How To Choose a Perfect Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dress

Helen Ainson Darien Mother of the bride

How To Choose a Perfect Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dress

Long gone are the days of demure and unflattering matronly dresses in faded beige meant to relegate the mother of the bride and mother of the groom into the crowd. MOB and MOG attire has come a long way in recent years and no longer has to feel like a chore to find and wear. Mother of the bride dresses can be flattering and tasteful when chosen and worn correctly.

The most important thing, or rather person, to keep in mind when considering your attire as the mother of the bride (or even as the mother of the groom!) is the bride. No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, a MOB or MOG’s outfit should follow the Bride’s lead and use her as an inspiration for styles and color palette, as well as a signal for the formality of the occasion.

The bride and groom will decide upon a theme and dress code for the special occasion, and it is imperative to stick to this theme. After all, it is your daughter or son’s special day, and it is expected that you help as much as possible to make their vision of their wedding a reality.

Below are some of our favorite tips to help you find the perfect mother of the bride or mother of the groom dress for an upcoming wedding.


For events that are more casual in nature, such as seaside, summer weddings, or country weddings, the dress code has much more room for interpretation. We recommend erring on the side of casual for these types of weddings, as it is no less important to let the bride glow in her spotlight. For this type of wedding, we recommend dresses over gowns (although this is not a requirement!), as they are often seen as more casual.

Whether you choose a tea-length, cocktail, summer, or any other style of dress, the most important things to decide upon for a casual wedding as the mother of the bride are color, style, and especially comfort.

With room for your own stylistic choices, you want to find something that is flattering, but that also fits with the theme of the wedding and is something you can stand wearing for the greater part of a day. For those looking for casual mother-of-the-bride dresses, Helen Ainson carries a great selection of dresses for casual weddings, as well as engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and cocktail parties.

For events more formal in nature, such as black or white-tie formal or evening weddings, you can’t go wrong with an elegant formal dress or evening gown in a muted or darker color such as navy blue. As with casual weddings, the most important thing at informal weddings is not to overshadow the bride on their special day.

Typically, for more formal weddings, it is expected that the MOB and MOG wear long, formal evening gowns. These outfits are both flattering and effortless. With so many gowns available from Helen Ainson, finding one to suit your child’s vision for their wedding is made easy.


Once the formality of the event has been established and you have a general idea of what you would like to wear, the next step is deciding upon a color (or color palette) that you would like to search for. The best way to decide upon color is to, once again, ask your son or daughter about their vision of the special occasion.

As a rule of thumb, you should never wear a dress or gown in white, cream, or ivory unless explicitly specified by the bride. This can be seen as taking the spotlight away from the engaged and is considered a grave faux pas at most weddings. Likewise, darker colors are typically more formal; colors like navy blue, burgundy or maroon, and even black (if specified by the bride!)

Traditionally, the mother of the bride will select her dress first, then the mother of the groom will follow her lead. The MOG’s dress should complement the mother of the bride’s dress but not match or clash with it. A helpful tip is to search the internet for a color, ie; ‘sage green’, plus ‘color combinations.’

However, for less formal weddings, where the style is open to interpretation, you are welcome to choose your own styles independently, so long as you do not overdress or starkly contrast the chosen theme and color palette of the event.


The final thing to consider when shopping for a mother of the bride or mother of the groom’s dress is the wedding’s setting. While the wedding venue will most often closely match the theme of the wedding, it is also important to keep in mind for purposes of both comfort and style.

For most outdoor, summer, and daytime weddings, it is important to remember breathability and sun protection as well as colors and formality. For example, you would not want to wear a navy blue evening gown to a tropical-themed beach wedding.

However, depending on the venue, that very same dress may make a perfect choice. For weddings at formal venues during autumn and winter and in the evening; darker, longer, and denser fabric dresses can make for a much more comfortable experience than, say, a pastel-colored tea dress for an outdoor autumn wedding.

The Bottom Line

No matter how you go about your decision on a mother of the bride (or groom) dress, the most important thing is communication. Once you have an idea of the dress you would like to wear, consult with the bride and groom, and even the bridal party, as soon as you can manage to make sure it will fit into their vision of this special day.

No matter the theme, venue, or occasion, Helen Ainson can help you find the perfect dress. Visit our website today or give us a call at 203-655-9841 to find the perfect outfit for the special occasion today.

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