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Mother of the Bride: Tips for Your MOB Dress

May 24, 2022
Wedding Photo 1
The beautiful bride and me before the wedding ceremony. (Photo credit: Los Garcias)

My daughter Abigail married her handsome husband less than two weeks ago. It was an amazingly lovely day, and the bride looked stunning. But my husband still told me the same thing he frequently whispers into my ear, that I was the most beautiful woman in the room. Of course that always makes me blush, and James has had to patiently repeat himself over and over and over again for over 30 years for me to finally believe that he means it. And truly, on that special day I did feel like a million bucks. And that’s why I thought I’d share a few mother of the bride dress tips with you today.

Bride and Her Attendants and Mother
Abigail surrounded by her attendants and me as we prayed over her before the ceremony. (Photo credit: Los Garcias)

The rest of the photos I’m sharing with you today (except the very last one) were not taken at the wedding. James and I both put away our phones and he did not carry his camera that day. We wanted to fully engage in the whirlwind celebration and invest in our family and friends who had gathered to share it with us. So we snapped these photos at a nearby office park before James took our wedding clothes to the cleaners the next day. My makeup does not look the same as it did that day either. More on that later.

Mother of the Bride Dress Shopping Tips
Adrianna Papell brocade ball gown (same gown in pale peach multi) // tennis bracelet // similar clutch // similar hinge bracelet // similar shoes // earrings (also in clip-ons) // similar handkerchief (mine is from my own wedding)

Tip #1 – Don’t shop for your MOB dress too soon.

The bride absolutely needs to start wedding dress shopping as early as possible, preferably at least 6 months out if she plans to order a gown and possibly have alterations. But mother of the bride dresses are more seasonal and you’ll do best to shop for your dress closer to the date of the wedding. Since Abigail’s wedding was in the middle of May, I wanted a gown that looked festive and elegant, but also very springlike. I didn’t really begin seeing spring dresses until March, and I saw more in April, which is when I purchased my dress.

Mother of the Bride Dress Shopping Tips

You should still have plenty of time for alterations if you have your dress in hand at least four weeks before the wedding. I used a local alterations shop and it only took one week for them to hem my skirt and two attached slips.

Tip #2 – Consider the time of the ceremony and reception.

I wanted to wear a long dress for Abigail’s wedding, but since it was a daytime wedding (ceremony at 2:30 and reception ending at 6:30), I preferred for the dress not to have sequins or beading. That was just a personal preference, but I knew I would feel more confident in a dress that fit the time of day. I had a friend who rightly encouraged to wear whatever made me happy since it was a once in a lifetime event. But I do think there’s something to be said for wearing a dress that fits the time of day and venue.

Mother of the Bride Attire

Tip #3 – The mother of the bride does not need to worry about wearing the colors of the wedding.

As it turned out my dress did indeed beautifully reflect the colors Abigail had chosen for her bridesmaids to wear: dusky blue, sage green and forest green. But that was just because I happened to find the dress I loved in those colors. I also looked at pink, blush, gold and navy dresses. In fact, I’ve noticed lots of beautiful mothers of the bride wearing gold or champagne dresses.

Mother of the Bride Attire

Sure enough, other than the photo above where I’m praying with the bridesmaids over Abigail, I don’t think I’m in any photographs with the attendants. The mother of the bride is mostly in photos with just the couple, just the bride or other family members. So wear the color that makes you happy and helps you feel beautiful.

Tip #4 – Look for a silhouette that feels authentic to your style and helps you feel comfortable.

Mother of the Bride Attire

The first dress I purchased was a form fitting long dress with off the shoulder straps. It was an absolutely gorgeous dress. But I never for one minute felt comfortable in it, and I was dreading wearing it. If I’d not come across this sleeveless Adrianna Papell brocade ball gown just weeks before the wedding, I would have worn the other dress and probably would have enjoyed it just fine. But I was actually excited about putting this one on. That’s how you want to feel on this special day. Enthusiastic about getting dressed for the day!

Tip #5 – Select festive but comfortable footwear before your dress fitting for alterations.

Mother of the Bride Attire

I wore the same gold strappy sandals I’d worn in my son’s wedding two and a half years ago, but these Vince Camuto sandals are very similar. I do fine in high heels, but if you would be more comfortable in lower heels or even flats, go that route. Just make sure you have the shoes you’ll be wearing in time to try on your dress for alterations.

Tip #6 – If you have the opportunity to have your makeup done professionally for the big day, do it.

