the groom from making a faux pas that will be immortalized in photographs for decades to come.
Traditional mother of the bride dress etiquette says that she should select her dress first, then inform the mother of the groom what she chose for them to complement one another.
Wear a dress in color, style, and length that goes with, but does not exactly match, the mother of the bride’s dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Do not wear white, off-white, or similar neutral shade that matches the bride’s dress.
Choose a mother of the groom’s wedding outfit appropriate for the formality of the wedding. A casual wedding may allow a less formal dress. For example, summer dresses for a beach wedding might be casual yet still dressy.
Do not wear black unless it is a formal wedding and has been approved by the bride and groom.
Be conservative in your attire.
Moving Beyond Traditional
Traditional etiquette has become relaxed in modern society, meaning some of the rules are frequently bent to one extent or another. For example, black wedding dresses used to be a faux pas at a wedding; today, black is often part of the wedding color scheme. Though the rules used to state that strapless or spaghetti strapped dresses were considered improper for a mother of the groom, today, some mothers opt for dresses like these with a bolero jacket, shawl, or wrap.
Modern Guidelines for Mother of Grooms
Sometimes, situations arise that do not fall under easy definitions of proper etiquette.
Can the Mother of the Groom Wear Black?
Black and white weddings are becoming more and more popular. Sometimes, the couple will pick an accent color, like deep purple or claret red, while other times, they stick with basic black and white. In this case, the dress etiquette does not say much. Consider wearing one of the accent colors or black. A dark, deep-toned dress is often appropriate. Ask your son’s fiancée for her recommendations or preference based on what her mother is wearing.
Multi Color Wedding Schemes
A trendy wedding color scheme is to have one that uses rainbow colors. This usually means the attendants all wear a different color. In this case, the mother of the groom should wait until she learns of the mother of the bride’s outfit and choose one in a flattering color. At a brightly colored rainbow wedding, the mother of the groom would not look out of place wearing a burnt orange or bright blue; at a wedding with pastel colors, a soft violet or mint green would look lovely.
All Time Best Gorgeous Mother of the Bride Dresses for Every Style and Season
For a Black Tie Wedding Off Shoulder Lace Gown
At once elegant and unexpected this Tadashi Shoji gown boasts a sophisticated and subtle off-the-shoulder neckline and a dramatic waist-cinching bow. Wear yours with minimal accessories and let the dress do all the talking.
Best for a Formal Fall Wedding BHLDN Beaded Maxi Dress
Fall and winter weddings call for chic muted tones like silvery gray. This deco-inspired gown will shimmer in photos and stun on the dancefloor.
Best Allover Beading
Pisarro Nights Beaded Mesh Dress
Gray is an elegant neutral that flatters every skin tone. Beading in tones of blue, gray, and silver add dimension and sophisticated sparkle to this flattering mesh column gown.
For the Timeless MOB
BHLDN Satin Maxi Dress
If you’re looking for an elegant dress that will not only look timeless in photos but can be worn again, consider this impossibly chic gown from BHLDN. Crafted from luxurious satin and featuring a sophisticated V-back, you’ll be sure to stun at your daughter’s wedding and all future formal events.
For Spring Wedding
Lela Rose Floral Laser Cut Puff-Sleeve Gown
Glide down the aisle in this stunning Lela Rose gown complete with laser-cut puff sleeves. Strategically placed seams hug and contour the body ensuring that you’ll look amazing from every angle.
Best Metallic Embroidery
Tadashi Shoji Gold Lace Dress
Allover lace embroidered with metallic thread makes this dress shimmer and shine. The sheer tulle neckline provides almost invisible coverage but helps to keep the bodice in place.
Best Off Shoulder
Lauren Jersey Off Shoulder Gown
Dare to bare and show off those statuesque shoulders! Crafted in a forgiving jersey and a soft pretty pink tone, this gown is perfect for a less formal, springtime wedding.
Best All-over Sparkle
Tadashi Shoji Off Shoulder Plus Size Gown
This allover silver sequins gown in classic navy is old Hollywood glam at it’s finest. Available from petite to plus–all shapes and sizes will sparkle and shine down the aisle.
Rickie Freeman Zigzag Eyelet Belted Shirtdress
Dreamy soft seafoam green makes for the perfect color to wear to a summer or destination wedding. This shirt style dress is laidback but still crisp and formal.
For Formal Wedding
Pisarro Nights Beaded Sequin Gown
A little sparkle is a must when celebrating such a joyous occasion. This gown in midnight blue is flocked with shimmering sequins and eyecatching beadwork. Wear yours with heels in a neutral tone and delicate shoulder-grazing earrings.
For Holiday Wedding
Alex Evenings Sequin 3/4 Sleeve Wrap Front Dress with Twist
Don’t be afraid to make a statement in head to toe sparkle. Whether the wedding is around the holidays or calls for a formal dress code, add some serious glitz and glam to your look in this gown adorned with allover sequins.
Amsale Off the Shoulder Gown
At once effortless and refined, this beautifully draped gown is the perfect hue for a fall wedding. With a gentle fit at the hips, this dress is designed to flatter you in all the right places.
