Wedding Etiquette and Buying the Mother of the Bride Dress

bridesmaids dresses - wedding etiquette advice

If you’re like a lot of brides, you probably thought you’d be the one calling your mom to ask her the questions… and then it came time for mom to buy her Mother of the Bride dress. Suddenly, your cell is ringing off the hook because she has questions about colors. Styles. What your fiance’s mom is wearing! It’ll drive you bonkers if you let it, but remember that she’s only asking so many questions because she wants you to love her dress as much as she loves yours. Sweet, right?

Here are our tips for buying a mother of the bride dress that you can share with your mom as she she shops for the perfect one:

1. While it is important to allow your mother and future mother-in-law to pick a style they both feel comfortable in, what they choose needs to at the very least be appropriate. And you get to choose what that means (e.g., no strapless, no plunging necklines, no mini dresses, etc.).

2. Tradition holds that the mother of the bride chooses her dress first, followed by the mother of the groom. Their dresses should complement each other, as well as the bridal party. That’s so they’ll look their best in posed photos.

3. Having one mother in a floor length dress and another in a cocktail length skirt is a major no-no. Likewise, your mother wearing an orange dress next to your bridesmaid’s light green ensembles is bound to make your wedding pictures look kind of gross.

4. While the moms shouldn’t be wearing the exact same style and color a la matching bridesmaids dresses, their dresses should coordinate.

5. Generally, at formal weddings, your mother and mother-in-law should be in floor or tea-length dresses. Semi-formal or informal weddings allow them to get more creative with the length, but they still need to make sure they are complementing one another.

6. Unless your bridesmaids will be wearing black, a mother of the bride or groom should avoid this color. Until recently, black at weddings was considered a social blunder and many guests will still look at the color choice with suspicion. Are they like, mourning, or something?

7. Don’t forget to finish the look with a matching corsage or a small bouquet to honor your moms and ensure they feel special on your big day!