Mother of the Bride Attire

Like I said, in the photo just above I’ve done my own makeup for a photo shoot. That’s the same photo shoot in which we shot some summer work outfits for an upcoming post, so I wasn’t really focusing on creating a soft, wedding day look. Regardless, I’m not sure I would have been able to do my makeup as well as the makeup artist did on the wedding day. Truthfully, I had been hesitant about having her do my makeup. Would this young woman be able to work with my more mature face and all its age-related issues? But of course she’d worked with many other mothers of the bride, so she did a beautiful job. Plus she was able to apply perfectly the false eyelashes that I generally struggle to get just right.

Tip #7 – Make sure you have the undergarments you need for your particular gown.

Because my dress was not form fitting, I was able to enjoy wearing minimal shapewear. I wore these Spanx Skinny Britches Mid-Thigh Shorts, which really just helped prevent chafing. I wear these with all of my casual summer dresses. But if you have a form fitting dress you might prefer something like these Thinstincts® 2.0 High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Shorts or even the Thinstincts® 2.0 Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit. And for the ultimate in body sculpting I can recommend the OnCore High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short or the OnCore Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit.

Mother of the Bride Attire

I did wear a strapless bra under my dress on the wedding day. You can see my regular bra poking through the arm holes in the photo above, which I took during our recent photo shoot. This is why I suggest you make sure you have the appropriate undergarments packed in a “wedding day satchel” well in advance. I packed everything I’d need for the day in this pretty pink duffle bag.

Tip #8 – Carry a pretty handkerchief for the day. You’ll need it!

I actually carried the handkerchief that my mother had made for me to use on my own wedding day. It has mine and my husband’s name and our wedding date in filet crochet surrounded by beautiful, lush lace. I can’t find anything like it 34 years later. But I suggest checking out Etsy for some beautiful options if you’d like something special for the your daughter’s and beyond. I think these and these are lovely. My dress had pockets so I actually ended up leaving my beautiful clutch (similar) in the bride’s room and just carrying my reading glasses and handkerchief in my deep pockets. Abigail actually carried a pretty handkerchief with her bouquet, too, just as I had done.

Wedding Couple
Abigail and Andrew just after they’d said, “I do.”

My final tip is simply to enjoy the day. Do whatever it takes to fully engage in this momentous occasion. Put your phone away, hire a wedding coordinator if possible (ours was well worth the cost!), enlist friends to help with day-of details and love on the people who love you. We had the most glorious day and we loved every minute of it. That’s not to say we didn’t have our share of snafus and delays. But rolled with those punches and rejoiced in the goodness of God as we celebrated with our family and friends.

Family Photo with the Bride
Family photo before the wedding: my husband James, Abigail, myself and our son Daniel (his wife was unable to attend) (Photo credit: Los Garcias)

Shop the Post

I’ve included items from my own attire as well as other options in the shopping widget below. You’ll also find a large selection of Adrianna Papell dresses there. These and the other links are affiliate links. If you shop through them I potentially earn a commission on your purchases, but at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work here through shopping my links. I appreciate you.

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Blessed for My Day

When we celebrate with someone we honor them. We deliberately put the spotlight on them and enjoy seeing them there. We acknowledge the good thing that God has blessed them with – whether that be a talent, an accomplishment, a life event or a relationship – and we give our hearty approval. We smile upon their “good fortune” and concur that “it is good.”

But we don’t have to wait for such a momentous occasion as a wedding or a new baby to celebrate with our loved ones. We can celebrate the goodness of God in someone’s life through a simple card in the mail or a congratulatory text. We could treat her to coffee or lunch, make him a special dessert or deliver a bouquet of flowers from our garden…for even the smallest celebration. How can you join someone today in celebrating the blessings of God in their life? By doing so you may be the very reminder they need of how much God has truly blessed them. Really, when all is said and done, it’s the people we celebrate with that makes such an event so special. You could be the icing on the cake!

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~ Romans 12:10

xoxo, Kay
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44 thoughts on “Mother of the Bride: Tips for Your MOB Dress

  1. Your dress is so lovely, and you looked beautiful in it. I am glad you didn’t “settle”. My daughter was married 21 years ago and I remember having such a hard time finding my dress. I am petite and really needed a petite dress, which was even harder to find than it is now. But I drove up to the nearest big city and went shopping with my best friend. We went to the “expensive” department store that was out of my normal budget, and found my perfect dress in my size and needed no alterations. I spent 3 times my budget, but it was well worth it. All of your advice was spot on.

    1. Ahh, thanks so much for sharing your story, Patt. I do think it’s worth it to have the right dress that makes you feel pretty and special. It’s truly a one of a kind day.

