Mother of the Bride: Answers to All Your What to Wear Questions

Dressing as the mother of the bride can be a hard task. We are here to help with all the do's and dont's that will ensure you look your best on this special day.
bride and groom embracing each other, bride holding flowers

mother and bride, white flowers, hands, jewellery, dresses

Everybody knows that on the wedding day, the outfit at which everybody will be gawping will be the brides. What many don’t consider is that the mother of the bride, who is on parade almost as much as the couple themselves, will be attracting the second highest number of gazes (an awful lot at a wedding)!

The bride’s choice in outfit is often dictated by tradition, but there is a lot less in the rulebook about her mother’s dress. This can often be confusing and daunting for the bride’s mother; Simply Bee research found that 87% of Mothers of the Bride are most concerned with their own outfits and take much longer on average to find a dress than the actual bride (18 days vs 12).

The MOB’s outfit is becoming ever more complicated in an age where traditional rules of wedding attire are being turned on their head – the expected pastel box jacket is no longer a trusty calling card and you can leave the fascinator at home. If you’re the mother of the bride to be, worry no more! Here are some great tips that can keep you looking as modern, elegant and stunning as your reputation suggests.

If you’re the mother of the bride to be, worry no more! Here are some great tips that can keep you looking as modern, elegant and stunning as your situation requires.  

bride and groom, black and white, mother of the bride

What style of dress should you go for?

The first and foremost question for any wedding guest is what style of dress does the wedding require and the couple desire. We’re in a time where wearing trousers and jackets to your child’s wedding is completely acceptable; outfit options have skyrocketed in recent years.

However, this also means that you may be dizzied by the choices available to you. The creation of an ensemble outfit can often add unnecessary stress (and unnecessary risk), which is one of the many reasons why dresses reign supreme in the wedding wardrobe – especially in the summer season.

One of the biggest tips you can be given is to not fall for trends. You want to be able to look over the photographs of this day with happy memories free from the eye-catching allure of 2019 Goat Shoes. A more timeless piece also gives you the preferable option to of wearing your dress again. So we recommend you should be on the lookout for an outfit that’s timeless, fun and with a vintage flair.

Your keen eye should be razor-focused on the style of the dress you are considering. A pencil or swing dress will create an elegant silhouette that looks good from all angles. This is a dream when coupled with stretch fabric, which can bring you in in all the right places.

Some examples of beautiful pencil and swing dresses: Diva Stepford Pencil dress, Diva Portobello swing dress.

Portobello swing dress, light blue, off the shoulder



How to remain appropriate while looking your best. 

You want to look striking, and who can blame you, but you need to follow some ground rules to ensure you remain appropriate. This is especially true as the mother of the bride. Whichever dress you choose, you need to give your daughter adequate time to look it over and ensure she is happy with it. It is her wedding day, so she does reserve the right to want most of the eyes to be on her as opposed to her gorgeous mother.

When choosing your style of dress, you also need to pay close attention to the wedding venue. A ceremony held in a religious building, for example, calls for a more respectful dress code. Here, dresses with sleeves are your best friend as they are great at hiding any décolletage.

And again, the knee-length pencil dress may be the perfect choice, as you don’t want to be awkwardly pulling at her skirts as you kneel to pray. The pencil dress is the perfect means to maintain a respectful outfit while ensuring you do not look frumpy in layers of flowy fabric. 

An example is The Diva Kyoto pencil dress. This will ensure you do not shock the vicar, while the stretch fabric enables an elegant and beautiful silhouette from all angles. The pleats over the middle add dimension and smooth over any areas of insecurity.


What are the best colours to choose? 

Choosing the colour of a dress can be a difficulty for many women, especially in an age where traditional rules on colour are changing. Although, you can often see a black dress paired with colourful jewellery at a wedding. Rules like ‘no white lace or cream embroidery’ seem to be holding their relevance indefinitely. However, as the mother of the bride, the task of picking the colour of your outfit is even more complicated than it is for the other wedding guests.

