finding the perfect mother of the bride dress!

mother of the bride and wedding guest dress
I’m the luckiest mother of the bride ever, to have Krista as my personal stylist! She helped me find my dress and I love it!

Ever since my two daughters were born, I’ve dreamed of their weddings and being a mother of the bride! It’s truly one of the greatest blessings of my life to be a mom. To fulfill this special role at their wedding is the honor of a lifetime! I knew that whenever that special day arrived, I wanted to look and feel my very best! Next to helping my daughter find her wedding dress, finding the perfect mother of the bride dress was at the top of my wedding planning checklist!

Along the way, I discovered some tips for choosing a mother of the bride dress–I hope they can help you too!

family wedding photo
My husband Todd & I with our two daughters: Sadie as maid of honor, and Lily the beautiful bride with our new son-in-law, Hunter!

mother of the bride dress tips:

  1. Start early!
    • I’m a bit weird, but the second I get an invite for anything I immediately begin to think about my outfit! That’s extreme, but as mother of the bride, it’s crucial to start the search process early. As soon as the wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, and wedding colors are finalized, that’s your signal to get going. Once you know those things, it will help inform the style and color for your dress. I would also suggest checking with the mother of the groom to see what she’s thinking. It’s a nice touch, although not required, to coordinate so your looks complement each other. Ideally, begin your search at least six months before the wedding. This will allow additional time for alterations and finding accessories.
    • With only four months to find a mother of the bride dress, I immediately began an online search. Once I had narrowed it down to a few favorites, I ordered each dress in a couple of sizes. Depending on the time of year, special occasion dresses can sell out quickly due to holidays, prom, and weddings! By ordering right away in multiple sizes, I eliminated the stress of having my favorite dress not being available.
  2. Think style!
    • The location, venue, season, and time of day will affect the style of dress you choose, but keep in mind your style is your individual statement. A mother of the bride dress should not only fit the wedding vibe (and your daughter’s wishes!), but also your own style personality!
    • The vision for my mother of the bride dress became clear once I knew the where & when of the wedding. My daughter & her fiancĂ© chose a beautiful outdoor venue in Redlands, California for their January 2nd wedding. With the holiday season timing and the selection of burgundy for the bridesmaid dresses, gold seemed like a sophisticated, festive and complementary color for my dress. The late afternoon/evening time frame meant I could consider a more formal look, such as a long dress. Since the venue was fairly casual, however, I needed to keep it from being too fancy. With all of these elements in mind, a gold dress with a touch of glitter became my mother of the bride dress vision, striking a balance between not matching the bridesmaid dresses but also wearing a step above a wedding guest dress.
  3. No stone unturned!
    • Narrowing down dress details such as style, color, length, etc. can help your search tremendously! For online shopping, it speeds up your search considerably when you type in keywords like “long gold dress” or filter by color and skirt length. Step outside of your usual shopping sites and consider other options, making sure they have good return policies and streamlined shipping. I also highly suggest doing some in-store shopping to get an idea of what style and colors you like. Take someone with you who will give honest feedback. Trying on a bunch of dresses can be very informative about what works best on your body!
    • I honestly don’t remember if I tried on any dresses in-store, but I would still recommend it! I think because it was during Covid and store selection was limited, I went straight to searching online. In the beginning, I looked at other colors and even patterns like florals, being open to all possibilities. When a dress struck my eye, I made a note of the designer or brand, then did a deeper dive into that brand’s own website to see their entire collection. For example, I’d see a Ted Baker dress I loved on the Nordstrom website, then look at the entire Ted Baker collection on tedbaker.com. Krista found my Halston dress on the Bloomingdale’s website–both a brand and store I had never tried!
  4. Set your price!
    • A mother of the bride dress should be special and amazing, which usually means it will cost more than your average wedding guest dress. Budget more for this purchase, but also set a price range that you’re comfortable with. Don’t let spending too much steal any joy! Set a price filter on your search and limit yourself to only trying on dresses that are within your budget.
    • I had a price tag in mind for my mother of the bride dress, and I’m happy to say I came in under budget! I actually found my dress $100 cheaper after I’d already bought it, so I returned the first one and ordered the one on sale. For $100, it was worth the extra hassle! Keep an eye on sales, but also return policies. It would be awful to score a good deal but then discover you can’t return the full-price dress due to a past-due return window.
  5. Feel beautiful, be comfortable!
    • The last thing you want to be thinking about as a mother of the bride on your daughter’s wedding day is YOURSELF. It’s important to feel so confident in your appearance that you hardly give it a second thought! Choose a dress that fits your taste, flatters your figure, isn’t too tight or revealing, and hits the right tone of the wedding day. Trust me, if you do these things, you will be GOLDEN.
    • Probably the biggest goal for my mother of the bride dress was that it would be DIFFERENT. I wanted something that didn’t feel “typical”, ideally a dress in an interesting fabric with a modern design. I have a pear shape (I guess it’s now called a triangle…that sounds nicer!), so I tried to find a top with more volume that would bring balance and create a desired column effect. Krista found my halter neck style dress and it checked every single box! The material was glittery but not flashy, the style was modern yet still classic, the fit was flattering but modest with great coverage, and the dress felt special but not too overdone.

dress found!

mother and father of the bride
I will never forget this moment! Such an exciting & happy day!

My gold dress is still available (at half price!)–amazing! I’ve also found some other gold dresses I love:

After all my searching, where’s the best place to find mother of the bride dresses? Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop, BHLDN, and also consider rental sites such as Rent the Runway!

Lucky me, I had Krista to help streamline my search and talk through the elements of the perfect mother of the bride dress. Krista has helped several moms find dresses they love for their son or daughter’s wedding. She has a gift! Hopefully these tips can be a little like having a “Krista” there with you, helping you find the vision for your mother of the bride (or groom!) dress!

xoxo Julie

mother of the groom and wedding guest dress
Krista has such a knack for finding the perfect mother of the bride or mother of the groom dresses! Here she is with another happy mom, her college bestie Karin, who she has successfully helped find two mother of the groom dresses for the weddings of her sons!

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