Are you the proud mom of a bride-to-be in search of the perfect dress for your daughter’s big day? If so, let me say congratulations! It’s not every day your daughter gets married, and while you’ve likely spent all of your free time with wedding planning and helping her find the perfect wedding dress, you deserve to look stunning on this special day as well.
Like memories, photographs last forever. So, let’s get into shopping mode and find the perfect mother of the bride dresses for you!
Mother of the Bride Dress Basics
When shopping for mother of bride dresses, the first thing you’ll notice is the lack of formal options found at regular stores. In order to find the right mother of the bride dress for such a special occasion, you’ll need to perform a little research and break away from the norm.
There’s a myriad of formal mother of the bride dress styles available for petite women, plus-size women, and everyone in between. Therefore, when shopping for dresses for mother of the bride, your personal style will play a large role in whatever beautiful dress you choose.
Whether you prefer a more formal tea-cut mother of the bride dress or something a little more flowing, with a little help, you’re sure to find an extra special dress for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Just remember, however, it’s easier to take a dress or gown in than it is to squeeze into a smaller size. So, rather than crash dieting, shop for a dress that will flatter your figure just the way you are right now.
Now that we have a few basics out of the way, let’s have a look at the most popular types of mother of the bride dresses on the market today. The dress you choose will likely fall into one of these categories:
Cocktail Dresses for the Mother of the Bride
Cocktail dresses are popular options for a variety of occasions, including weddings. These dresses are typically cut above the knee and have more of a tailored, form-fitting design, making them appropriate for both informal and semi-formal weddings.
A popular wedding option and something most women already own is the little black dress. You can find these and other suitable cocktail dresses in a variety of styles. From strapless fitted designs to thin spaghetti straps and half-sleeve options, you’ll find plenty of elegantly stunning cocktail dresses in a variety of colors and designs from Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and other premium retailers with bridal shops.
If you’re shopping for a cocktail dress, or any mother of bride dresses for that matter, remember wedding attire should be modest and not reveal too much cleavage. All attention should be front and center on the bride!
Discount Weddings Dresses for the Mother of the Bride
The costs involved with planning an unforgettable wedding can add up in a hurry, making it important for many mothers of brides to find a beautiful yet affordable dress to wear on the big day. A fantastic dress can cost a pretty sum, so how do you find a great formal dress to wear and still remain within budget? The answer is simple: sales, sales, and more sales.
Depending on the amount of time you have prior to the wedding, you may be able to take advantage of sales and discover the perfect dress for up to 70 percent off! That’s right. A dress that would normally cost $200 can be yours for $60. This is obviously a best case scenario, but it just goes to show the savings a little planning time and sale shopping can bring.
You’ll also need to scour the stores, both online and in-store, for just the right style, color, and size. However, if you have plenty of time and little funds, sale shopping may be a wonderful solution.
Designer Mother of the Bride Wedding Dresses
If you really want to go all out and make a splash, a designer dress is definitely the way to go. A wedding provides the perfect opportunity to treat yourself and wear a designer label. After all, there’s no better time to feel beautiful, elegant, confident, and proud than your daughter’s wedding!
You may not need to go all out in couture, but you should keep in mind the dozens of eyes and lenses that will be on you, so a little extravagance will be well worth it. Even if you’re on a tighter budget, designer gowns and dresses can be much more affordable than you think. This is especially true if you have time to prepare and do a little sale shopping in the months leading up to the wedding.
Elegant Evening Dresses for the Mother of the Bride
For a nighttime wedding, perhaps nothing is more suitable than an elegant evening dress. An elegant, stylish evening dress in a fabulous fabric will provide you with that red carpet look perfect for special occasions like the wedding of your little girl.
When shopping for elegant mother of the bride evening dresses, plan on trying on several different gowns before finding the perfect one. Ultimately, you want to choose a dress that flatters your figure and is suitable for the occasion, which is easier said than done.
In fact, this one of the few times when you really do get what you pay for. So, you may want to indulge a little for a better cut dress made with higher quality fabric in order to ensure it hugs your body just right.
If possible, choose matching wedding shoes and accessories while dress shopping. This will not only allow you to coordinate your look, but get your entire outfit picked out the same day. This will allow you to spend your time taking care of all of the other wedding details.
