Mother of the Bride Dress Etiquette: 9 Tips

Mother of the Bride Dress Etiquette
Mother of the bride dress etiquette involves dressing appropriately for the level of formality of the wedding. Follow the chosen color scheme but avoid white, champagne, or ivory colors. Choose the accessories that complement the outfit without overpowering it.

1. Dress Code and Theme

It is the bride’s special day, and adhering to the dress requirements shows you care about making the day memorable for her. You will also avoid any awkwardness or embarrassment from wearing something that clashes with the bride’s vision. 

What to wear will vary depending on your daughter’s preferences and the wedding theme.

Bride and her mother wearing coordinated colors
Bride and her mother wearing coordinated colors

Here are general tips to keep in mind:

  • Have an open and honest conversation with your daughter about her expectations.
  • It’s proper ladies’ etiquette to wear a dress that aligns with the wedding’s formality level. For example, if it is a black-tie wedding, a formal evening gown would be appropriate, while a casual garden wedding may call for a sundress or dressy separates.
  • Avoid wearing white or any shade that could be mistaken for the bride’s gown.
  • The time of day is a factor in choosing the right dress. A daytime wedding may call for lighter colors and fabrics, while an evening wedding may be more formal and require darker colors and dressier fabrics.
  • Add interest and personality to your outfit by accessorizing with jewelry and a clutch or purse. 

2. Perfecting Color Coordination

Coordinating your dress color with the bride and the wedding theme is a thoughtful way to enhance the overall aesthetic of the wedding. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

  • If your baby girl wears a traditional white dress, you could opt for a softer hue such as pastel or blush.
  • If the wedding has a specific color palette, choose a dress color that complements the wedding color. 
  • Wear a dress in a soft floral pattern or a nature-inspired hue like green or blue if it’s a summer wedding in a garden or outdoor setting.

3. Accessorizing

Choose pieces that complement your dress and enhance your overall look. Avoid accessories that will detract attention from your daughter.

Here are some tips on selecting the right accessories:

  • When choosing a hat, consider the color and style of the dress. A neutral hat matching the dress’s color scheme is a safe choice. 
  • Consider the neckline of the dress when choosing a necklace. A statement necklace looks great with a simple, classic dress, while a delicate pendant necklace complements a more detailed neckline.  
  • Wear comfortable shoes that complement the outfit. A pair of heels add height and elegance, but they should be comfortable for the event. 
  • Choose a clutch or a small purse that complements the color and style of the dress. Go for a metallic or neutral-colored bag or a bold color that can add some interest to the overall look.

4. Hair And Makeup

When choosing the appropriate hairstyle and makeup, consider the dress, accessories, personal style, and age. You should feel comfortable and confident in your hairstyle and makeup. 

Here are some suggestions for hairstyles and makeup that are elegant and age-appropriate.


  • Classic Chignon: This timeless updo is perfect for an elegant, polished look. It works well with various dress styles and accessories, such as statement earrings or necklaces.
  • Soft Waves: Soft, loose waves can create a youthful, effortless look. This style is flattering with off-the-shoulder or strapless dresses.
  • Sleek Ponytail: This can be both chic and sophisticated. It’s perfect for a modern look and works well with statement earrings or a dramatic makeup look.


  • Natural and radiant for a fresh and youthful look.
  • Classic and sophisticated makeup looks include bold red lipstick, a subtle smoky eye, and winged eyeliner. 
  • Soft and romantic look with soft pink or peach tones on the eyes and lips.

5. Comfort

Choosing a comfortable dress and shoes for a wedding is essential, especially if the event lasts long. Wearing uncomfortable clothes and footwear can distract you from enjoying the event and lead to discomfort and pain, ruining the entire experience. 

Here are some tips on how to choose comfortable, stylish shoes and accessories:

  • Choose shoes that fit snugly and provide enough room for your toes to move freely.
  • Opt for lower heels or flats that offer more comfort and support.
  • Opt for lightweight jewelry, such as stud earrings or delicate necklaces, to add style without sacrificing comfort.
  • Look for dresses that feature lightweight and breathable materials like cotton, silk, or chiffon. 
  • Choose undergarments that fit well and provide enough support without feeling too restrictive.

6. Time Of The Day

Daytime weddings require lighter and more casual wedding attire, while evening weddings are more formal and require more elaborate clothing and accessories.

For a daytime wedding, you can opt for a knee-length or tea-length dress in a light or pastel color, such as light blue or lavender. Accessories can be minimal, with a small clutch or handbag, delicate jewelry, and a hat or fascinator.

Wear a long or formal cocktail dress in rich colors such as burgundy, navy, or emerald green for an evening wedding. The dress can have embellishments such as beading, sequins, or lace. Accessories can be bolder, with statement jewelry, a clutch or evening bag, and high heels.

7. Dress For Your Body

Shopping for a dress that flatters your body type and enhances your best features can be daunting. Here are tips to make the process easy:

Choose a dress that emphasizes the upper body and creates a balanced silhouette for a pear-shaped body. A dress with an A-line skirt or a ball gown can help balance out the hips, while a fitted bodice can accentuate the waist.

For an apple-shaped body, choose a dress that creates a streamlined silhouette and emphasizes the waist. A dress with a V-neckline or a wrap-style dress can help create a more balanced look, while a dress with an empire waistline can help emphasize the waist.

For an hourglass-shaped body, choose a dress that emphasizes the curves and highlights the waist. A dress with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt can help create an hourglass shape, while a dress with a sweetheart neckline can draw attention to the bust and waist.

8. Embrace Cultural Norms

In some cultures, wearing specific colors, such as red or gold, symbolizes good luck and prosperity. In cultures that value modesty, the bride’s mother should wear a dress that covers her arms and legs. Some cultures require you to wear traditional attire that reflects the heritage and customs of the bride’s in-laws family.

Here are some tips to help you choose an appropriate dress based on culture:

  • Before selecting a dress, research the cultural norms and customs of the wedding.
  • Consult with the daughter on dress code preferences that align with her in-law’s culture.

9. What To Avoid

As the bride’s mother, it’s respectful to dress appropriately for your daughter’s wedding. Here are etiquette tips to consider when selecting your attire:

  • Find out the wedding’s color scheme and dress code, and coordinate with it to avoid clashing.
  • Steer clear of white. 
  • Avoid wearing anything too flashy or attention-grabbing.
  • Consider the time of day and venue when selecting your wedding outfit. 
  • Give yourself plenty of time for dress shopping to avoid last minute rush. 
  • Consult with your girl to ensure your outfit is appropriate to avoid looking off on the wedding day.
  • Coordinate with the mother of the groom on what to wear.
  • Choose accessories that complement your outfit without being too flashy or overpowering. 


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

Recent Posts