Tadashi Shoji Portrait Collar Sequin Gown
For the mother of the bride looking for a statement-making look, this gown from Tadashi Shoji boasts a truly unique sequin embellished neckline. Soft off the shoulder draping meets waist-cinching pleats for an incredibly flattering fit.
Crystal Neckline with Cape Shoulder and Silk Satin Gown
Only seriously chic MOB’s need to apply! This stunning gown from Alexander McQueen is for those who don’t even think twice about making a bold fashion statement. Adorned with an ornate crystal collar and featuring a dramatic one-shoulder cape, this gown is an absolute must for a black-tie wedding.
La Femme Sparkle Lace Trumpet Gown
Show off your décolletage in this off-the-shoulder lace and satin cocktail gown featuring an incredibly flattering wrap skirt with expertly placed ruching. A lace bodice with subtle sparkle details makes this dress feel all the more special.
Jersey Sheath Plus Size Gown with Sequin Capelet
This sheath dress and sequin capelet combination boast a modest neckline and high-slit skirt making it at once sophisticated and sexy.
For a Destination Wedding
Badgley Mischka Multi Print Tiered Gown
For MOB’s headed to a destination wedding where the dress code calls for casual attire, opt for this bright and cheery Badgley Mischka gown. If this style is not formal enough for the big day, it could easily be worn to the rehearsal dinner.
Best Floral Inspired
Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon
We are picturing this beautifully embroidered midi dress at a backyard or garden wedding set amongst romantic flowers and rich greenery. Wear yours with a strappy block heel–a stylish and practical solution for an outdoor wedding.
Oscar de la Renta Bow Accented Moire Gown
For the bold and statement-making mother of the bride–this one is for you! We are in love with this architectural and oversized bow guaranteed to make for stunning photos.
Best Jewel Tone
Social Bridesmaids V-Neck Satin Trumpet Gown
Deep jewel tones are perfect for a fall or winter wedding. This V-neck trumpet gown in striking emerald complements all skin tones and pairs beautifully with gold accessories.
Valentino Delf-Print Guipure-Lace Cotton-Blend Midi Dress
For those walking down the aisle during the summer, this lacey powder blue dress is a must. A conservative high neckline meets airy and sheer paneling for a look that is classic yet alluring.
Aross Girl X Soler
Plush velvet is not only trending in the fashion world, but it’s the perfect fabric for a winter wedding. Don’t think bulky when you think velvet, this stretch fabric is figure-hugging and the wrap belt will flatter any midsection.
Best Subtle Sparkle
Halston Metallic Jersey Gown
A surefire way to cinch your waist is to belt it! This shimmering number is incredibly sophisticated and put together plus its monochromatic belt is just the subtle touch you need to draw the whole look together.
For a New Year’s Eve Wedding
RM Richards All-over Sequins Dress
A New Year’s Eve wedding calls for sparkle on sparkle. Give them glitz and glam in this allover sequin stunner.
Tadashi Shoji Tuxedo
If an impossibly chic and impeccably tailored tuxedo jumpsuit is more your speed then your search ends with this stunning style from Tadashi Shoji.
Flower Girl Dresses
Traditionally a flower girl is somewhere between the ages of 4 and 9 (any younger and they might find your wedding a challenge, any older and they are promoted to junior Bridesmaid), she is close to you.
Sometimes it will be an obvious choice. But, if you are part of a large family, and have more than one potential flower girl, don’t panic, this will only work in your favor! It can be a little bit overwhelming for one flower girl to be the center of attention, especially if she is very young. This is why it’s nice to have a couple so that they can look after one another and help each other too. Besides, if there is a little group of them, they are guaranteed to have more fun and look extra cute!
How to prepare?
As the youngest (and most adorable) members of your wedding party, your flower girls may not fully understand what and why something is expected of them on your wedding day. A nice way to get your flower girls excited ahead of the big day is to present them with a children’s book about flower girls. (We love this one!) This way, you are allowing the parents to fully explain what is required of them on the day of the wedding, to calm them if they are feeling nervous and make them feel special. After all, if a book is written about their role, it must be important!
Another nice idea is to organize a lunch with all the flower girls before the big day. That way everyone can become besties beforehand and you can talk them through what they have to do.
On the day itself, it’s a good idea to allocate one of your bridesmaids to look after them and make sure they walk at the right time, know where to sit, and feel happy with what they are doing.
How to dress?
Traditionally, a flower girl’s dress has to strike a perfect balance between the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses. The majority of flower girl dresses have the long puffy skirt silhouette with a high neck, with or without sleeves, depending on the weather. While the long skirts look lovely and make the flower girls feel like princesses, make sure you choose carefully so that the girls don’t trip as they make their way up the aisle. We also find that while the majority of dresses are white, they will have a sash, or another small pop of color, that ties them together with the bridal party. Traditionally the mother of the flower girl pays for the dress, but this depends on your budget and what you are happy with.
Here are some of the key looks for flower girl dresses along with a little practical advice on choosing their gowns.
