Wedding Dress

Formal Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses for Every Season and Style

Selecting a suitable mother-of-the-bride or groom outfit is one of the biggest personal considerations you have to make regarding your child’s wedding day. While you’ve likely helped with a few planning details, finalizing your own ensemble is essential; and if the dress code is on the formal side, you might be wondering what sort of outfits are appropriate. The good news, though, is that if you ever wanted to dress to the nines, this is the time to break out your finest fashions. In fact, formal mother-of-the-bride dresses are some of the best pieces to shop for since they can really showcase your personal style.

However, before listing out our favorite fancy mother-of-the-bride or groom looks, it’s important to highlight what “formal” actually means. This isn’t just a code word for “nice-looking,” as “formal” is a legitimate dress code that falls between black tie and cocktail. For formal weddings, think of long gowns in luxe fabrics, or high-end midi dresses with embellishments and special detailing.

It’s also a good idea to check in with the couple of honor before buying your day-of look, in order to see if they have any preferences by way of color or style. Even though this is your outfit, you want to be sure your look doesn’t clash with the bridal party or detract from the celebration.

To help narrow down your options, we’ve rounded up the best formal mother-of-the-bride or groom dresses that will dazzle and delight as you watch your child say “I do,”

Most Glamorous

Galina Signature Strapless Corset Gown with Tulle Trumpet Skirt

Formal weddings are the perfect opportunity to don a gown straight out of your fairytale dreams. This tulle and lace corset number from Galina Signature has the ideal amount of structure and sparkle to support and shine all night long.

For a Boho Wedding

Revelry Amelia Chiffon Dress

Coming in over 40 different hues, Revelry’s Amelia dress is made from the softest chiffon and is perfect for outdoor, desert, or bohemian celebrations. Flutter sleeves, ruffled tiers, and a modest V-neckline exude romance for any special occasion.

Most Elegant

Amsale Pryce Off-the-Shoulder Column Dress

It doesn’t get more elegant than Amsale’s silky Pryce dress, which comes in navy, green, and natural hues. Between the asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder neckline and flattering column silhouette, this pristine style is suitable for the most distinguished of occasions.

Vintage-Inspired

Tadashi Shoji Odette Sequin Dress

Whether you select the Odette dress in silver or gold, Tadashi Shoji’s spectacular sequin and lace gown was made for vintage lovers. It features a bateau neckline and an all-over floral pattern, both of which stand out as stunning formalwear details. The best part? You can keep jewelry simple to really let this beauty shine.

Most Convenient

Alex Evenings Short Shift Dress

When you need a dress, and you need it fast, Amazon is always the answer. With 13 color options that vary slightly in design, not to mention free returns, this crepe cocktail dress from Alex Evenings is an easy choice for rehearsal dinners and weddings alike.

What to Look for in a Formal Mother-of-the-Bride or Groom Dress

When searching for a formal mother-of-the-bride or groom dress, you want to first consider the dress code. Even though you’re a VIP, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the couple’s chosen attire preferences. “Formal” means you should ideally wear a floor-length gown, but a fancy midi or cocktail dress could work as long as it’s more elegant than your standard little black dress.

Fabric-wise, think of luxe options such as crepe, chiffon, and satin, all while paying attention to the season. For example, while velvet leans more formal, it’s also a heavy material so it could get too hot at spring or summer events. The same concept goes for selecting sleeve lengths, too. That said, it’s always a good idea to bring along a jacket or shawl if your dress has shorter sleeves, regardless of the season, just in case the venue gets chilly or if you want more coverage.

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