Top Designer Mother Of The Bride Dresses

When shopping for a mother of the bride dress, there are a number of trusted designers that you can always turn to. The best designer brands for mother of the bride outfits, such as John Charles, Rosa Clara or Gill Harvey, have years of experience in the wedding industry. As well as outstanding choice, selection and quality, they also feature designs that are suitable for every style of wedding, and in any season. 

Here are some of the top designer mother of the bride dresses to try if you don’t know where to start. We’ve picked out different styles, ranging from classic to more contemporary dresses, and a range of silhouettes to choose from. 

John Charles Monochrome Dress and Jacket (26859)

From the latest John Charles 2020 Spring Summer Collection, this dress and jacket combo is a classic style and a great one to try first if you’re not sure what suits you. 

The soft monochrome print is modern yet elegant, the illusion neckline adds a feminine touch, and the textured fabric looks and feels luxurious for the special day. Finished with a matching jacket, this conservative outfit is perfect for formal weddings and will keep you warm outdoors. 

Gill Harvey Sparkly Disc Dress (5025 N)

If you are looking for a dress with some added sparkle or something for an evening wedding, this Gill Harvey Sparkly Disc Dress is a stylish option. The navy colour makes it super flattering for all shapes and skin tones, and it works well for winter wedding venues. 

The below-the-knee length makes it conservative for all ages, but the V neck adds a nice modern touch. 

Carla Ruiz Modern Pastel Dress (96534)

For a more modern look, we recommend trying this floaty dress from the Carla Ruiz collection. The soft pastel print makes it stunning for summer, but the ¾ sleeves mean that it’s also suitable for transitional weather. From destination weddings to weddings in the UK, this outfit offers so much versatility. Visit our online hat shop to create a more formal look, or keep it simple for relaxed ceremonies. 

Rosa Clara Couture Club Texture A-Line Dress

A timeless A-line dress is perfect if you want something flattering for your waistline. This beautiful dress from the Couture Club collection by Rosa Clara combines elegant pink with shirt-style collar finish. The finished look is feminine juxtaposed with an element of masculinity, making it a stylish choice for mums who prefer androgynous fashion. 

Teresa Ripoll Dress with Bow (3539 S)

The Teresa Ripoll Dress with Bow is a show-stopping mother of the bride dress for formal weddings and grand venues. If you are looking for an outfit to help you stand out, yet doesn’t take attention away from the bride, this dress is a good one to add to your list. It combines a simple, classic cut with a beautiful bow feature. 

The designer has trained in French fashion houses such as Jean Patou and Pierre Cardin, so the collections promise unbeatable designer quality. 

For more dress inspiration, take a look at our lookbook for the top designer mother of the bride dresses.

Wedding Corsages For Mothers of the Bride and Groom

While wedding etiquette is much more relaxed than it used to be, many couples still feel that it’s important to follow certain customs on their special day. This is especially true if their ceremony is very traditional, or if their families are particularly fond of these customs. 

One of these well-known customs is the offering boutonnieres (buttonholes) and corsages to the wedding party. This will usually include family members such as parents, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen. While matching flowers with bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits should be relatively easy, finding a corsage for both mothers can be trickier. The mother of the bride or groom will likely spend a lot of time and effort choosing her outfit, so finding corsages that can complement their look is key. 

Here are some tips for choosing the best wedding corsages for mothers of the bride and groom. 

Choosing the right colour 

Traditionally, boutonnieres are given to fathers and grandfathers and corsages are given to mothers and grandmothers. As these floral pieces will usually match (or at least coordinate) for the wedding party, choosing a colour that looks good with everyone’s outfits is important. But if you want your corsages and boutonnieres to all be different, that’s just as acceptable. Flowers can be a very personal thing, and you may find that different floral designs work better for your wedding party.

Simple white flowers with green foliage are a good way to keep it timeless, classy and simple. Or bold flowers can be wonderful for expressing personality and making a statement. 

Different ways to wear  

Giving mothers and grandmothers a corsage is a wonderful gesture and a lovely tradition, but remember that the wearer has to be comfortable. If you want everyone to follow this custom, make sure you offer different ways to wear the corsage. Not everyone has to match, and being able to choose a wrist or pin corsage will give your wedding party an opportunity to have a bit more control over their appearance. 

Consider hats and fascinators 

When choosing wedding corsages for mothers of the bride and groom, be sure to ask them about their outfits. If they are wearing a hat or fascinator, they may already have a lot going on with their ensemble. In some cases, corsages may not be necessary. If you are accompanying your mother or mother-in-law for dress shopping, you can get an idea together of how a corsage might look. For inspiration, download our free mother of the bride and groom lookbook.  

