Long vs Short Mother of the Bride and Groom Dresses

Choosing the right outfit as the mother of the bride or groom is such an important decision. With the pressures of wedding party etiquette, a need for all day comfort, and the influx of modern trends, finding the right style can be tricky. When it comes to dress length, many women struggle to know what fits them well. 

So what is the most suitable length for your son or daughter’s wedding? Both short and long dresses can be stylish and appropriate. The key is selecting a silhouette that complements the aesthetic of the bride and groom, as well as their venue. Here’s a guide to shopping for long and short mother of the bride dresses. 

What’s the right length? 

For mother of the bride and groom dresses, long vs. short is a common conundrum. But there are many different lengths to consider for the big day. 

  • Short/mini 

Mini length dresses are sometimes considered unsuitable for the mother of the bride/groom. You won’t find many styles like this in wedding outfit shops and bridalwear shops. However, every wedding is different and there are many that don’t like to follow formal traditions. The most important thing is that both you and the bride and groom are comfortable. If you are considering a mini length dress, be sure to check the dress code in advance.  

  • Knee length

If you like short mother of the bride dresses, knee length is perhaps the most suitable style to choose. It’s a classic length that works well with all ages and is flattering on many body types. The extra coverage also fits in with any formal occasion and gives you a bit more freedom with baring shoulders and arms. 

  • Midi length

Midi length dresses can also be incredibly elegant and the beauty of them is that they fit differently on everyone depending on height and leg length. Some midis fall below the knee, whilst other dresses may graze the ankle. For dresses that fall too long on you, they can be easily and affordably altered by a seamstress. 

Trying long and short mother of the bride and groom dresses 

When trying on outfits, bring a pair of shoes that are the same or a similar style/height to what you would wear on the day. It may also be useful to bring your son or daughter with you so they can give you their feedback. 

The most important advice is to never upstage the bride. For instance, some brides may not want you to wear cream dresses and colours too similar to her own dress, while others may want to match or look tonally similar. 

Mothers may instinctively know what their own daughter or son deems appropriate for their wedding day. But if in doubt, just ask. As any bride or groom would attest, they would much rather you checked if you’re unsure about anything. 

For more advice on what to wear, read our mother of the bride style tips online. 

A Guide to Mother of the Bride & Groom Hairstyles

Whether you’re the mother of the bride or mother of the groom, hairstyles play a big part in making your look complete. Hair is often the last consideration when building your outfit, but the right hairstyle can elevate your dress instantly. A neat bun can transform your look with simple elegance. A curly updo can add height and texture. And a slick ponytail can inject a youthful edge to your ensemble. 

When shopping for the perfect dress, it’s important to think about how you’ll be styling your hair on the day. Here’s a guide to choosing the right mother of the bride hairstyles to match your wardrobe.

Short mother of the bride hairstyles

Short hair looks great with many dress styles and works well with a range of wedding hats or fascinators. A simple bob is the perfect complement to a tailored knee length or midi dress, and a professional blow-dry can give you added volume and shine. Very short cuts can also be lifted with soft curls, waves or light feathering. To add dimension, gentle highlights or balayage can also work very well. 

If you feel that your outfit would be better complemented by an updo, hairpieces can be fantastic. Finding the right shade to match you hair is key though – this ensures a seamless finish. 

Styles for mid-length and long hair 

If you have mid-length to long hair, you can get creative with your hairstyle. There are endless options when it comes to down and updos. For hair that’s particularly long, an updo is usually considered the most suitable as it can give you a polished appearance. Updos also help to keep your hair in place, which is useful for outdoor photographs in windy settings. 

Some stunning updos include:

  • Low bun – a low bun is simple and chic. Perfect for a dress with clean lines and a smooth, plain fabric. It’s also a lovely contrast for lace or beading
  • Curly bun – if you want something glamorous, a curly bun is ideal. Great for longer dresses, but be sure to test the style with your hat/fascinator. 
  • Ponytail – ponytails are often overlooked, but when styled in the right way they can be stunning on the mother of the bride or groom. Soft waves can give you a polished finish and a pearl or crystal hair clip can add a sense of refinement. 
  • Bouffant – there are many ways to achieve the bouffant in a fresh, modern way. This style of hair is good for adding height to your outfit and works well with low heels

Wedding hair accessories 

When creating mother of bride hairstyles or mother of groom hairstyles, be sure to check that it is suitable for the wedding theme and venue. Find out the dress code to get an idea of how formal the day is going to be. While big wedding hats are traditional for mothers and grandmothers, some couples opt for more laidback ceremonies. 

If your son or daughter’s wedding is very relaxed, a small hatinator or fascinator may be more appropriate. Whatever your choice of hair accessory, make sure it’s comfortable and style your hair to look just as great when you need to take it off. 
Get tips for choosing the right wedding hat for the mother of the bride or groom.