Shopping for Mother of Bride Dresses: Everything You Need to Know

As the mother of the bride or groom, you may be excited or apprehensive about the search for your wedding outfit. It is certainly an exciting and busy time and there are many things you may be considering when it comes to your dress for the day. To help you in your search, we’ve put together a guide of our top tips when shopping for mother of the bride outfits.

Where to go

Your son or daughter’s wedding day is a special occasion that you will look back on for many years to come so it’s important to invest in a quality outfit that gives you a great silhouette and makes you feel confident and relaxed all day. A premium-quality outfit will last a lifetime so don’t be afraid of investing in your dress or jumpsuit for the big day.

There is a vast array of shops that offer mother of the bride occasion wear but we recommend visiting bridal and mother of the bride stores as they’ll give you the best opportunity to create an experience from your dress search. They’ll also be able to help with any alterations needed to the garment. The stores often have matching accessories that they can recommend to complement your look and have many years’ experience in styling mums for this special occasion.  Mother of the bride outfits can be intricate and detailed so it’s important to try the dresses on in person rather than buying online so that you can get a feel for the fabric, quality and fit.

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When to start looking

Ideally you should start shopping for your outfit six to eight months before the wedding. This will ensure there’s enough time for the dress to arrive if it has to be shipped from elsewhere and for any alterations to be made. It also helps you take time to find a dress that you really love and will be comfortable in all day. By this time, it is also likely that the bride and bridesmaids’ dresses will be chosen which will give you some guidance for your look.

When you start looking for an outfit can be dependent on the season you are shopping for. We launch both autumn/winter and spring/summer collections at specified points in the year. Autumn/winter collections will be launched in the summer months in preparation for upcoming weddings. Spring/summer collections tend to be released during the autumn, ready for the following spring.

What to consider when shopping

Similarly with bridal fashion there are no strict rules to adhere to when shopping for a mother of the bride outfit. However, there are a few factors you may want to take into consideration. Firstly, the style and colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Ideally the mother of the bride’s outfit should complement the dresses of the bridesmaids to create a cohesive look. You may also want to consider the mother of the groom’s outfit. In this case, the dresses do not need to match but you may want to coordinate what styles and colours each of you will wear so you don’t clash or look too similar. The bride may also have a preference on style, fit or colour scheme that will play a role in the process of finding an outfit.

Another consideration to take into account during the shopping process is the season in which the wedding takes place. Mother of the bride dresses will tend to be suited to a particular season, for example long skirts and heavy materials in the autumn and winter months and shorter sleeve lengths and lighter fabrics in the spring and summer months. The mother of the bride’s outfit, much like the bride and bridesmaids, should be appropriate for the season to ensure all day comfort.

You may also want to think about the wedding venue when selecting a dress. The wedding venue can provide important cues about the formality of the outfit that the mother of the bride wears. A more formal venue may suggest an upscale outfit while a laid-back venue will require a more relaxed look. The venue may also dictate any cultural or religious customs that you may need to incorporate into your outfit. For example, if the wedding is in a church you may need to have your shoulders and arms covered.

The colour the dress may be one of the first questions you ask when it comes to your mother of the bride outfit. The answer is that there is no specific colour that the mother of the bride should wear. We would recommend that you take clues from the rest of the bridal party when it comes to selecting a colour. You may also consider the time of year. Darker colours such as navy and forest green tend to be more suited to the autumn and winter while bright and pastel colours like yellow or pink are best for spring and summer.

Don’t forget to also think about comfort. It’s important to select an outfit that’s both gorgeous and comfortable considering you’ll be on your feet for a large proportion of the day, interacting with guests, having photographs taken and dancing!

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What accessories you should wear

Now is the time to treat yourself. Accessories are an important element of any outfit and should not be overlooked. Think about what will complement the dress. If it’s a plainer style you may want to opt for some statement earrings, a necklace or ring to add detail to your look. If your dress is already quite detailed simpler jewellery options may be better suited. You also don’t want anything that is too uncomfortable or will affect your ability to enjoy the day to the fullest. Whether you’re buying new items or are using things you already own, the finishing touches will really make a difference to your overall look.

Another accessory you may want to pay attention to is your handbag or clutch. Generally, it is best to stick to a small purse or clutch bag that will make a beautiful and modest statement. It should be large enough to fit the essential items you will need during the day but small enough that it allows for you to place it over your napkin during the dinner or wedding breakfast. It is also useful to pick a style that has a thin chain or strap so that if needs must you have your hands free.

In terms of shoes, again think about what will complement your dress the best. You should also pay attention to comfort as you will be wearing them all day. The wedding dress code may also give helpful suggestions as to what shoes will be most appropriate for the day. Things like the venue will also help give an indication of what heel height would be best. Don’t forget to wear them in before the big day.

Remember that the wedding day isn’t just a big day for the bride, it is also an important moment for you as their mother. Ultimately, you should look and feel good, so it’s important to stick to what you like and feel comfortable in.