Difference Between Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom Dresses

When it comes to the wedding etiquette, one of the most common questions is how Mother of the Bride dresses are different than Mother of the Groom dresses.

Are Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom dresses different? The answer is yes and here is what makes a difference for Mother of the Bride vs Mother of the Groom in the process of selecting their dress for the wedding day.

Mother of the Bride Chooses First

Planning a wedding party is a huge amount of work for both the bride and the groom’s family, so it definitely pays off if both sides work together like a team. Obviously, one mother needs to make a decision first to allow the other to choose something that properly coordinates.

Who chooses their dress first? Traditionally, the mother of the bride is the one who selects her dress first. This may be different in your family dynamic, so make sure you have a conversation about it if it’s something that’s a question.

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Mother of Bride should Talk to the Bride Prior

For the Mother of the bride, it is really important to involve the bride in your process of picking your dress. Something I cannot stress enough is to talk to the bride before beginning the dress shopping journey. Whether she wants to shop with you or not, opening the conversation beforehand will ensure you’re both on the same page when it comes to any expectations or guidelines for the wedding. Not to mention it’s her special day so including her is fun.

Mother of Bride should Avoid White or Off-white

Even though there is no limitation as to what colors the Mother of the Bride should wear, it is suggested MOB should avoid white or off white or any color similar (such as cream, ivory, etc). The reason is white is traditionally the color reserved for the bride at a wedding.

The exception is a “all-white wedding party”, which means the bride wants the Mother as well as the bridesmaids to also wear white. This is an emerging trend especially in urban areas in recent years, and this is considered a chic style for the wedding.

Different color choice for Mother of Bride vs Mother of Groom

The one element that differentiates the mother of the bride and mother of the groom dresses apart: the color choice. Even though in traditional weddings, most brides choose to wear white, there are plenty of choices when it comes to the dress color for the mothers. The simple rule of thumb is to avoid the same color but coordinate instead.

Other than avoiding white which we mentioned previously, there is no restriction as to what color the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom should or should not wear. However, the mother of the groom is encouraged to find a dress that coordinates in color with the mother of the groom but doesn’t perfectly match. This allows each mother to stand out as an individual, but also keep to a theme.

If there is a specific color scheme for the bridal party (most weddings do have at least one theme color), you may consider having the mothers opt for different shades or hues of the same color. Open discussion around the bride’s preference(s) and mother’s choices is crucial so everyone is on the same page.

Mother of Groom should Avoid Clashing

Even though we always say the wedding day is THE Big Day for the bride, it is indeed one of the most significant events to both the family of the bride and the groom. Choosing the right dress for the Mother of the Groom is just as important as it is to find the best dress for Mother of the Bride.

While coordinating is important, on the flip side you will want to make sure neither dress is clashing. Chances are there will be pictures taken together, as well as with some of the other bridal party members. Since the tradition is for the Mother of the Bride to choose her dress first, the Mother of the Groom needs to pick a dress that goes with it.

That said, since you are all on the same team for the big day of your son and daughter, it’s best for both mothers to choose what works the best for the wedding. That means the Mother of the Bride should communicate her preferred color and style with Mother of the Groom ahead of time so that the other Mother makes an informed decision as well.

That is why it is critical you talk to the other mother to avoid any clashing. This can also help to eliminate one mother dressed more formal than the other, for example.

Now that we’ve established the main difference between MOB and MOG dress etiquette, let’s go over what Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom dresses have in common, that is, some overall rules both mothers should consider to make sure the wedding planning goes smoothly.

Consider the Formality of the Wedding

When selecting a dress for your loved one’s special day, the first thing to think about is how formal of a wedding it will be. The most common types of wedding dress codes include the following:

If the wedding is quite formal, you won’t want to wear a cocktail appropriate dress. Whatever the formality or location of the wedding, just be sure the dress matches the environment.

Some of the wedding dress codes, for example, daytime wedding, is typically considered a casual dress code, which normally means there is no strict restriction for what the wedding guests should wear. However, as Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom, the etiquette is you should still dress up according to the venue.

Opt for Classic and Elegant

The bride will want you to look and feel great in whatever dress you end up wearing for the big day, one good rule of thumb to keep in the back of your head is selecting a dress that’s classic and elegant. This means sticking with silhouettes, styles, etc. that aren’t too low cut, trendy or over the top. These elements tend to be much more flattering and timeless, allowing you to look back on photos years from now and still love the dress you chose to wear.

Choose Something that Shows Your Personal Style

Finding the perfect mother of the bride and mother of the groom dresses means not only opting for something that’s in line with the wedding itself, but also your own personal style. You are the one wearing the dress, after all, and as much as the wedding is about the bride and groom the mother’s deserve to feel like themselves throughout the day. This will not only make you feel great, but you will look even better because you will be more comfortable.

Shop Ahead of Time

When should the mother of the bride and groom start shopping for their dresses? Fairly far in advanced is highly suggested! This is for a few reasons.

First, waiting until the last minute for anything is never a good idea. Second, when you start the process far enough in advance it gives you an opportunity to try different options to really figure out what dress is the best fit for the wedding and woman. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.

Typically a good time frame is around 8-9 months (if possible) before the wedding. This also provides plenty of time to have any necessary tailoring done so the dress fits like a glove.

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