Tips for Finding Mother of the Bride Outfits

Dear Budget Fashionista:

I am a stylish soon to be mother-of-the-bride. I have been searching for something stylish, but all the dresses I’ve seen are for unfashionable ! What are some tips to help me find a hip mother of the bride dress without spending a fortune?

Answer:
Just because your kid is getting married, that doesn’t mean you need to look like Whistler’s Mother (you know the famous painting of the mom in the rocking chair). You can and should be as fashionable as you can be- you will be seeing folks that you haven’t seen in years (including that one annoying cousin), so we put together a several mother of the bride options for the big day.

How to Find Mother of the Bride Dress

1. Shop Early – Since most weddings are planned well in advance of the actual date, moms of the bride should take advantage of the end of season clearance specials and discontinued dresses that are often offered for way less than you will find anywhere else.
2. Think of the Future – In most cases, wedding attire for the wedding party and parents of the bride and groom are bought simply for that one occasion. When shopping for a dress, consider a basic style that will be suitable for other occasions post-wedding. While you may be extending your budget a bit for the wedding, you could end up saving yourself top dollar down the road by having a nice, formal dress for other occasions. Skip beads and sparklers and go for basic but beautiful.

Mother of the Bride suit

3. Think outside of the box. Unless it’s a formal wedding, leaving the sequins at home. Try a different option like a nice pant suit. Bluefly has some classy evening suits by designers like Valentino and Escada, on sale.
4. Think Outside of the Wedding Store – Interestingly, you can often find dresses that are very similar to those found in a wedding shop but cost way less if they are bought in a non-wedding store. Try a nice, dressy pants suit from a store like Ann Taylor or check out the clearance racks of your local Macy’s or Dillards for suits from brands like Tahari. Seems that putting the word “wedding” in front of another word, raises the price. Instead of shopping for mother of the bride gowns, try looking for shops that carry evening wear, cocktail dresses, or formal wear.
5. Get it made. This is great option if you know someone who can really sew. Also, try calling your local fashion design school and get your dress designed by an up and coming designer.
6. Bring your daughter or daughter-in-law. In an effort to be hip, make sure you are following the style that your daughter has set for the wedding.

Mother of the Bride Style
7. Avoid White. Unless it’s a white themed wedding, avoid the color white. However colors like gray, beige, etc are great options for dress colors.
8. Expand Your Territory – Even if you live in the smallest town, the internet brings nationwide shopping right to your doorstep. Browse styles, colors, and designers online at different locations to compare prices. Many times there will be discounts available only to online shoppers. If you find something you love, go first to a dress store where you can have precise measurements taken before ordering. Also, it may be wise to have an alteration specialist on hand in the event you need some additional touch ups to the dress. Do not order online if you are in a hurry for a dress.
9. Go Consignment – Consignment shops are a great place to find an affordable mother of the bride dress. Shops typically are very particular about the merchandise they resell and since many mother dresses are only worn once, you can often find a basically brand new dress for a considerably less price.
10. Budget Borrowing – If you find yourself in a situation where you have a non-existent budget when it comes to a mother of the bride gown, perhaps there is a relative or friend that would be happy to lend you their own dress. But make sure they’re a distance the relative or didn’t wear the outfit to a wedding where they were photographed. You can also try online rental sites like RentTheRunway.com, that allow you to rent your dress/outfit for less than $50.

 

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Comments

  1. Lesley Chaffey says

    I am the mother of the groom who lives in London while I live in Yorkshire I love my future daughter in law but do not quite know what I am suposed to wear. Do not do formal but would like to make a statement this time I need to wear something that is long floaty and would like skirt top and jacket am young at heart dont want to be frumpy. also would like to wer a big hat as I love hats can you help me

  2. Margaret says

    Good advice on the dress – any advice on colors to consider? Pastels, jewel tones? he bride is wearing ivory – pretty formal.

    Any info is helpful!

  3. Nadine says

    To wedding mothers on both side of the “pond”:  Try Alfred Angelo.  Forget the “Mother of the Bride” stuff.  Check out the combinations and dresses for the bridesmaids.  You have a lot of color choices, hem lengths, prices, plus you can re-use the dress for another semi- or formal event at a later (or earlier!) date. 

    When my friend got married, both mothers, the best woman, and the matron of honor all got dresses from this company using the wedding colors.  They even have dresses for pregnant women!

