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Tips on What the Mother of the Groom Should Wear

In terms of the spotlight at a wedding, the bride is way up there above everyone else. But sharing the next tier of prominence are the groom, the maid of honor, and the mothers of the bride and groom (sorry, dads!). So being the groom’s mom is a pretty important role. You are seated prominently at both the ceremony and the reception—which means that what you wear will be on show for everyone to see!

What is proper attire, then, for the mother of the groom? Here are some guidelines that may prove helpful:

Allow the bride to shine - This is her day after all! So the basic rule of thumb at a wedding is that no one—not even the bride’s mother or future mother-in-law—should draw attention away from her. This is probably where the unspoken rule of “no white gowns or dresses” came from. As a courtesy to your daughter-in-law-to-be, then, do steer clear of white for your wedding attire.

Take your cue from the wedding style - Will this be a formal ceremony, followed by a sit-down affair at a hotel where a long gown is expected? Or will it be a simple occasion where a stylish pastel suit would be appropriate? Or is the couple planning a casual, at-home gathering at which you could wear a “Sunday best” dress? Knowing this way ahead of time will narrow down your focus as you shop for the right outfit.

Ask about the venue - If the wedding will be held outdoors subject to the season and the elements, take note of the forecast temperature and possible windiness. For the summer months, you could opt for a bare-armed dress to keep cool but with a wrap in case the evening turns chilly. If a brisk wind is expected, select a style that will stay neatly in place—such as a sheath cut or a tailored suit.

Complement what the bride’s mother will wear - If you are in touch with your son’s future in-laws, consult his mother about what she plans to wear. Or you could find this out through the bride. Not that you need to be wearing nearly identical outfits, but it would be nice (particularly in the joint-family wedding photos!) to complement one another in terms of color and general dress style.

Consider what role you’ll play in the ceremony and/or reception - Will you be walking down the aisle, too, as is now done in some weddings? If so, choose an ensemble that you’ll have no trouble with—in terms of length for traversing the aisle carpet or going up a step or two, a loose enough skirt for ease of movement, and not too many accessories that you’ll have to keep hold of.

Will you be part of the couple’s first dance at the reception? Some reception programs include all the parents of the newlyweds taking their turn on the dance floor with their new in-laws. You’d certainly want to be attired comfortably for that as well. Perhaps a dress with a semi-full or biased skirt that will move gracefully, or a floor-length gown with a modest slit.

Choose a flattering, age-appropriate, and comfortable style - As with all other occasions that call for some dressing up, do keep in mind your particular attributes to choose a style that will flatter you. A color that complements your skin tone or eye color, a cut that slims or disguises figure flaws, a neckline treatment that calls attention to our face—these are the little tricks to aim for!

And for such a momentous occasion, keep within dress styles that are appropriate for your age. No overly short skirts (mid-knee length should be the shortest), nothing too figure-hugging nor cut too low in front or in the back. If you wish, you can have a wrap, tailored jacket or bolero for the ceremony. Then, you may leave this off during the reception for an evening dress look.

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