The miniature bridesmaid
Many designers have flower girl dresses in the same style as bridesmaids’ dresses so you can have a coordinated wedding party. Do consider that styles for grown-up bridesmaids won’t necessarily suit young flower girls; for example, if your bridesmaids are wearing strapless gowns your flower girl could wear something similar but with straps added. One great look is to have your flower girl in the same style of dress as the bridesmaids, in a lighter or darker shade of the same color.
Perhaps you have four young nieces that you’d like to have as flower girls, but you can’t afford to buy four dresses. Ask their parents to dress them in similar dresses, perhaps simple white knee-length cotton summer dresses, and then kit them out with matching accessories such as a colored sash and fresh flower headdress.
Practical advice for flower girl dresses
Before you get carried away with the look of your flower girl dresses, here are some practical aspects to consider:
Floor-length dresses are very pretty but if your flower girl isn’t used to them she may end up tripping down the aisle instead of processing. Consider a tea-length dress or simply have the hem turned up a little.
Check the material you have chosen to make sure it won’t be itchy, or irritating to the skin, and that it’s not too heavy for your flower girl to wear all day.
Make sure your flower girl has a pretty cardigan that compliments her dress to slip on when it gets cold. Her dad’s dinner jacket really won’t look the part with her gorgeous gown.
Keep flower girl shoes flat and simple so she is comfortable. Slip-on pumps or white sandals are great. Ask her parents to get her to wear them around the house in the week before the wedding to break them in.
Don’t spend a fortune on your flower girl’s dress as you can guarantee something will get spilled on it during the day. If you want her to be able to keep it as a memento of the day make sure it can be dry cleaned with your gown.
Ask your flower girl’s parents to make sure she is wearing white underwear on the day. Her pink puppy dog knickers might be her favorite but you don’t want them to star in your wedding photos. If you want her to wear tights make sure there is a spare pair to hand in case of ladders or snags.
Cinderella Wedding Theme
If you are planning a Cinderella wedding theme, then extravagance and beauty should be a part of everything. And since your flower girls will be the first to appear, they need to set the tone boldly. For this theme, you should have more than one flower girl-three or four would be ideal-and then dress them spectacularly. Choose frilly white dresses with huge skirts and satin bows. You can tie in some of your wedding colors by adding fresh pale pink, yellow or blue flowers to their hair. Besides, they should wear satin ballerina slippers. Have them carry baskets decorated to match their dresses and throw tons of soft rose petals along the aisle.
Beach Wedding Theme
Depending on the type of beach wedding that you want, you will have various choices with your flower girl dresses. If you want a romantic beach wedding, then put your flower girls in soft pastel tones or white, and use lots of fresh flowers-both in their hair and for them to throw. The flower girl wedding dresses can be shorter than in a formal wedding, and appropriate sandals would set the tone nicely. Instead of a basket, they could carry a pastel-painted beach bucket filled to the brim with wildflowers to scatter along the aisle.
If you have a stronger, more colorful beach wedding planned, why not have some fun with the flower girl dresses? Putting them in typical beach dresses to match your wedding decor would immediately let the wedding guests know that your wedding will be fun and adventurous.
Roaring 20’s Wedding
Imagine a black and white wedding, wingtips shoes, and ostrich feathers. That’s the idea behind a roaring 20 wedding theme, and as you can imagine, a precious frilly flower girl dress simply won’t fit the bill. With this type of gutsy wedding, you will have to get imaginative with them. Why not dress your flower girls in white satin flapper girl dresses, with bands around their hair and beads around the hemline? With this type of dress, you will certainly hear ooh and ahs from the crowd!
Garden Party Wedding
If you dream of an outdoor wedding surrounded by blooming flowers and ivy-laced arches, then your flower girl dresses should take on an entirely different style. White, off-white, or pale pastel linen would be an ideal choice. Also, a beautiful soft cotton dress with a muted flower pattern would be lovely, tied with a large solid satin bow in the back. Add lace-up satin sandals and an armful of colorful tulips, and your guests won’t be likely to forget your flower girls for some time to come.
Flower Girl Dresses Tips
If you’re planning a wedding, you may be tempted to just buy a cute white dress for your flower girl, and have her carry a bouquet that matches yours. After all, she’s just a kid, right? And if she looks adorable, the guests will be pleasantly pleased.
Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Let’s first take a quick look at the flower girl tradition.
Starting with the middle ages, flower girls were assigned a special job; to walk down the wedding aisle ahead of the bride and groom and spread grain (not flowers) to pave the way for new beginnings, fertility, and happiness in the marriage.
Today’s flower girls usually carry rose petals, and while they aren’t believed to have special powers that will grant the new couple a harmonious relationship, they do tend to set the tone for a wedding.
Think about the last wedding you attended. If the flower girls came out in formal dark-colored dresses, you quickly understood that the wedding would have a formal tone. On the other hand, if they came out in wispy flower girl dresses with roses laced into their hair, you knew that you would experience a more whimsical wedding.
In other words, the flower girls are generally the first part of the wedding party to walk down the aisle, and because of that, they will make a strong first impression on your guests.