The world-class fashionistas at Vogue suggest that one should ‘pick a shade that adheres to the flower and wedding party colour scheme’. As you are a member of the bridal party you do not want to clash with the aesthetic, however sticking too closely to it might instead portray the impression of a slightly misplaced flower girl. It’s an arduous task, but pick a colour that complements the chosen aesthetic and is individual enough to be seen as your own. It will be well worth the effort.

pastel rose flower bouquet wedding

The era when the mother of the bride would be expected to be seen in a washed-out pastel is long-gone. A bolder colour can make you feel empowered while suiting contemporary fashion attitudes excellently. Blues, reds and pinks offer a variety of shades that suit many skin tones and encompass such a variety of tones that make them a great starting place for finding your unique but complementary colour. Check out the Cobalt Blue Collection to see the versatility of the colour.

But your outfit and those of the bridal party should not be the only dresses in your mind. Katherine Hooker  urges mothers of the bride to consider an incredibly important reminder: ‘the main rule is to coordinate with the mother of the groom so you don’t turn up in very similar looks and ideally not in the same colour’. Etiquette allows for the mother of the bride to choose her dress before the mother of the groom, but Simply Bee reports that 5 percent of parents disagree about this. In the unlikely instance that it affects you, being able to find a desired style in different shades may be a great help.

Are patterns a friend to the mother of the bride? 

 mother and bride smiling, wedding dress, blue dress

Although patterns can be a wonderful choice for the outfits of the other wedding guests, a good rule-of-thumb for the mother of the bride is to avoid them. As the couture designer Bruce Oldfield states: ‘I would always suggest the Mother of the Bride doesn’t wear a colour nor a pattern that is too much of a standout as she will be seen like the beacon in all of the photos and videos until the end of time’.

Leaving loud, bold, floral patterns to others in exchange for an elegant mono-coloured dress that is well cut and draws a beautiful silhouette is a decision for which both the photographer and the newlyweds will thank you kindly.

How to choose an evening outfit?

 flowers on water, reflected lights

An evening celebration is often accompanied with a more formal dress code. If it is not directly stated on the invitation it is still highly recommended that you err on the side of being overdressed. Nevertheless, many formal dresses no longer carry the uncomfortable implication that they once did. This is great as it enables you to have enough comfortability to maintain your all-important confidence.

Although longer skirts are often associated with the formal dress code, they frequently stop you from being able to dance freely. Because we know the importance of a good boogie at a wedding, we recommend a pencil or mid-length dress that provides a formal and sophisticated look that doesn’t stop you from being able to enjoy the night to its fullest.

Many women find that cocktail or structured ball gowns prohibit their ability to move freely and stretch dresses can offer a great alternative. Being perfect for both daytime and evening celebrations, they help to create a beautiful figure while enabling you to maintain the full range of motion necessary for you to dance the night away.

The stretch dresses are perfect for the evening wedding as they are easy to pair with a wide range of coats or jackets as the evening gets cooler. The tighter fabric enables you to layer up while maintaining a sophisticated silhouette. An outcome that could not be achieved with a flowy cocktail dress or structured ball gown.  Consider the Seed Raquella coat or Diva Weston Bolero jacket, as examples of elegant night-time layers that sit perfectly over a stretch fabric dress.

seed raquella coat, pocketed, panelled knee length coat


Picking an outfit for a wedding can initially be an incredibly daunting prospect. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to panic nor choose an outfit that makes you feel frumpy, or worse still, go for one that gets you in trouble with the bride.

When considering etiquette for a modern wedding, the stretch long sleeve pencil dress may offer itself as a perfect solution. It is a style available in a wide variety of beautiful solid colours and can hence help to lift the stresses of clashing with the mother of the groom or bridesmaids.

A stretch dress will help create a beautiful silhouette while hiding any areas you that you might not want to be highlighted. It is an elegant, timeless and appropriate solution to the intimidating question of what to wear to your daughter’s wedding, and will leave you with a dress that you are able to enjoy again and again and again.


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