mother-of-the-bride

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Best mother of the bride dresses for a 2022 wedding - plus advice on what NOT to wear

The mother of the bride needs to look the part at their child’s wedding

Wedding season is in full swing, and once the bride has chosen her wedding dress, it's time to turn your attention to the mother of the bride's dress. Traditionally, it has been said that the mother of the bride's outfit should complement the bridal party, and follow the same colour scheme.  

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However, some brides may not be following a theme, and may even allow their bridesmaids to choose their own dresses, in which case, those brides may be relaxed about the mother of the bride outfit too - although it is best to check in with the bride to be just in case. 

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While some mothers of the brides will go all out with a dress, a matching jacket to cover up, and a hat, others may prefer a trouser suit with a blazer for a little more coverage. The options are endless, but it is important to dress appropriately for the venue, but primarily, to feel comfortable and confident.

From John Lewis and M&S to Monsoon, Boden, Phase Eight, and many other retailers, we have found a variety of outfits for the mother of the bride this wedding season.

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What is the mother of the bride supposed to wear?

The mother of the bride’s outfit for a wedding is typically meant to be modest, co-ordinate with the bridal party, and, of course, not outshine the bride. 

Most commonly the mother of the bride will wear a mid-length dress, usually a full length of ¾ length design, although capped sleeves are also an option. 

Some mums may prefer to layer a blazer over the top, or shawl, if the wedding is in a religious setting, or for a spring or winter wedding when the temperature can drop, as well as a hat or fascinator. But it all depends on the bride, and what the mother of the bride is comfortable wearing. 

It is also extremely popular with some mother of the brides to wear a two-piece suit, instead of a dress, whether that is a trouser suit or skirt and jacket.

What is the most popular colour for the mother of the bride dress? 

The unspoken rule when it comes to weddings is not to wear white like the bride. So, with that in mind champagne hues, blush pinks and other pastel hues are favourable. 

Some brides wish for the entire bridal party, including the mother of the bride, to co-ordinate and follow the same colour scheme.  But for those who have thrown caution to the wind, bucked tradition and conventional wedding rules, why not try a floral print? 

Does the mother of the bride have to wear a hat?

In short, no, the mother of the bride does not have to wear a hat. Some who wish to stick with tradition may choose to wear a hat or opt for a fascinator for a more low key alternative, but it is not essential. 

What shouldn't the mother of the bride wear?

Ever the question. 

The mother of the bride plays a key role in being a huge support for the bride, groom, and father of the bride. But it is traditionally frowned upon if any guest wears white to a wedding, as that is only to be for the bride. While it is not a good idea to wear white to a wedding, it also isn't the best decision to dress too boldly to outshine the bride either. 

Some say it is not advisable to buy your dress too early, or too late, in case it doesn’t fit on the day, and mini dresses are often avoided when it comes to the mother of the bride. It is also important to get the footwear right, as you will be on your feet for the entire day, so opt against stiletto heels, and in favour of a chunkier heel, or wedge to add a little height. 

Best brands for mother of the bride dresses

M&S

M&S stocks a wide range of brands, which means there are numerous dress styles, cuts and colours to choose from.  

Looking for a classic mother of the bride dress? This Phase Eight dress in pale blue is your calling. 

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Phase Eight Dress, £140, M&S

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Monsoon

Monsoon is one of the go-to shopping destinations when it comes to occasionwear, including weddings, which they have a category for customers to shop curated items. 

While some may prefer short-sleeve designs or simplistic numbers, others may prefer an embellished design to pull out all the stops, and we think we have found the perfect mother of the bride dress. The Lily Dress is a flattering maxi length, with sheer blouson sleeves and sequin detail, which we think is super feminine.

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Jeannine Embellished Midi Dress, £300, Monsoon 

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Boden

Boden is a firm favourite brand with many shoppers, including Millie Mackintosh who wore the Mariam dress in September last year.

For those wanting a mother of the bride outfit, which is fun, spring and summer appropriate, and bang on trend, look no further.  From the short batwing sleeve, and the waist hem for a flattering silhouette, this is a simple but chic look.

Plus, it comes in plenty of colour options, from pillar box red to Bottega green, and many more to suit all complexions and style preferences. 

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Full Skirt Jersey Midi Dress, £110, Boden 

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Hobbs

Hobbs is another popular shopping destination when it comes to shopping for formal attire, and wedding ensembles, including mother of the bride dresses. 

For those looking for a more traditional mother of the bride look, this is ideal.  It also comes with a matching coat, which is sold separately and can be worn together with the matching dress. 

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Hobbs Cotton Blend Floral Knee Length Shift Dress, £249, M&S

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Ghost 

Ghost has you covered for all formal occasions, even workwear, and it is a brand Holly Willoughby often turns to when co-hosting ITV’s This Morning. 

For those who are looking to spend a pretty penny on a flattering, and sophisticated outfit, you have come to the right place. From satin designs, midi-length creations, two-piece sets, and much more, Ghost is the shopping destination to go to. 

