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Best mother of the bride dresses for a 2023 wedding - plus advice on what NOT to wear

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

mother of the bride

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.

WATCH: The royals' most stylish wedding guest outfits of all time

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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MORE: 26 amazing outfit ideas for the hen do in your diary

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.

mother of the bride

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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 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 pink is your calling.

Phase Eight pink dress

Phase Eight Dress, £170, M&S



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.

monsoon dress

S.E.W Sustainable Francesca embroidered midi dress blue, £160, Monsoon



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 timeless black and white design, to the flattering three-quarter-length sleeves, this is a simple but chic look.

black and white boden dress

Black and White Jersey Dress, £70, Boden


BE INSPIRED: The best royal mother-of-the-bride outfits


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

For those looking for a more traditional and classic mother of the bride look, this is ideal. The pale pink shade works to compliment any skin tone, while the timeless silhouette and cinched waist detail ensures the dress is both flattering and comfortable.

Pale pink hobbs dress

Hobbs Crew Neck Midi Waisted Dress, £179, M&S


Karen Millen

With its own mother-of-the-bride edit, Karen Millen has you covered no matter what your style preference – we're talking everything from Bardot necklines, A-line styles, bold colours and more. 

This lace pleated midi dress is a particularly standout piece, and is the perfect pick for any special occasion.

Karen Millen lace floral midi dress

Metallic Guipure Lace Placed Floral Pleat Midi Dress, was £359 now £287.20, Karen Millen



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.

Silk ghost navy midi dress

Meryl Satin Midi Dress, £59, Ghost



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.

Coast ruffle dress

Lace Ruffle Shoulder Midi Dress, Was £135.20 now £42, Coast


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 'Maribel' 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.

John lewis pink lace midi dress

Gina Bacconi 'Maribel' Lace Midi Lace Dress in Rose, £240, John Lewis


Needle & Thread

If you're looking for that something special, you can't go wrong with Needle & Thread. Romantic ruffles and eye-catching embellishments in pastel pinks, bright reds and muted blues are all on offer for the glam mothers out there.

We love this deep red gown that comes with your choice of floor-length or short skirt – both scallop embroidery and flutter sleeves. 

needle and thread dress

Red tulle gown, £545, Needle & Thread



Reiss is a failsafe option when it comes to sophisticated occasionwear. Favoured by the likes of Kate Middleton, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the brand is a firm royal favourite.

So for those mother in laws wanting to channel their inner royal, Reiss is the place to shop.

Coral Reiss dress

Eleni Cap Sleeve Maxi Dress, £228, Reiss



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.

Floral debenhams dress

Yumi Botanical Bird Print Gyspy Dress, £60, Debenhams



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.

J.D Williams Navy jumpsuit

Joanna Hope Lace Tie Waist Jumpsuit, £78 (WAS £130), J.D.Williams



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.

dress pink jacket

Kaleidoscope Jacquard Dress and Jacket, £89 (WAS £169), Freemans


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.

green lace self portrait dress

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


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.

Joanna Hope pink floral dress

Joanna Hope Wrap Skirt Dress, £127.50 (WAS £180), Joanna Hope Print Dress and Shrug



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, Zimmerman's Silk midi Dress is the winning ticket.

From the gentle tone of the rose pink to the silk fabric and arm detailing, this dress has everything we could wish for in a sophisticated statement piece.

Zimmerman pink wrap dress

Zimmerman Silk Midi Wrap Dress, £575, Net-A-Porter


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.

LightI In The Box mother of the bride

Jumpsuit Mother of the Bride, £130.89, Light In A Box



Rixo is the perfect choice for a wedding thanks to the brand's use of lightweight silk and figure-flattering silhouettes.

The 'Pia floral midi dress' will ensure you stand out in the photographs, plus the loose sleeves and sweetheart neckline are ultra flattering.

Floral rixo midi dress

Rixo Pia floral midi dress, £285, MyTheresa


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

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