7 Must-Know Dress Shopping Tips for the Mother of the Bride

Sure, it might not be as complicated as shopping for a wedding dress, but finding the right mother-of-the-bride dress is no easy task. There are a few things moms need to keep in mind on their own dress hunt.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Elizabeth Messina

Consult the bride

Ask your daughter what vision she has for her wedding so you can shop accordingly—is she going for a boho feel or a black-tie dress code? Christy Baird, founder and creative director of San Francisco bridal salon, LOHO Bride says, "Check out your daughter's Pinterest board in advance and shop with her vision in mind." Picking out your MOB-dress is a wedding activity you and your daughter is a fun way to bond, too. Colette Lopez, owner of Santa Barbara wedding event company, La Fete Weddings, says, "Make her a part of your shopping experience. Invite her to come along with you, or send her pictures if you're long distance."

Set a budget

"There are so many beautiful options out there across every price range, budget should not be a stressful part of your thought process," Baird says. Also, take into consideration the mother of the groom's budget. "It is important to be sensitive to not overspend on your gown, especially if the groom's side cannot afford an elaborate or expensive dress," Lopez says.

Choose a dress early on

Traditionally, the mother of the bride picks her dress before the mother of the groom. Once you buy your dress, kindly let the MOG know—or ask the bride to tell the groom to tell his mom … It doesn't matter how the message gets to the MOG, it just needs to get there so she can start shopping for something that's just as special as your look.

Keep the color palette in mind

If the wedding colors are pink and ivory, you should probably rule out a royal blue dress. "It is important that the photos and the overall style and color blends nicely with the bridesmaids and other members of the wedding party," Lopez says. Just as you wouldn't wear white to upstage the bride, straying from the bride and groom's color palette is also an etiquette don't.

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Consider the location

The mother-of-the-bride dress should complement the venue's vibe. "Whether the wedding is in a garden at a private estate, in a ballroom at a resort, or even barefoot on the beach—this will dictate the style that the mother of the bride should wear," Lopez says. Your dress for a 5 p.m. ceremony at a church would call for a more formal dress than a 2 p.m. ceremony at a vineyard.

Don't forget about undergarments 

What goes underneath your dress is just as important as the gown itself! "They can smooth your body out, be used as a slip, and most importantly, they'll make you feel confident as you take photos that you'll be looking back on for the rest of your life," Baird explains.

Make sure you're comfortable

Comfort is key. "Continue to search until you find the right dress that you can stand in, sit in, and dance in," Lopez says. No matter how gorgeous a dress is, the last thing you want to be doing on your daughter's big day is fidgeting with your dress.

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