Mother of the Bride Gowns & Formal Dresses
If you’ve been shopping for mother of the bride wedding dresses for any length of time, chances are you’ve run across plenty of formal options. From flowing gowns to formal suites, there are options for every personality, style, shape, and size.
The best mother of the bride gowns and formal dresses are often made of silk or satin for their light and flattering appeal. Velvet, on the other hand, can look heavy, which makes women wearing it look heavier as well.
In terms of color, black and red are always popular options. However, if your daughter and future son-in-law are planning a spring or summer wedding, as is usually the case, white or a similar lighter shade will certainly look great.
If you’re a plus-size woman, two-piece outfits and long gowns can be especially flattering. Meanwhile, petite women can choose from short formal dresses made with elegant taffeta or more form-fitting options like cocktail dresses. Simple styles can always be jazzed up with great shoes and accessories, so keep these mind when dress shopping as well.
Maxi Dresses for Mothers of Brides and Others
One of the hottest trends going this year, maxi dresses are perfect for many mothers of brides and other female wedding guests. From chic couture to designer elegance, there are gorgeous maxi dresses out there for nearly every occasion.
Maxi dresses are typically ankle or floor length and can be worn by all types of women. While many maxi dresses tend to be close-fitting, there are plenty of forgiving variations for women of all shapes and sizes.
Many designers have even taken maxi dresses to the next level by making flattering cuts and designs for older, more mature women. Maxi dresses with neat patterns and designs also do a great job of smoothing out curves and fuller figures.
With maxi dresses being all the rage these days, you’re guaranteed to find a more than suitable option for your daughter’s wedding day.
Petite Dresses for the Mother of the Bride
Shorter women generally have a harder time shopping for dresses and formal wear, so if you’re on the petite side, it’s important to find dresses appropriately sized for your specific body shape. For your daughter’s wedding and other formal occasions, you’ll simply look and feel better with a petite dress designed for your small frame, rather than buying a regular dress and having it altered.
To find the perfect dress for your petite frame, try choosing solid colors or similar shades for a flattering, perfectly proportioned look. A little black dress always does the trick, but any simple tailored style should work wonderfully. A-line dresses, empire dresses, and wrap dresses are also flattering styles for petite figures.
Plus-Size Mother of the Bride Dresses & Outfits
It can be difficult and downright depressing shopping for plus-size dresses for special occasions like weddings. If you’re the plus-sized mother of a bride-to-be, don’t worry. With a little research and shopping, you’ll be drowning in plus-size dress options and look absolutely stunning on your little princess’ big day.
From David’s Bridal and other bridal shops to Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, there are endless formal plus-size dress options out there for fuller-figured women just like you.
Wide-leg trousers and nice silk blouses are popular outfits for many mothers of brides, but you shouldn’t feel confined to this conservative style. After all, it’s a celebratory day. So, why not go for a wrap dress or a gown with an open neckline that accentuates your cleavage? The options are as endless as the possibilities!
Tea-Cut Mother of the Bride Dresses
A tea length dress typically falls to the mid-calf area, making it the perfect compromise between a full-length gown and a cocktail dress. Perfect for mothers of brides and less formal weddings, there are a variety of tea-cut dress styles to choose from.
Despite their classic yet fanciful appeal, you have to have confidence in your legs to pull off one of these dresses. With the right set of heels, however, you can surely rock it out and make your daughter proud on her wedding day.
Mother of the Bride Dress Tips
Sending your pride and joy down the aisle can be a memorable and special experience. However, there are a few things to consider while planning for the big day, like what you’re going to wear! Although you now know a little about the various types of mother of the bride dresses available, here are a few more tips to ensure you pick out the perfect dress for the special event:
Color Comes First
When shopping for mother of the bride dresses, color should be your first consideration. Many moms mistakenly believe their dresses should complement or even match the bridesmaids’ dresses. However, since you’ll likely spend most of your time playing hostess at the event and very little time next to the bridesmaids, you don’t have to wear the same shade of dress as them or any other guests.
When picking a dress color, you should simply choose a flattering color that looks good on you. Also, try to avoid beige and other plain colors. After all, next to the bride and groom, you’re one of the most important people on this special day, so you’ll want a vibrantly colored dress that stands out from the rest.
