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Mother of the Bride Dresses

Depending on the type of ceremony, finding the right mother of the bride dress could take a bit of time. You'll need to know the level of formality the bridal couple has in mind as well as their color palette. An elegant evening or mother of the bride dress could also coordinate with the bridal party.

What color should a mother of the bride dress be?

While there are no hard and fast rules as to what color mother of the bride dresses should be, there are some simple guidelines that can help ensure a stunning look without taking away attention from the bride. For example, most etiquette experts recommend staying away from white or ivory because these colors could compete with the newlywed gown. Additionally, a mother of the bride dress or gown is generally not black (a color often associated with mourning) or red, which is often thought to be too flashy. You may also consider the following tips:

  • You can select a color that coordinates with the bridesmaids' dresses but is not an exact match. The mother of the bride should look distinct from the wedding party.
  • Choose a color that works well with the style or theme of the ceremony. You'll especially want to consider how your dress will look in the wedding photos.
  • Consult your daughter and ask for her input on the color scheme she has chosen for the wedding. Ask what color she would prefer for your dress or gown.
Does the type or style of ceremony matter?

The type of ceremony as well as the venue will play a major role in choosing the right mother of the bride dress. The style should be elegant yet reflect the venue and overall feel of the ceremony. A backyard ceremony is usually less formal than an evening wedding at an upscale resort. Similarly, mother of the bride dresses for a beach ceremony might not be right for a lavish church wedding. When trying to determine the right look, it can be helpful to consider the attire that the wedding party will be wearing. Many women prefer a long-sleeve dress, but a dress with an elegant lace insert on the sleeve is also common. Sleeve length will also depend on the season and the venue.

What length is appropriate?

Whether you wear an evening dress or a long gown will depend on the venue and formality of the ceremony. Many prefer the mother to wear an elegant gown; however, if the women in the bridal party are wearing short dresses or the ceremony will not be formal, a lovely chiffon evening dress with a short sleeve can be appropriate.

Should the bride's mom and the groom's mom coordinate dresses?

As the bride's mom, it is usually your honor to choose your dress or gown first. Of course, it can be nice to extend an invitation to the groom's mother to work with you to help coordinate your separate looks. Whether you choose a long, lace mother of the bride dress or prefer a short skirt with jacket, it can be helpful to communicate what each of you will wear. You certainly don't want to match, but choosing dresses in the same color palette as well as length can help maintain a unified look for pictures.

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