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Maeve Dress, £159, Ghost 

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Coast

Coast is another firm favourite shopping destination for those wishing to buy expertly designed dresses, which are timeless, flattering and well made. 

While there are a whole host of designs for mothers of the bride to shop, the Lace Ruffle Shoulder Midi Dress is one of our personal favourites, as it offers a little more detail than other dresses. 

We love the lightweight fabric, and patterned detail layered over the navy blue colour of the dress, as well as the flowy cap sleeves, drop tiered hem at the bottom, and slight asymmetric hem, all of which create the highly sought after hourglass figure. 

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Lace Ruffle Shoulder Midi Dress, £135.20, Coast 

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Gina Bacconi

Similar to M&S, John Lewis also stocks a variety of fashion brands, however, some labels are only available to shop at the department store online, and Gina Bacconi is one of them. 

Gina Bacconi offers a selection of creations perfect for those shopping for mother of the bride dresses, but the 'Leanne' dress stopped us in our tracks. 

The soft blush pink tone is perfect for spring and summer weddings. It has subtle details, which we adore; from the sleek pencil cut to the pretty pink overlay. It gets our approval.

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Gina Bacconi 'Leanne' Sequin Midi Lace Dress in Rose, £250, John Lewis

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Suzannah

Suzannah London is a British brand Kate Middleton has worn for numerous royal engagements. For a visit to Galway, Ireland, in 2020, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a green dress with white polka dots, but she has also been styled in other designs from the label. 

For those wanting to channel their inner royal - after all, you are the matriarch of the family - Suzannah is the place to shop. 

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Silk Crepe 1940s Influence Dress, £1,750, Suzannah London 

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Debenhams

Debenhams has a dedicated wedding department with a category for every wedding guest, from bridal outfits to a mother of the bride section specifically curated to include the best designs for everyone, which makes shopping for your next ceremony a breeze. 

For the mother of the brides looking for an outfit which is summery but stylish and still comfortable, Yumi's botanical print gypsy dress is the answer.

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Yumi Botanical Bird Print Gyspy Dress, £55, Debenhams

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J.D.Williams

J.D.Williams often goes under the radar when it comes to shopping for clothes and occasionwear, but they house a variety of brands. 

Amanda Holden and Davina McCall have collaborated with the online department store, so it is a shopping destination to have on your radar. 

For those wanting something a little different to the classic mother of the bride dress, but not quite after a two-piece, perhaps a jumpsuit may be the solution.

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Joanna Hope Lace Tie Waist Jumpsuit, £120, J.D.Williams

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Freemans

Freemans appears to be the go-to shopping destination for mother of the bride outfits, and we can’t complain with the vast array of designs on offer to shoppers. 

One item that has piqued our interest is the Jacquard Dress and Jacket combo, which is not only stylish but a traditional outfit attire for the mother of the bride.  It is also super affordable and takes the stress out of finding a blazer, or bolero, to wear over your dress while in church - all you need is a pair of shoes and off you go.

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Kaleidoscope Jacquard Dress and Jacket, £169, Freemans

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Self Portrait

One personal favourite for stunning occasionwear pieces is Self Portrait and none other than Kate Middleton is also a big fan of the brand.

Not only does it have the royal seal of approval, this dress has been crafted in the label's signature romantic guipure lace. It's mapped with dainty florals and intersected by a waist-defining grosgrain band.

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Self Portrait Grosgrain-Trimmed Guipure Lace Midi Dress, £360, Net-a-Porter

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Ambrose Wilson 

Whether you have a spring, summer, or abroad ceremony in the pipeline, you most likely will want something lightweight, floaty, and colourful without being OTT, and we have found just the thing. 

The Joanna Hope Wrap Skirt Dress comes in sizes 10 to 32, so there is something stylish for everyone.

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Joanna Hope Wrap Skirt Dress, £95, Ambrose Wilson

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Halpern

For mother of the brides looking to blow the budget on your outfit for that special day, Net-a-Porter should be on the cards, as it stocks a selection of high-end designer brands. 

For those looking to go all out, Halpern's Silk-Satin Dress is the ticket, and it's sold exclusively online at Net-A-Porter. 

From the jewel tone of the emerald green to the silk fabric and tie detail on the arms, this dress has everything we could wish for in a sophisticated statement piece. 

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Halpern Silk-Satin Dress, £985, Net-A-Porter

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Light In A Box

Light In a Box may not be the most well known shopping destination for mother of the bride outfits, but you will be surprised at the selection. Looking for something to be tailored to you, and unique, but still formal and wedding appropriate? Light In A Box has you covered. 

In particular, the Jumpsuit, which resembles a two-piece trouser suit is a must, as it comes with the jumpsuit, as well as a coat to layer on top. 

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Jumpsuit Mother of the Bride, £123, Light In A Box 

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MORE: 20 best wedding guest outfit ideas: From incredible dresses to chic jumpsuits

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