Total Image Consultants

Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

Wedding Dressing: Mother of the Bride/Groom or Guest
How to Find the Perfect Dress

Wedding preparation season is in full swing and, as a result, I have been busily shopping and advising clients on what to wear as a mother of the bride or groom – and even as guests to these weddings.

You’d think it would be a breeze to find a beautiful dress to wear, but, sadly, that’s rarely the case. Stores often have fewer options than we’d like or, especially at this time of year, prom dresses usurp the space that used to house dresses for the rest of us. The color options are also often limited. If you want to wear navy blue, you’re probably in luck. Otherwise, it can feel harder to find the color you dream of wearing.

Not long ago, I realized that I didn’t have anything to wear to a dressy event (yes, that even happens to me!) – although I did not yet have an occasion to wear one. I decided I wanted to be prepared and so I now have these two dresses that are comfortable and ease over my curves and I’m all set!


Of course, I’m also not the Mother of the Bride or Groom which often is more involved, but as a guest I’d be all set.

What are some of the pitfalls and possible solutions for finding a dress for an upcoming wedding? If you are the mother of the bride or groom, finding the perfect dress feels particularly important, so let’s explore this a bit more. While I know that you’re already looking for the perfect color and fit, there are other considerations that pop up and can undermine your valiant efforts.

Let’s take a look (keep reading below and click HERE to go to my personally curated suggestions of over 45 dress ideas for MOB/MOG and wedding guests—OR click on any of the photos below to go do the special catalogue of ideas as well).

1. Start Early

It’s never too early to look for your dress. Yes, you might find (and that’s a big if!) a dress in a month if you can find one off the rack. But if you need to order a dress or wait for new arrivals to get the color or style or nod to the appropriate season to find something you feel great in, you’ll need more time. Not to mention that you don’t want to feel desperate or stressed.

One of the things I hear from women who put off looking for a dress is that they are planning to lose weight. Do not wait because of that. What if you don’t lose the weight? Or, what if you wait, lose some weight and then can’t find a dress you like (this is a real concern!)? And, even if you do lose weight, a tailor can adjust the dress you bought earlier to fit well.

On top of finding a dress, you also will need to accessorize it, choose shoes, find a wrap if needed and even allow time for tailoring. Finding the dress is just the beginning so allowing extra time makes it all feel more relaxed.

The last thing you need is more worry piled onto an already intense (albeit exciting!) day. Helping to plan a wedding or even just watching the couple navigate the event decisions is stressful enough without having to shop in desperation!

2. Ignore (or diplomatically navigate) Unwanted Dress Guidance

Yes, it’s the bride’s (not the mother’s) wedding. I understand that. But I’m seeing an uprising in bridezilla-type behavior: the bride telling the mother what colors and styles she needs to wear with little regard for what the mother feels or looks best in. Recently, at least four of my mothers of the bride have shaken their heads with dismay at what their daughters are suggesting. Yes, as the MOB/G, you want to make the bride happy and you want your dress to harmonize nicely in photos, but you also want to feel good the day of the wedding and later when you look at yourself in pictures.

Often showing the bride how drab a suggested color looks on you or how the style she’s insisting on makes you feel frumpy will (hopefully) discourage her from pushing any further when she sees how unhappy you feel. Ultimately, you get final say!

3. Shop in New Places

Sometimes, the traditional department stores can come through with flying colors. The key word here is sometimes! And other times, after filtering through an endless array of dresses, you can still feel like nothing works or makes your heart sing. This is where looking outside the stores you typically frequent can help. (You’ll see some ideas below (click on the photo to go to the special ‘MOB/MOG’ catalogue of beautiful dresses where you can get more information about each dress or click HERE.)

This is a designer that makes gorgeous dresses in a variety of colors and sizes and at a good price point and can be found at many department stores. (Click on the photo to learn more about this dress and others.)

This designer has been one of my favorites for many years and his dresses are often super comfortable and elegant:

Perhaps you’re attending a summer wedding and are looking for a beach-worthy dressy dress (Click on the photo to learn more about this dress and others.):

Don’t want to wear a dress? How about jumpsuit like this elegant one (click on photo to learn more):

See many more dress ideas and places to shop HERE.

Weddings are special and they will be captured in photos forever. Follow the three steps above and have a lovely time exploring the possibilities and choosing the perfect dress for you!

P.S. Need extra support? Join my upcoming ‘Create Your Personal Style in 6 Weeks’ class and you can ask questions and get feedback and ideas to help you feel amazing for your upcoming event (or just everyday life). And, when you’re in the class you have the option of doing 1:1 sessions with me if you need extra help. The next class begins on April 17. Get on the waitlist now and be the first to hear when registration opens:

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A Note About the Clothes: All of the garments pictured here are vegan (made from fabrics that did not harm any animals). Please note that I am passionate about ending animal suffering and choosing cruelty-free clothing is just one aspect of a vegan lifestyle. If you have any questions about being vegan or what fabrics are vegan please let me know. I am happy to help and will answer any questions with kindness and compassion.

Some of the affiliate links may generate very small commissions for Total Image Consultants. This helps offset the cost of the special software used to create this report.


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Ginger Burr is a fashion stylist and personal shopper serving clients worldwide from metro Boston.