  2. Perfection!
    I love the picture of you praying over Abigail. I was a part of a prayer group, that my daughter affectionately called “the prayer dudes”. They prayed over Allison and her bridesmaids before the ceremony. It was a very special time, one I will never forget.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these tips!! My daughter is getting married in January and I’m excited about finding a dress that will be just right for the occasion. You looked lovely!

    1. Thanks, Tracey. You will find the right dress. Just be patient. Keep tags on dresses as long as possible. And when you do find the right one, stop looking. Enjoy the process. It’s such an exciting time!

  4. You both look simply stunning! Abigail was a gorgeous bride and her groom looked most handsome! Blessings to them on their happily ever after…
    What beautiful and joyous memories to hold in your hearts forever ♥

  5. I loved this lost! You looked amazing. I specialize in bridal alterations and work with many moms bi loved all your advise for picking a dress. It echoed everything I have been advising for years.

  6. Kay this was my favorite of your blogs, thank you for sharing your beautiful family occasion. Congratulations to the Mr. & Mrs. as well as the rest of your family. Thank you for sharing GOD’S blessings with us. Your daughter was a beautiful bride and you were a beautiful MOB!
    Many blessings,

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Ann. It was a lovely day and we all enjoyed it immensely. I’m grateful for my readers and how you care about me and my family.

  7. Hello Kay…..such a Beautiful day y’all had and the Bride looked stunning! Groom very handsome and you and James looked amazing! Love your dress and color on you….perfect fit.

    All Gods blessings on Abby and Andrew (now they need a baby starting with the name of “A”……..). LOL. In time I know.


  8. Excellent photos, your dress was absolutely beautiful and you looked beautiful as well. My son is getting married in March, I’m already nervous, lol !

    1. No need to be nervous, Bonnie. It will be a lovely day and you will be gorgeous. Enjoy the process!

  9. Hi Kay,
    I’m currently searching for a MOB gown for my daughter’s September wedding. I have purchased 4 and do not love any of them. Where did you find your gown? ( I’m not asking because I want to purchase It just curious if it somewhere I haven’t looked) anyway I’m sure I’ll find the perfect dress eventually but am feeling a bit discouraged.
    Thank you,

    1. Hello Gina. I found my dress at Dillard’s just weeks before the wedding. I put a lot of other Adrianna Papell dresses in the shopping widget at the bottom of the post. I find them to be very lovely. I do think they run just a tad small. I sized up to a 10 whereas I normally wear an 8.

      1. Thank you, I actually tried a few dresses on at a Dillards in Arizona, I thought they had a great selection. My daughter would like me to wear gold or champagne and I find most of them to be very embellished.I’ll keep looking and I still have a lot of time:)

  10. As a mother of the groom, I found it helpful to defer to the mother of the bride in decisions of fashion etc. Before I purchased my dress, I asked her what color and style she was wearing. She was happy to be forthcoming with details so we would be complimentary to each other on the big day. Two families are joining together through the wedding and everything we can do to honor and defer to the other, sets out that relationship on a solid foundation. They were equally respectful to us in so many ways.

    1. Hi Christine, That is very thoughtful. Yes, my daughter’s mother-in-law did the same for me. But of course I told her to wear whatever she felt herself in. She chose to wear a beautiful black dress, and she looked lovely. She wears black most every day, and I’m glad she chose to wear the color that most people know as her signature color.

  11. Your dress was perfect and you looked comfortable and beautiful! I was interested in whether you purchased your dress in person or online? I do so much online shopping, but thought for this type of dress, it might be more efficient to try-on in person. Thanks 🙂

    1. I purchased at least a dozen dresses online and of course sent all back except one, which I will have to donate or resell. But I did happen upon this one in the store when I was actually looking for something for the rehearsal dinner and had wandered into the formal dresses. But I could have bought it online of course. I purchased my mother of the groom dress for my son’s wedding through Nordstrom’s Trunk Club and that was a great experience, too. So I think it works well to try multiple places or websites when searching for the right dress. I’ve heard of women who found their dress in bridal shops, department stores (like mine), second hand clothing stores and online. Honestly, I had really hoped to find the right dress at either Saks or Nordstrom because I could get free alterations at either of those places. But in the end my alterations only cost about $45 anyhow.

  12. Great advice, Kay! Thank you. You and Abigail look stunning!!! You each found THE PERFECT dress, and I love how they complement each other. Love the pics of your beautiful family!!!