Tradition isn’t for everyone  

If you’re still unsure about whether you want wedding corsages for mothers and female family members, remember that tradition isn’t final. You don’t have to follow customs if they make your wedding party uncomfortable, or if it doesn’t fit with your wedding theme. 

Some people really dislike wearing corsages as it doesn’t always complement what they’re wearing. Having boutonnieres just for men can be an option, giving female family members a bit more freedom to choose. 

It’s also understandable if mothers decide to remove their corsage later in the day, but you should ask everyone to keep them on for the wedding pictures if that’s what you want.

6 Tips for Choosing Plus Size Mother of the Bride or Groom Outfits

Today, there are dresses for every shape and size, and plus size shopping is much easier than it used to be. But outfits for the mother of the bride or groom require careful consideration, as there may be rules or certain wedding etiquette to adhere to. This means that some mothers or grandmothers may not be able to select their usual go-to styles. That doesn’t mean that options are slim though – it’s just about selecting the right cut, colour, fabric and silhouette.  

There are many plus size mother of the bride dresses or mother of the groom outfits that can make you feel beautiful, stylish and radiant. Most dresses are designed to be flattering on all figures. Here are some tips on choosing the right one for you. 

1. Go for sharp tailoring 

Tailored pieces pack a lot of power. In an instant, they can make you feel confident, no matter your size or shape. Consider a trouser suit if dresses really aren’t for you, and don’t forget the importance of finding the right pair of shoes to match – adding height and completing your look. 

2. Choose the right dress length

Knee length and midi length dresses are the most common styles for the mother of the bride, both of which work well on different body shapes. They provide enough coverage while still looking feminine, but it’s important to choose the correct length for your height. Elongate your body with a shorter dress cut if you are 5’4″ or shorter. However, this doesn’t rule out midi dresses for shorter ladies, just as long as you can create balance – and you can always choose a higher heel if you need. 

3. Find the right pattern

Avoiding patterns and prints when you’re plus size is a common misconception that many are told in the world of fashion. The truth is there are so many different prints out there, and it’s about finding the right one for you. Vertical stripes can elongate, geometric prints can create movement, and floral prints can add texture. It’s also important to consider the placement of the print, as some patterns may work wonders for drawing attention to your best bits and covering the areas you’re most self-conscious about. 

4.Wear a hat for balance

Large hats can be great for creating balance in your look, and also for achieving an eye-catching look. Draw attention away from other areas, add some height to your body, and arrive at the venue with show-stopping drama. If you’re worried about your legs being on show, a hat is the perfect diversion. For inspiration on complete plus size mother of the bride outfits with hats/fascinator ideas, download our free lookbook

5. Don’t forget a jacket 

One of our best style tips for plus size ladies is to opt for a jacket or coat to complete your look. Don’t treat your outerwear as an afterthought. Instead, design your entire ensemble with a suitable jacket in mind from the start. Not only are jackets and blazers good for coverage, but they add depth and dimension to your look too. 

6. Avoid trends  

If you’re really struggling to find plus size mother of the bride outfits that flatter your shape, avoid current trends – especially for in-season colours and prints. It’s important to choose the colourings that work best with your skintone. Stick with the tried-and-tested colour palettes for your figure, while still having fun with different looks.

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 mother of the bride 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.

How To Wear A Hat To A Wedding

Buying the Ideal Wedding Hat

There are many designs and styles of wedding hats that will match what you wear. You can wear hats tilted to the side, to the front or the back and it is essentially what works for you and your outfit. Ladies want to feel special with the hat on; they want to look different and unique. They want to stand out in the crowd, and make a personal, lasting statement.

Wedding Hats for the Mother of the Bride and Groom

The wedding hats & fascinator market is growing in popularity, especially with the fashionable women. These accessories are not only meant for weddings. They are also a great accessory for any festive occasions ranging from the casual to the formal. There is no reason why your wardrobe should not comprise of any, given the simplicity and elegance of wearing one.
A stylish Wedding Hat can add so much to an outfit. They are an excellent way to add drama and flair to mother of the bride or groom outfits. Hats are also a perfect way to express your personal style. If you are uncertain about how to wear a hat, so as to show your personality, take a look at some pictures of British women: they know how to pull off any hat!

A hat is ideal for the finishing touch to a wedding outfit as it will not only look great but will also protect you from the glare of camera flash or sun. Look for a hat with a wide brim in ivory or pastel color. A wedding hat should be festively decorated; it should not resemble anything that you would wear for gardening. You can either choose a hat that comes furnished or add your embellishments to a simple portrait hat.
Wedding hats are a worthy investment as they can be used and reused at second weddings and even at other events. There is a wide choice of other wedding accessories that could go with it and also the very popular wedding hats and fascinators. The bottom line is, regardless of when you are wearing your wedding hat, that you are ensuring that you are not upstaging the bride. You want to be fashionable but do it without appearing as though you might be trying to steal the attention from the bride.

