Weddings, What to Wear

Mother of the Bride or Groom? Best Dresses and Tips!

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What dress should the bride’s mother wear? What does the mother of the groom wear? If your child is getting married I’ve got tips to help!

Your child is getting married! Cue the proud tears and joyful chaos! But amidst all the excitement, there’s one tiny detail that might be causing a bit of stress: finding the perfect dress. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Whether you’re envisioning classic elegance or something completely unique, I’ll help guide you through the maze of lace, satin, and sequins to find that perfect outfit that’ll make you shine (without stealing the scene.) ;)

In my years working as a personal shopper and stylist, I’ve had opportunities to help women (and a few men) select clothing for important events. In fact, my very first job was helping a young man select clothing for a photo shoot that he would use to propose to his girlfriend!

Over time, I’ve helped many find the right outfit, and none have been more satisfying than helping women find the perfect dress or outfit to wear when their children were getting married. It’s an important day for mom too. :)

This has been on my mind lately since my brother is getting married soon and my mom is now trying to find something to wear! She chose perfect outfits for both my older brother’s wedding (a beautiful black pant suit with light blue shell and beading), and mine (a bright pink dress with jacket, shown below) so I know she’ll find the right dress or outfit for the occasion!

what does the mother of the groom wear - JK Style
My parents and I on my wedding day.

Need a Mother of the Bride or Groom Dress?

So, what are you supposed to wear when your child is getting married? Whether you’re the mother of the bride or groom there are a few basic ground rules.

This post contains affiliate links meaning purchases made through included links may result in my earning a small commission at no cost to you. 

what does the mother of the groom wear - JK Style

What are the rules for the Mother of the Bride or Groom? 

So, just what should the MOB buy? What does the mother of the groom wear? Here are 3 tips to help you get started on finding the perfect outfit for you!

1. The bride should have a say.

If the bride has chosen an afternoon garden wedding with simple but elegant bridesmaid dresses, this is not the time to put on a fuchsia sequined ball gown. (Unless the bride, for some reason, OKs it.) Similarly, a beach wedding may not be the right occasion for your beaded black pantsuit. 

The bride may have colors or looks in mind, and when possible, try to abide. A sweet, reasonable bride will want you to look lovely and feel comfortable in a beautiful outfit that makes you feel great! It’s her special occasion but hopefully she wants you to love the day too! 

If the bride has given you free rein to choose what you want, you’ll be starting from scratch (don’t panic!) but you’ll get to find the perfect fit to express your own unique style! 

2. The mother of the bride picks first.

2. The mother of the bride typically picks first.

So, what does the mother of the groom wear? Now, it may not always work out that the bride’s mother gets/does purchase her dress before the groom’s mother, but that’s typically the order. This way the mother of the groom can use that selection as a starting point.

Did the MOB choose a bright pink? Maybe you go with another complementary shade of lighter pink or blush. If she’s chosen a shorter lacy dress, you don’t have to do the same, just don’t try to out-do her in a long sequined number. (Remember, this is not your day.)

3. You don’t have to wear beige. (And I’d rather you didn’t.)

I don’t know how many mothers I’ve met with over the years who started off the conversation about what to wear to their child’s wedding by saying, “My friends say I’m just supposed to wear beige and not complain about anything.” HA!

While it’s certainly good advice to not complain about the choices of the bride and groom, unless the bride has specifically told you to wear beige (brides, please don’t), YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

There’s been some unspoken rule over the years that mothers, especially of the groom, just need to pick something beige and boring so as not to make a scene.

If you’re trying to find a “safe” shade, there are lots! Start with the bride’s color scheme and choose a color that works well for you and that will make you feel beautiful. If you’re wanting to find a neutral shade to work think gray, black,  navy blue, or even a soft pink. 

4. You don’t have to wear a dress!

Yes, this is technically a post on finding Mother of the Groom dresses (or the bride), but we’re really talking wedding outfits. If you’re not a floor-length gown lady, and pants would make you more comfortable, there are lots of great options! I’ve included some great pants-outfits below!

Where to Start

Before you hit the dressing rooms (or hit “order” on that online shopping cart), here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What’s the dress code? There might not be a dress code listed on the invitation (unless it’s a black-tie wedding), but you know if it’s a small church wedding or a big country club affair! If there’s a wedding theme, say “country chic”, or “garden party”, etc. you’ve already got something to go on!

2. What colors do I love to wear? If the bride hasn’t assigned you a specific shade to wear (I hear some brides do that?), think about the colors that you know make your blue eyes bluer, or your skin tone glow, or your red hair look vibrant (or your gray hair, for that matter!). What were your wedding colors? If you had pink bridesmaid dresses it might be a fun, and subtle, tribute to your own marriage vows to wear a dress in a similar shade. One thing to consider (other than what the mother of the bride will wear) is what the rest of the wedding party will wear. You may want to avoid the same shades as the bridesmaids!

3. What’s my personal style? You may not have a name for it exactly, but you know if you prefer sequins over lace or the type of silhouette (fitted vs. full skirt, etc.)

4. What dress styles or outfits would make me most confident and comfortable? Remember, you’ll be on your feet and in lots of pictures that day. If long sleeves would make you feel most comfortable, you know that’s an important part of your search. (Either the dress/outfit itself or finding a shawl or jacket to go with what you wear.) Finding your perfect match that fits your body type and makes you FEEL good, is the goal here! If you’re not confident, you won’t feel comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t feel confident!

5. What’s my budget? Yes, there are gorgeous $10K dresses to try on, but there are also gorgeous $50 dresses to try on! You may have to dig a little harder but you’ll find them!

Where to Shop 

Yes, bridal stores like David’s Bridal will carry mother of the bride dresses but I’d recommend hitting your local department stores, especially if you’re looking for something that fits a certain budget. 

Try Dillard’s (where my mom found all of her own outfits), Nordstrom, Macy’s, even places like Nordstrom Rack. You’ll find a large selection to try at any of those spots. If you don’t have luck in stores, it’s a good idea to visit their websites where they typically have a larger selection. Make sure you check out the size chart they offer as well as the return policy when you order online. You don’t want to be stuck with lots of leftover dresses!

Another contender on the scene these days? Amazon! You’ll find a ton of options there in a variety of price ranges, plus free shipping on many. (I found lots under $100!)

One more tips for shopping, if you have a friend or family member that can go with you to shop, take them along! Salespeople can be helpful but taking along someone who knows you and what you’re looking for can be extra helpful!

This may be their day, but it’s a big day for you too! Find a dress that you feel comfortable and beautiful in and sit back and enjoy the experience! I’ve got 16 options below for you to help start your search. (See a dress you like but prefer a different color? Make sure to click the links, many of these come in a variety of colors!)

There are dresses for a variety of seasons and themes, so whether your child’s wedding day includes an outdoor fall ceremony or it’s more of a black-tie affair, there are some classic options for all. Summer weddings, spring, whatever!

Here are a few of my current favorite mother of the bride/groom outfits:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 


mother of the groom and mother of the bride dress and outfit options

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 (Top) 6 (Pants) // 7 // 8 //



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