  13. You look stunning, Kay! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures of your daughter’s wedding. This was an excellent post and I wish I had seen something like this before our oldest daughter was married. I made the mistake of ordering two dresses online to choose from. Turns out the site was overseas and the dresses were not returnable. I didn’t like either but was so upset that I had spent so much money already that I wore one of the dresses.. I did not feel attractive on that special day but kept telling myself that it was her day not mine. I still have a hard time looking back at the pictures I’m in. Thank the Lord, I did a much better job picking a dress that I loved for our next daughter’s wedding.

  14. Abigail was a beautiful bride and you were the beautiful mother of the bride. I wish a lifetime of joy and happiness for Abigail and her husband.

  15. Abigail looked so beautiful and you did as well Kay. I loved your dress. It was so tasteful and elegant reflecting the joy and importance of the day. Wishing Abigail and
    Andrew much happiness!

  16. Thanks for sharing your daughter’s wedding day!!! Abigail’s dress is beautiful and your dress is beautiful also!!

  17. Oh, my goodness, it looks like the perfect day and everyone is so beautiful. That young fresh couple!! May God richly bless their new life together.

  18. You all look so beautiful. The pictures left me speechless. You are right; your daughter is the most beautiful Bride I’ve ever seen. And Kay, your husband is right, other than your daughter, you had to be the most beautiful woman in the room. Everything is so tasteful, so elegant, yet not overdone. I’m a bit of an old fashioned gal, and my Mom taught me to be classy. Classy is not about money she would say, it’s about being tasteful and respectful…you and your family personify all of that. I pray God continues to bless you all, as you bring us blessings.

  19. What beautiful pictures of you and your family! Abigail was a beautiful bride and her and Andrew make a striking couple! God bless them both. Love your mother of bride dress.
    So beautiful and classy. Glad you went with this dress. It was perfect. Really thought you and the group of bridesmaids praying over Abigail was so touching.

  20. You look just lovely. I can see it was a very happy occasion since it is reflected in your smiles. Congrats to Abagail and Andrew!

  21. What a beautiful dress! You and Abagail both looked stunning. And how precious to have the family and bride and groom photos. Truly a joyous celebration!

  22. I actually own that same dress in the short version—bought and wore it for an April wedding! I just love the colors and style. I did have to size up though—I find that Adriana Pappell tends to run small. I normally wear a 10 and bought a 12; I even could have worn 14.

  23. You look beautiful! My son was married this year in February. I literally tried on 20 dresses, mostly from Nordstrom. (Ended up getting a last year’s model designer dress I couldn’t find on designer’s website from Amazon of all places!) Anyway, found great dress, etc., and HATED how my hair and makeup looked on wedding day after being done by hair and makeup people. Had to be done at 10:00 in the morning for a 4:30 wedding. I looked like a melting ice cream cone by then! Wedding was wonderful, but I sure didn’t look my best.

  24. Hello, Kay. I’ve been following your posts for a while now and really enjoy them.
    The wedding photos are wonderful – you looked gorgeous in your dress and Abigail is one of the prettiest brides I’ve ever seen! Her husband looked so handsome too!
    By the way, I’m not far from you, I live in Hillsboro, Ohio!

    1. Hi Lana, thank you so much for introducing yourself. I think we have driven through Hillsboro once when we were taking a back route home from vacation. Lovely area! Thank you for your kind remarks. It was a lovely day and everyone looked especially nice. We felt so blessed.

  25. Thank You & your beautiful daughter for sharing the wedding photos. My youngest daughter is to be married July 9.
    Her colors are very much the same, so I appreciate seeing how it all went together. Just oh so Lovely!
    Bless You All!

  26. Gorgeous dress! You looked stunning. I wonder if you might consider sharing the dress you returned. Sometimes I learn from mistakes. Was it the cut? Also, I wonder if you ever shop at the Dillards outlet over in Eastgate. I recently attended the JDRF Gala and found my gown there. Many blessings to the happy couple!!!

  27. God bless the happy couple! You and your husband looked just perfect – not just because your clothes were carefully chosen, but because you reflected the blessings God has sent you throughout your lives together. You looked beautiful in that dress!

    1. That’s so kind, Anita. Thank you! We are indeed blessed, and it was a day full of celebration of God’s goodness.

  28. Beautiful ball gown – WOW. You look gorgeous! I love your tips for the wedding day and Mother-of-the-Bride dresses.

    Side note: I bought the Chico’s floral maxi dress a few weeks ago that you mentioned in your email. I bought it to wear to my nephew’s wedding in Miami over MDW, but alas, we had to cancel the trip a week prior as my hubby came down with ‘the virus that shall not be named.’ What a huge disappointment, but fortunately, hubby is better, and I never caught it!