Tips For Mother Of The Bride & Groom Outfits

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When it comes to choosing the right outfit for your daughter’s wedding or son’s wedding, it can be tricky knowing where to start. Many questions may be running through your head. What dress style is appropriate? How covered should you be? Should you wear a hat or a fascinator? 

We know that all proud mums want to look their best on such a special day, so we’ve compiled the best tips for mother of the bride outfits and mother of the groom outfits to help you out.

Our top tips for shopping 

The shopping experience can be just as important as the outfit you choose. Make sure you’re prepared for what’s ahead with these helpful tips from us:

  • Get inspiration

Before going to a boutique, search through magazines or look online for ideas. This will give you the starting point you need. Our designer lookbook of mother of the bride and groom outfits is a good place to begin.

  • Keep an open mind

The most important tip we can give you is to try lots of different dress styles. Go shopping armed with ideas and styles you have seen, and tell the shop assistant what you have in mind. But never discount other dresses as you won’t know what looks good on until you try it. In our experience, 9 out of 10 ladies leave our boutique with something they would never have thought they would wear! 

  • Shop for day to night

Look for an outfit that can see you through from day to night. Many dress and jacket combinations transform into a different outfit once the jacket is taken off, giving you a fresh look for the evening. 

  • Buy the right size

It can be tempting to shop for smaller sizes with the intention of losing weight, but why put yourself under extra pressure? If you want to lose weight, buy the dress that fits perfectly at that time and have it altered closer to the time. Remember, it’s easy to take a dress in but not always possible to take it out. 

Tips for finding the right style

If you are unsure of what style of dress to go for, trends can be a great way to get inspired. But trend shopping doesn’t always get results. One of the most important tips for mother of the bride outfits is to find a shape and colour that suits you, regardless of what’s ‘in’. 

It’s also very important to shop for your body shape, as everyone is different. 

Tips for curvy figures:

We’re proud to stock Condici mother of the bride and groom outfits, a prestigious brand with bags of advice for our shoppers. According to this label, the golden rule for complementing a curvy figure is ensuring that the jacket to go with the dress or trousers is long enough to extend past the hips. This transforms the silhouette to be more slender and streamlined. 

Additionally, ruching, pleats and layered fabric are great for hiding imperfections. So there are many ways to make your outfit work for you, even if you’re self-conscious about certain areas.

Tips for petite figure:

For petite women, the secret, according to Condici, lies in accentuating the best attributes of your figure by wearing a shorter jacket. This will create a perfect silhouette that is flattering in all the right places. For shorter ladies who want to elongate their figure, try to opt for a slightly shorter dress length and style with high heels. 

For more helpful style tips based on your body type, see our style advice page.  

Hat buying tips

Many customers think that they don’t suit hats, but that’s usually because they haven’t been properly fitted for a hat before. The high street simply doesn’t cater for everyone’s different needs, but a specialist boutique has so many styles to choose from and there’s something for everyone. 

  • Try different hat styles

At Nigel Rayment, we are milliners by trade, so we are experienced in helping women find the perfect headpiece to complete their look. From large, show-stopping hats to classy hatinators that don’t obstruct the face for kissing and greeting other guests, or elegant fascinators to keep it simple, there are so many to try. 

  • Don’t try to hide the band

Fascinators and hatinators come with a band and this is a stylish feature that is a part of the design. We advise women to embrace it as it often adds to their outfit. But if you would like to keep it hidden, just see your hairdresser to discuss hairstyle options that can cover the band. 

General tips for mother of the groom outfits

All of our useful shopping tips apply to the mothers of the groom as well as the mothers of the bride, and a lot of the etiquette is the same. But it’s also good to remember that traditionally, the mother of the bride would purchase her outfit first. This is an old fashioned way of doing things, and many wedding parties don’t follow this rule anymore. However, just to be sure, it’s always a good idea to check. 

Whether you are the mother of the groom or bride, we have a range of dresses to suit you. And we believe that every shopping experience is unique, so whether you’re coming alone, with your son/daughter, or all together as a group, you should embrace the day. It should be a fun day when you try on dresses, so don’t get disheartened if the first few outfits aren’t right. 

Our final words…

So our final tip is to come to our boutique and try on different colours, silhouettes, fabrics and styles. Our experienced team will help you establish what looks and feels good for the special day.  

And don’t be shy either! Never be afraid to be upfront about what you really like or don’t like. This makes our job easier and we can find your perfect outfit much quicker. 


We hope our tips have helped. Get in touch today to book an appointment at our London or Manchester boutique to start trying on your dream outfit.