Design is Equally Important
You may fall in love with the color of a dress, but it won’t work for you if it’s poorly designed or not right for your body. The design features of a dress include the shape of the neckline, the cut of the fabric, the type of fabric used, whether or not it has straps or sleeves, and so on.
When considering the design of a dress, you should think about the weather conditions or time of year, movement, and the formality of the event. For instance, if your daughter is having a summer wedding, a sleeveless dress with a V-neckline would be ideal. Regardless of the time of year, chances are you’ll be hitting the dance floor come wedding day, so you’ll also want a dress that’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t restrict your movement.
Select an Appropriate Length
When it comes to the length of your mother of the bride dress, you can go short, long, or somewhere in between. However, you should keep in mind that longer dresses and gowns are usually more appropriate for weddings taking place in the evening hours, whereas shorter dresses are better for daytime weddings. So, if the wedding is at 3:00 pm and you found a short dress you want to rock out, go for it girl!
It All Starts with the Lingerie
Believe it or not, you can have the most gorgeous dress imaginable, but if your underwear or lingerie isn’t up to par, you’re going to look less than stellar to say the least. Rather than your underwear or lingerie being an afterthought, focus your attention on these garments first for a fabulous look.
The right undergarments will not only fit great and offer excellent support, but they’ll provide control in the right places as well. A nice t-shirt style bra that fits well and won’t show through your dress fabric is always a solid investment. So is a pair of yoga pants or special knickers that helps shape your bottom and provide tummy control. The right undergarments will accentuate your figure in all of the right places, not hide it.
Deciding on the Perfect Mother of the Bride Dress
After trying on dozens of dresses in a variety of styles and designs, it can be hard to decide on the perfect one. However, there are a variety of questions you can ask yourself when trying to pick out a fabulous dress for your little girl’s wedding, such as:
Is the dress within my budget?
Weddings are expensive, so chances are you have a budget to adhere to when shopping for a mother of the bride dress. Unless you plan on wearing the dress for future occasions, you should strive to identify your budget and stick to it.
Does the dress make me feel confident and fabulous?
Regardless of what your friend or hubby says, how you feel in a dress is what matters most. Does the dress make you feel okay, or do you feel like a million bucks and ready for photo sessions when you try it on? Above anything else, you want to feel confident and stunning in the dress you wear.
Does the dress overpower or enhance my appearance?
When you look in the mirror, you should see yourself first, not the dress. Bright colors can be great, but the right dress should enhance your appearance, not distract from it.
Are coordinating shoes and accessories available?
Shoes, jewelry, and other accessories are just as important as the dress when attending weddings and other formal events. Without the right shoes or clutch in matching or complimentary shades, you’ll be left with an incomplete outfit on your daughter’s special day. You should also consider hats and gloves for a more formal, elegant look.
Best Shops for Mother of the Bride Dresses
Nordstrom – Nordstrom has been a leading retailer of women’s fashion since 1901 and offers a compelling line-up of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. Today, there are 326 Nordstrom locations across North America as well as a full online store, making it incredibly easy for women of all ages to shop and discover the perfect outfits, shoes, and accessories for every occasion.
Dillard’s – Like Nordstrom, Dillard’s has been a leader in top-end women’s retail fashion for the better part of a century. Both in-store and online, you’ll find trendy, fashionable dresses and outfits from all of today’s top designers. From Adrianna Papell and Emma Street to R&M Richards and Jessica Howard, Dillard’s has stunning mother of the bride dresses from the best designers in the business.
Macy’s – From less formal weddings to black tie affairs, Macy’s has a premium selection of mother of the bride gowns for every type of wedding party. Choose from Alex Evenings, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, JS Collections, and countless other famed designers! Whether you’re looking for a simple cocktail dress, fun maxi dress, or a floor-length gown with a romantic flair, Macy’s has you covered on this very special day.
David’s Bridal – Weddings are special occasions for brides, grooms, and mothers too. A hallmark in the bridal industry, David’s Bridal has an extensive selection of mother of the bride dresses that look and fit fabulously. The popular shop carries a wide selection of dresses and gowns in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors. They even have experts standing by both in-store and online to answer any of your questions and help you find the perfect dress.
Sometimes, finding a great mother of the bride dress can seem like an impossible task, no matter where you shop. If you follow these tips and find the perfect outfit, get it right away and shine like the star you are on your daughter’s wedding day!