How To Dress As The Mother Of The Bride (or Groom)

So your daughter or son is getting married, and of course, it's an exciting time! You most likely have helped with the preparations, even helped her pick her perfect dress, and probably shed a tear or two, but now, when it's time to pick your outfit, you may wonder what you should wear. How should you dress as the mother of the bride, or even the mother of the groom? 

Dressing as the mother of the bride isn't as simple as you first think. There are certain dos and don'ts that you should take into consideration when planning your outfit. Certain etiquette that you really should think about. It can be a minefield but it mostly comes down to common sense. Here is my guide on how to dress as the mother of the bride or groom.

1. Never upstage the bride

This isn't the occasion for your most elaborate outfit, after all, you don't want to upstage the bride. It's the bride and groom's day and upstaging the bride isn't really on. So don't wear anything dramatic or strange. Just don't, it's not cool.

2. Don't wear white or black

It's an unwritten rule to not wear white to a wedding if you are not the bride. You can wear a neutral colour but white is a definite no-no. The bride is most likely to be wearing white or ivory. The only exception to this if the wedding isn't a traditional wedding, the bride is wearing a different colour and has said everyone can wear what they want. Personally, I still wouldn't.

Black is a colour associated with mourning so stay clear of wearing black from head to toe although some black co-ordinating with another colour or tone can be chic.

3. Dress conservatively

Don't be like Elizabeth Hurley and wear a dress split to your lady parts! Yes, she did wear this to a wedding. A rule of thumb is to be conservative in your dress unless the couple are having a wedding that is non-traditional. They should then discuss with you the theme and explain the dress code. Anything see-through, very short or revealing is a definite no.

4. Try and be timeless

You will look back on these photos for years to come so try and pick an outfit that is timeless and doesn't play to the latest fashion trends. There is nothing to say you can't add something bright or sparkly to your outfit though if that fits with your personality. If you are very outgoing you can always wear something more extrovert in the evening, within common sense guidelines.

5. It's ok to splurge

It's your child's wedding so it's ok to splurge on that perfect outfit. Often spending that little bit more with give you an outfit that is cut well of a quality material and will look amazing on. It's your child's special day so to splurge is almost expected if you have the money.

6. Casual is never casual

Even if it's a casual wedding, it's never really that casual. A wedding is one occasion that it's always better to be overdressed. If it's a beach wedding you may, however, want to wear something less structured, such as a flowing dress. Again, just be sure it's not too revealing, and pay attention to underwear that gives structure under a floaty garment. 

7.  A hat or not

Is a hat compulsory as the mother of the bride? This much Googled question will bring up the answer from Debrett - the guide to British social skills, etiquette and style. They say that it is traditional but not compulsory.  Many people feel that wearing a hat finishes off an outfit. If you are not keen, what about a fascinator that adds some glamour and brings the outfit up-to-date? It's a good idea to liaise with the mother of the groom to find out what she is wearing so you don't clash and also if she is wearing a hat and do the same. 

8. A religious ceremony

If it is a religious ceremony,  especially in a church, be respectful and cover your shoulders. Even if you are not religious. If in doubt, ask the priest for guidance but always err on the side of caution.  

9. Don't leave it to the last minute 

Picking that perfect outfit shouldn't be rushed, so don't leave it to the last minute. That's when disasters happen, you get an outfit that doesn't fit or you are not happy with. It's always nice to ask your daughter what she thinks and this will ensure your outfit compliments hers. She will appreciate you asking and it's something you can share in the run-up to the day.

10. At the end of the day enjoy!

You want everything to be perfect for her wedding day, just don't forget to relax and enjoy the day. After all, it's not every day your daughter gets married!

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  1. I can't wait until the day one of my children gets married, what fun it will be helping them prepare and choosing an outfit. Mich x

    1. It's such a lovely time for the parent as well as the child.

  2. I know when it comes to me getting married my mum will probably push to buy a hat x

  3. I cannot wait for my kids to get married for the chance to dress up. We keep dropping hints to Abbey's boyfriend LOL

  4. I am looking forward to the day Sylvia marries, luckily i have a good 10-15 years he he! I like these tips.

  5. I have a few years to wait to be mother of the bride yet - these are great tips, I think my question too is hat or no hat? Kaz

  6. Love your tips they are all very true! Lovely dresses.

  7. Great tips. I have a good few years yet to be a mother of the groom but I can't wait.

  8. Brilliant tips. I have two daughters aged 21 so this may well be something I will be referring to in the next few years. I have to admit to being a Hat fan, so for me, it is a vital part of an outfit!

  9. Great advice here. Classy and timeless for the win!

  10. Black is a colour associated with mourning so stay clear of wearing black from head to toe although some black co-ordinating with another colour or tone can be chic.