  4. Debbie says

    Try catalogs like Barrie Pace. Ive been mom of brde 3 times in the last six years-first daughter’s wedding I wore a short dress w/matching coat jacket(liz Claiborne) in a silk fabric in blush pink (daytime/bridesmaids in lt.blue)
    2nd daughter’s wedding I wore a (Barrie Pace)fitted silk 2 piece dress with column skirt (nighttime outdoor wedding/bridesmaids in victorian lilac)
    3rd daughter’s wedding I wore chiffon halter in tangerine-very soft color-not bright (Da Vinci bridemaids) and had extra fabric ordered to make a shrug jacket (afternoon/evening/bridemaids in alfred angelo coral)
    Yes-most MOB dresses are awful-either you’re the dowager or the over sparkled barfly

  5. Debbie says

    Try catalogs like Barrie Pace. Ive been mom of brde 3 times in the last six years-first daughter’s wedding I wore a short dress w/matching coat jacket(liz Claiborne) in a silk fabric in blush pink (daytime/bridesmaids in lt.blue)
    2nd daughter’s wedding I wore a mocha (Barrie Pace)fitted silk 2 piece dress with column skirt (nighttime outdoor wedding/bridesmaids in victorian lilac)
    3rd daughter’s wedding I wore chiffon halter in tangerine-very soft color-not bright (Da Vinci bridemaids) and had extra fabric ordered to make a shrug jacket (afternoon/evening/bridemaids in alfred angelo coral)
    Yes-most MOB dresses are awful-either you’re the dowager or the over sparkled barfly

  6. Linda LeClair says

    Hi Everyone,
    I am soon to be 60 and my daughter is getting married in Oct. 2008.  Wonderful, exciting, we have the ceremony, reception, etc. booked.  All is well.
    I just have one little question….I am 5’3”…135 lbs….as I mentioned…60.  I cannot believe the “mother of the bride” dresses I am finding!  I want a gorgeous suit, skirt length just at the knee, a little lace would be great. My daughter thought pink for me, her color scheme is cream and cranberry. 
    Is there any such place to go look for such a suit??  I don’t care about the cost.

  7. anwallette says

    Hello Budget Fashionista – I am getting married in the fall and I absolutely LOVE the suit that is featured on this page.  I think that it would look amazing on my mom.  I was wondering where I would be able to find it.  Preferably in Ontario Canada. 

    Thanks so much!

  8. anwallette says

    Get it made!  I found a suit that is perfect to my mom’s figure and what she would wear.  She looks wonderful in a very elegant pant suit.  The price for the suit online was over 2 grand….so she brought a colour picture to the dressmaker who is making her an exact copy for 300.

  9. judy says

    I’m with Susan, I LoVE that pink pant suit and I would love to wear it to my stepson’s outdoor wedding this summer PLEASE HELP!

  10. nene says

    ok so it has been a while since I have been on your site, and wow I am a little suprised that you mentioned the site stylebug.com. i went on there to check it out…..not very “budget minded” Im afraid, in fact scrolled through 2 pages and found nothing under 300 what happened im so sad, i could always rely on this site to find great deals for the budget fashionista……

  11. Hallie R. says

    The important thing to remember to avoid the frump factor with separates is to make sure there’s some structure somewhere. Soft and flowy can be okay, but it’s the flowing skirt AND jacket that makes a traditional (read: bad) ensemble. A structured, pencil-style skirt could be paired with a softer top, or a structured jacket with an a-line skirt. The shoe can be important too – a chunky heel will date any look. If you need more support, look at Sofft’s dress shoes – vintage without being heavy.

    For my wedding, my mom found a cute, at-the-knee Jessica McClintock dress with a matching bolero. For my brother’s, I found her a Donna Rico dress in a summery berry red. She looked amazing both times, and has worn the Donna Rico dress since.

  12. Ruth says

    My daughter wants to get married in Pink, I know that the mother of the bride should never show the bride up, traditionally what would be the safest colour for me, as mother of the bride to wear? I am 45 years old so I don’t want to wear something that an older mother would be wearing, but I do prefer a long dress to short

  13. Hallie R. says

    Ruth – if you’re daughter’s getting married in pink, consider wearing a gown in coral or green. Traditionally, the only colors to avoid are white, ivory (to the point that it draws attention away from the bride), or black (unless it’s a black and white wedding). Consider what the attendants are wearing so you’re not clashing or fighting but rather complementing.

    But it should also be a color that looks good on YOU. If you don’t look good in that color, it won’t be flattering in the pictures. Happy dress hunting!

  14. Jan says

    My daughter is getting married outside in our yard in a couple of months. it is going ot be a do it yourself event, so a hectic day. I am quite overweight so I want to be comfortable but also look really nice. I picked out black mid calf capri pants and I have spent I don’t know how many hours shopping in stores and online for a nice fun and fancy top to go with them. I like the styles of some of the seperates at david’s bridal but the material is horrible. Any ideas on place to find a young and fun top. Something that doesn’t look like a 60 year old would wear or a maternity shirt! Even though I am overweight I do have curves and would like something that shows those. I am thinking of a jewel tone purple, teal or pink for the color

  15. TBF says

    hey guys the suit is from Lord &Taylor (online : http://www.lordandtaylor.com), but it is sold out :(.

    However check nordstrom.com and dillards.com for similar stylish suits. We’re also putting together a Style in Pictures featuring over 30 great mother of the bride outfits/dresses on a budget

  16. says

    I think it is a great idea to wear a pant suit. It is so comfortable and elegant and you can wear it to basically any event. You do not always have to wear a dress and that is what some people just don not understand. If you have the perfect outfit and it is a pant suit, wear it with pride.

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