10 Stylish Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dresses

Whether you’re walking down the aisle or supporting the newlyweds from the sidelines, weddings are some of most anticipated and rewarding celebrations you’ll attend all year. Though romance supersedes fashion, what you’ll wear to the upcoming nuptials has probably crossed your mind.

There are tons of articles showcasing the best dresses for brides and bridesmaids. Some experts even weigh in on what guests should wear. But what about the mother of the bride or groom? That’s where we come in. Below are 10 great options for every mother-in-law to be.

1. Tons of shimmer

Pizarro Nights beaded dress

Pizarro Nights dress | Nordstrom

Just because you’re not the one walking down the aisle doesn’t mean you can’t make a statement. This dress from Pisarro Nights will let you shine without taking any attention away from the bride. The modest neckline and semi-sheer sleeves are fashion-forward without looking too youthful, plus the hemline hits right above the ankle, which is incredibly flattering. Come the reception, the glitzy details will look right at home on the dance floor.

2. A pretty pattern

short sleeve dress from Tadashi Shoji

Tadashi Shoji gown | Lord & Taylor

Being the mother of the bride or groom comes with many responsibilities. Schmoozing in between dinner and the cake, and lending the bride something old or borrowed are two of them. Sartorially speaking, it’s your matrimonial duty to not wear a boring black dress. (But if you really want to, scroll down!) 

In its place, try this pretty gown from Tadashi Shoji. Perfect for formal ceremonies, the pastel color palette is a breath of fresh air that will complement the bride’s dress without competing with it.

3. Cute and casual

cute, short dress for a wedding

Adriana Papell dress | Bon-Ton

Not every wedding calls for an over-the-top, sparkly ball gown — and that’s OK. If you’re going to an afternoon wedding or casual evening reception, consider this option from Adrianna Papell. The tactile jacquard fabric gives this simple fit-n-flare silhouette a luxurious twist — plus the nipped waist and generous hemline is flattering on many body types. Best of all? It’s on sale, so you won’t have to dip into the wedding budget to look great.

4. Not-so basic black

Vince Camuto lace black dress

Vince Camuto gown | Nordstrom

Black is one of the most ubiquitous dress colors you could wear to a wedding, so if you’re going to sport it, you might as well make a splash. Enter this show-stopper by Vince Camuto. From the off-the-shoulder lace bodice, which we will admit is very on trend, to the flattering cinched waist, it’s the perfect way to look and feel special without leaving your comfort zone.

5. Ladylike lace

Vera Wang Dresss

Vera Wang dress | Lord & Taylor

Without a doubt, a wedding is the most romantic ceremony you’ll attend, so your outfit should follow suit. Vera Wang is one of the most formidable wedding dress designers out there, but she also has a knack for making gorgeous dresses for guests, too. The lace overlay on this dress will add a romantic touch to your outfit, not to mention the purple hue will stand out in pictures.

6. Blue crush

blue gown

David’s Bridal gown | David’s Bridal

Looking for an effortlessly stylish outfit? It simply doesn’t get better than this icy blue number from David’s Bridal. The draped neckline and beaded bodice add just the right amount of drama, plus you won’t have to add many more accessories to be the night’s best dressed. Simply add a pair of dangling earrings or a mirrored clutch, and you’re good to go.

7. Celebrity-inspired 

navy gown

Ralph Lauren gown | Lord & Taylor

When it comes to fashion, we’d be lying if we said Hollywood’s best-dressed celebrities weren’t a major source of inspiration. Though we can’t say we regularly wear fancy frocks, our favorite stars’ red carpet appearances serve as the perfect inspiration for when we do. Take Lupita Nyong’o, the actress who took home the Academy Award in 2014 for her heart-aching role in 12 Years A Slave and became a red carpet darling overnight. A newcomer to the star-studded scene, Nyong’o is best known for her statement-making red cape gown from Ralph Lauren. If you want to channel Nyong’o’s signature look, this navy iteration is perfect.

8. Pop of color

lace dress designed by Tadashi SHoji

Tadashi Shoji dress | BHLDN

Consider BHLDN your one-stop shop for all things bridal, whether it’s party favors, veils, or wedding dresses. Designed by Tadashi Shoji, the Lora dress is the perfect thing to wear to a beach wedding. Simple, short, yet packed with romantic lace, all you need is sandals and a great tan.

9. Low-key in lace

simple sheath from INC

INC dress | Macy’s

It doesn’t take an expert to know planning a wedding can be really stressful, which is why some couples scrap the whole fancy ceremony and elope. If your kid’s idea of walking down the aisle is heading to city hall, INC’s dress is perfect for the occasion. The lace overlay is just dressy enough to celebrate the special day. But if you add a blazer and some pumps, it’ll be appropriate for the office, too.

10. A pantsuit

grey pantsuit

Magbridal pantsuit | Magbridal

Brides are no longer required to wear a dress — or even white for that matter — so why should you? The good news is if you’re not a dress kind of gal, there are tons of stylish alternatives to choose from. Our favorite is a pantsuit: It’s strong, mature, and a fancier version of what you usually wear. Many mom-friendly pantsuits are adorned with sparkles and lace, but we love the simplicity of this option from Magbridal. Whether you sport the trousers to the office or wear the entire look to an upscale date night, you’re bound to get a lot of mileage out of this set.

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