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Aligning Mother of the Bride Dresses with Wedding Motifs

A wedding is a glorious celebration of the many facets of a bride’s life, including the choice of mother of the bride dresses. It acknowledges finding true love and happiness with a life partner. It also marks an important milestone where she takes the first steps towards building her future family.

Lastly, while it adds a sad note to the wondrous event, the wedding day is also the end of the bride’s singlehood and being a daughter of her own family. It’s the day when she bids a symbolic farewell to her parents.

For this reason, planning wedding details involving the parents is essential to give them the highest form of respect and honouring their presence in every way. What better way of showcasing such a profound appreciation than to ensure they feel recognized and valued on their daughter’s special day?  

One particularly tricky task in the whole process is styling the mother of the bride’s dress. There are many unspoken rules and expectations when it comes to this area. This topic may not always take the spotlight in fashion magazines and the like because it’s supposed to be the bride’s moment to shine. However, the mother’s garb for this special occasion must also be seriously considered for several reasons. 

When you take a closer look, the preparation of the mother’s attire comes close to the bridal gown regarding the time, effort, and resources required to get it right. Given this, the dedication and attention to detail this task calls for would be worthwhile if it means seeing the bride happy that her mom gets the treatment she deserves.  

A fail-safe way to ensure that the bride’s mother would be styled appropriately for the occasion is to stick to the wedding motif. The gown should be aligned with the event’s ambience and colour scheme. Meanwhile, it must also be congruent with the bridal entourage’s styling. 

Styling mother of the bride dresses is a delicate balancing act. Fret not! As long as you have the essentials, it can be achieved with flying colours. Let this guide show you how.

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Study the motif’s various elements

The wedding motif is composed of several elements, as follows:

  • Colour palette: It pertains to the prominent colours used to design the venue, attires, stationery, and giveaways. 
  • Attire: Weddings are usually categorized as black-tie events, meaning the dress code is formal evening wear. However, some weddings may veer from the classic proper dress code, depending on the theme. The key is to determine the level of formality required for the event. 
  • Floral arrangement and décor: These details also add to the aesthetics and vibe of the event.  

You can use these visual elements as inspiration when choosing the dress for the mother of the bride. The key is picking patterns, colours, or fabrics that complement the motif, not contradict it.  

Take notes from the bridal entourage styling 

It’s customary in many parts of the globe for the bridal entourage and the bride’s mother to be aligned regarding their wedding styling. However, the mother’s dress should still be distinguishably different from the bridesmaids and maid of honour. Usually, they wear colours from the same family but in varying shades or combinations. 

The bride’s mother can also have more intricate details on their gown and different fabrics and embellishments. But although the dress should stand out, it shouldn’t look too loud or distracting not to overpower the bride’s styling.  

Explore different cuts and silhouettes

The idea that mothers of the bride must only wear full-length gowns is already passe. You can always explore various cuts and silhouettes that best complement their height and figure. It means choosing a shorter dress or a pencil-cut skirt is okay if they look flattering. Some mothers also opt for suits if they match the motif or theme since they’re generally accepted as formal wear.  

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Just a few things to remember: choosing a cut and fitting on the modest side is always safe. Nothing that hugs the body too tightly, but nothing ill-fitting or frumpy-looking, either. As with many things in fashion, balance is always the key.

Selecting an appropriate cut and fit will also prevent discomfort. For instance, the seams and edges of the dress shouldn’t be too tight to cut on any part of the skin.  

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Pick the right colours

The most popular dress colours for mothers of the bride are navy, pink and pastel hues, silver, and shades of green. Also, it’s generally acceptable for them to wear darker hues, except for black and other shades like it, if they’re in muted tones and if they don’t distract from the motif. These shades exude maturity and elegance at the same time.  

Meanwhile, minimizing or veering away from anything white, ivory, black, or red is best. If the motif contains any of the colours mentioned, you can include them in the dress as small details. Then, opt for a different colour that won’t upstage the bridal gown or overpower the rest of the bridal entourage.  

Prints and patterns are also good picks for this type of dress. They offer flexibility as you can find many kinds suitable for any age and are easy to style and accessorize. Printed and patterned dresses look great for outdoor morning events, though getting them in darker colours also works well for evening celebrations.  

Allow comfortable movement 

Choose a design that would allow the bride’s mother to mingle freely and comfortably with other guests (as they usually take part in greeting and entertaining them). They must also be able to sit, eat, and even dance while wearing their garb. The wedding celebration is meant to be enjoyed, so the bride’s parents must be able to do so without any hitches! 

The fabric also plays a significant role in ensuring comfortable movement during the event. The cloth of the dress must be light and breathable enough not to trap heat and cause excessive sweating. Meanwhile, the gown should have enough layering or thicker fabric if the wedding occurs during colder seasons. 

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Factor in the venue 

The big event’s venue, time, and place should also be considered when choosing or designing a dress for the bride’s mother. For instance, garden weddings held in the morning or early afternoon would call for a dress with light fabric and colours. Meanwhile, you can go with the opposite if the ceremony will be held in a grand ballroom in the evening.

Style for the season and weather 

You’d need to plan the gowns for the bridal entourage ahead of time to be prepared for the season and weather when the wedding takes place. These will influence your fabric, colour, and cut choices. Depending on when the ceremony will be held, you may also need to add layers or accessories for the dresses to suit the temperature.  

