Mother of the Bride… Tips for Dressing for your Daughter’s (or son’s) Big Day!

Photo by Emma Bauso on

Congratulations Mother of the Bride (or Groom)!  You are about to cross your own threshold of Mother to Mother-in-law! With so many eyes on the bride that will then fall on you (c’mon – everyone wants to know what the bride will look like twenty-plus years from now!), it’s important to look your best on your child’s big day.  After all, you will be photographed along with the wedding party and those pics will live on into infamy (or in-family at least!).

First, we suggest keeping things simple. It’s been quite a while since you birthed the bride (or groom) so be gentle on yourself. Let wisdom be your guide and accept the body you are in – fashion should be your friend, not your enemy. No worries about trying to look like the models in the online shopping pics or those omnipresent Instagram pictures. Know your size and find the style and cut that will flatter your assets.  And. Never. Ever. Google “Mother of the Bride dresses”.  Our own experiment with this very phrase found us with our jaws agape.

Instead, type in whatever style you favor these days for dresses and then add key phrases like short, long, sleeve length, or color and bless Google’s enterprising heart, you will find lots of shoppable images of dresses that might work. (But, if you just want to peruse some gorgeous dresses, go to the bottom of this post and we have grabbed a few that we love!)

Too many choices or need more guidance? Highlight the part of your body that you feel best about. A belted gown is going to highlight a tight waistline. This isn’t you? Then go with something more forgiving. Like…

  • An empire waist
  • A gown with sash or tie
  • An A-Line silhouette
  • Asymmetric shapes or draping
  • An open neckline
  • Vertical lines

Now, not all of us at 50+ can have Michelle Obama’s arms and if that’s your weakness then go with something that will showcase an asset you do have or a cut that will diminish what you are less confident about…

  • Try a style that will bare your great shoulders and neckline
  • Hide unflattering arms with ¾ Length sleeves
  • Try an oh-so feminine flutter sleeve
  • Throw a Bolero top over a strapless gown
  • Look for sheer sleeves

Got great legs?  Try a gown with a high cut, sheer fabric, or shorter length.  There are just so many ways to accentuate what you’ve got going on rather than settling for showing off what you don’t!  If you’re really unsure a fitted bodice with full skirt looks great on most body types and works together to create an hourglass figure regardless of what’s underneath.

The only other fashion sense we would impart is to check in with the bride to find out if there is a certain color or style that she wants you to avoid.  She may or may not want you to look part of the wedding party so be conscious of that and the rest of the rules should then be up to you! 

Take a look at some figure-flattering and gorgeous styles we love…

Rosario Satin Stretch Gown

Mom, you will be feeling your best in this gorgeous jeweled-toned gown with its nipped-in waist and draped skirt, and draped kimono sleeves.  The satin will shimmer all through the wedding right through to the dance party!

Three Quarter Sleeve Wrap Front Sheath Gown

This figure-flattering sheath gown has it going on.  Not only is it made with a comfortable jersey and spandex fabric but has a pretty cinched waist with an opening to reveal your pretty legs.  We love the “Chianti” color for fall but it also comes in a deep Marine and purple-hued Eggplant.  

Oscar De La Renta Bead Embellished Stretch Silk Georgette Gown

No need to accessorize this gorgeous Azure-colored gown made in soft and subtle silk. Simple but vexingly alive, the cut is forgiving and made to be worn loose… We’ll take another slice of wedding cake, thank you!

Tansy Satin Charmeuse Maxi Dress

Flirty, fluttery, and feminine while also flattering to the neckline is why we love this one!  Pretty waist tie tops the flowing floor-length skirt. Another great detail about this dress?  It’s bra-friendly!

Solace London Strapless Draped Back Gown

With just the slightest hint of color to emphasize the waist the flared skirt on this gown will have you sashaying onto the dance floor with ease and style!

Mysterious Grace Silk Midi Dress

Who says you have to wear a gown?  YOU can break the rules in this dress and feel good about it. Made of luxurious silk (and you know how we feel about this fabric!) this wrap dress will show off great legs and lengthen the torso with its empire waist and v-neck.  Don’t be afraid of the print if the color works with the bride.

Jenny Packham Studded Cap Gown

Again, this elegant but simply cut cape dress won’t upstage the bride but its sugar pink color and studded sleeve embellishment will command sophistication only allowed for the Mother of the bride (or groom).

Rick Owen’s Metallic Jersey Gown

Loosely cut with over-the-knee side slits and padded shoulders this gray-green metallic gown will shimmer Mom’s statuesque qualities without alluding to her relaxed waistline.

Remember, women come in all shapes and sizes and we are all equally beautiful regardless of age. Strut your stuff, beautiful, and have a great time at the wedding and we’ll see you in the next blog!

Deb Fries is a freelance writer and designer who worked at Julianna Rae in Graphics and Customer Service.  She now writes for the blog at