To ensure the bride’s mother remains comfortable during the cold season, add a specially designed shawl or jacket to their dress. If the wedding is in summer, they can wear a sleeveless garb or a short skirt to prepare for higher temperatures.  

Consultation is key 

Aligning the mother of the bride’s dress with the motif may seem straightforward, but not until you see how many people you need to consult with! See the list below and discover why coordination with family and friends is critical.

  • The mother of the bride: It’s crucial to discuss with the bride’s mother about her ideal gown. Her style should be reflected in the design to ensure she’ll feel at ease and look her best. It’s also the best time to explain your other considerations, including the wedding motif and bridal entourage styling.  
  • The bride: The final decision rests with the bride’s mother regarding her dress, though it’s common for the bride and her mother to discuss it and find a middle ground. This way, both can have a clear idea of what their visions are and see where compromise is possible.   
  • The wedding coordinator: The wedding coordinator will help envision the scope of the mother of the bride’s participation in the event. Will she be walking her daughter down the aisle? Will she participate in the ceremony? By knowing the activities she’ll join in, you’ll also get a better idea of how to make her look elegant and polished while feeling comfortable throughout the celebration. 
  • The mother of the groom: As the bride’s mother usually follows the bridal entourage’s styling, they typically have a different colour scheme from the groom’s mother and other guests from the groom’s side. Many also opt to style the two moms differently while ensuring that their gowns don’t clash too much with each other. Doing so could create unnecessary visual distractions, especially in photos and videos, which would be undesirable.

However, they may also opt to coordinate their styles for the day, so give them the guidance they need. It’s the best-case scenario since everything will be planned accordingly, every detail smoothened out, and there’ll be no surprises on the wedding day! You’ll also avoid embarrassing mishaps and uncomfortable situations, which could take away from the beauty of the celebration. Any way it goes, it’s a win for everyone!

Here’s the critical part:

Give each discussion a good amount of consideration, but the mother of the bride’s opinion should take precedence over others. Offer some advice or pointers if required, but at the end of the day, how she looks and feels in the dress truly matters.  

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Lots of time and budget

Brides and their entourage plan their attires months ahead of the big day for a reason. Getting the perfect wedding look takes time and resources but pays off. So, it’s worth going the extra mile! 

Another factor to prepare for is the budget. Having one allows you to explore many designs and embellishments and get the details on point. Remember, this is the best time to splurge on an outfit because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event! 

Choose a great designer or wedding attire shop

Last but not least, you must choose a dress supplier wisely. Whether you opt for a bespoke gown or purchase a ready-made dress, quality should always be the topmost priority.  

Additionally, good designers or attire shops would listen to your requests and understand the unique needs of their clients. In short, they’ll be easier to work with and are more likely to provide quality products, so they’ll be a wise choice.  

Here are a couple of quick tips 

For a hassle-free and polished mother-of-the-bride styling, take note of these additional pointers:

  • Avoid applying makeup that the bride’s mother has never worn before, as this could be distracting or uncomfortable on her end. It’s not the best time to experiment!
  • Don’t go for dramatic dress styles or overly heavy makeup and accessories. They could also cause unnecessary distractions. Trying too hard isn’t the name of the game.
  • Ensure she wears jewelry, but avoid anything too flashy, such as a tiara. Also, avoid wearing any jewelry or accessories similar to the bride’s.
  • Only let the bride decide on her mom’s styling when necessary or urgent. The last thing you want to do is to add another task to her schedule! So, keep her out of the decision-making process as much as possible and let her mother choose the most comfortable and flattering dress for her. 


It’s a great honour for the bride and groom to have their parents witness their blessed union. One of the best ways to prove it is to give them the best styling available. Let the bride’s mother, in particular, shine in her own right by letting her choose a cut and design that she likes and feels most comfortable in. Use the wedding motif as a guide, ensuring that her gown is in harmony with the rest of the aesthetic elements of the event.  

FAQ: Mother of the Bride Dresses

Why is it important to consider the mother of the bride’s dress in wedding planning?

The mother of the bride’s dress is crucial because it showcases appreciation, respect, and recognition for her presence and role in her daughter’s life. Proper styling ensures that she feels valued on this special day.

How should the mother of the bride’s dress align with the wedding motif?

The dress should be congruent with the event’s ambience, colour scheme, and the bridal entourage’s styling. This means picking patterns, colours, or fabrics that complement the motif rather than contradict it. It’s also beneficial to study the various elements of the motif, such as the colour palette, attire type, and floral arrangements.

How can the mother of the bride’s dress stand out without overshadowing the bride?

While the dress should be aligned with the bridal entourage’s styling, it should be distinguishably different from the bridesmaids and maid of honour. The dress can have more intricate details, different fabrics, and embellishments, but it shouldn’t overpower the bride’s styling.

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What are some modern considerations when choosing a dress for the mother of the bride?

The traditional notion that mothers of the bride must only wear full-length gowns is outdated. Today, various cuts and silhouettes are acceptable, from shorter dresses to pencil-cut skirts and even suits. The key is to choose a design that complements her figure, is modest, and ensures comfortable movement throughout the event.

How can one ensure the dress is appropriate for the venue, season, and weather?

The venue, time, and place play crucial roles in dress selection. For instance, lighter fabrics and colours are suitable for garden weddings, while grand ballroom events might call for more elaborate designs. Additionally, considering the season and weather can guide fabric, colour, and accessory choices, ensuring comfort throughout the celebration.

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