24 Maid of Honor Dresses That Showcase Your Bestie

Let your MOH shine like the star she is.
Collage of three maid of honor dresses
Photos, from left to right: Lulu's, Reformation, Birdy Grey
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by
Jessica Booth
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Jessica Booth
The Knot Fashion Contributor
  • Jessica is a freelance writer who covers topics such as weddings, parenting, wellness, commerce, health and food.
  • Jessica has written for sites including Cosmopolitan, Delish, Bustle, Romper, Refinery 29, Reviewed, Parents, Brides, People, Forbes, The Daily Beast and many more.
  • Jessica has a degree in journalism and lives on Long Island in New York.
Updated Jun 24, 2024
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The maid of honor plays a very special part in a wedding: not only is she the unofficial leader of the bridal party, but she usually ends up acting as the bride's closest confidante and assistant throughout the entire planning process and on the big night. The maid of honor dress should reflect this important role, making her title clear to all of the guests.

Traditionally, the maid of honor's dress is different from the rest of the bridesmaid dresses in some way. Since your maid of honor is probably someone you're very close with, like your sister, cousin or best friend, you should definitely involve them in the dress shopping process so that they can find something they love and feel comfortable in. Read on to find out more about what the best maid of honor dresses should look like, along with some ideas on how to make her stand out in your wedding party.

What Should Maid of Honor Dresses Look Like?

There are no hard and fast rules to be followed when it comes to a maid of honor dress. That said, for the most part, the maid of honor gown will be different from what the rest of the bridesmaids are wearing. The maid of honor dress is usually also more formal than what guests might wear to the wedding.

While the maid of honor should, of course, wear something she loves, it's also important that she compliments the bridal gown and the overall theme and look of the wedding, notes Sky Pollard, head of product at Nuuly. Pollard also adds that the maid of honor should always follow the dress code appropriately.

Lastly, it's important for the maid of honor to be comfortable. "Don't forget that the maid of honor often has responsibilities throughout the ceremony, like tending to the bride's train, veil, bouquet, etc.," says Erin Wolf, franchisor at Bella Bridesmaids. "Be sure she can move and bend easily without any major wardrobe malfunctions while doing things like fluffing the bride's veil before the vows."

Should Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid Dresses Be Different?

It's very common for the maid of honor to be in a different dress than the rest of the wedding party. This typically means that she might wear a different color or fabric, or that she chooses a dress with a pattern while the rest of the bridesmaids are in something solid. That said, there are no rules, and you don't have to do it this way. In recent years, it's become really popular to have the entire wedding party in coordinated mismatched looks, and in that case it can be hard to make the maid of honor dress stand out.

If you want the maid of honor dress to be slightly different from the other dresses, keep them similar. "The most important thing to keep in mind is that the maid of honor dress should either coordinate or be complementary to the rest of the wedding party," says Grace Lee Chen, CEO and founder of Birdy Grey. "So either have everyone match (or intentionally mismatched) or keep it unified with the same color palette for the wedding."

What Is a Matron of Honor Dress?

A matron of honor is the same as a maid of honor—the only difference is that "matron" means that the person is married. If you have both a maid and matron of honor, you can choose to have them wear the same dress or each wear something different. "It's perfectly acceptable for them to wear different, but cohesive dresses as well," Chen says.

24 Maid of Honor Dress Ideas From Stand-Out to Subtle

If you're choosing to go the more traditional route and have your maid of honor wear something different than the rest of the bridesmaids, there are a few ways to achieve that. Having the maid of honor wear a slightly different color is one way to make her stand out. Rather than have her wear a completely different color, have her wear a different shade of the hue the bridesmaids are wearing. "Color should complement the overall wedding color palette, yet have just enough of a difference to subtly stand out," says Daniel Sanchez, creative director for Azazie.

Pollard notes that the maid of honor can also wear a different silhouette than the bridesmaids, like having the maid of honor in a one-shoulder gown while the bridesmaids are all wearing strapless dresses. Fabric is another way to set them apart. "This requires careful consideration as to how the maid of honor dress will bridge the bridesmaids and wedding dress," Sanchez warns.

While it's slightly more difficult to achieve this difference if the bridesmaids are doing the mismatched look, it's still possible. "The bridesmaids can wear lighter shades while the maid of honor can wear a darker shade in the same color family—think greens ranging from sage to seaglass with the maid of honor in emerald," Chen says. Read on for more ideas.

Floral Maid of Honor Dress With Solid Bridesmaid Dresses

If all of the bridesmaids are wearing dresses in a solid color, have the maid of honor stand out in a dress with a print, like a floral, which Sanchez says adds just enough distinction from the rest of the bridal party. "The key here is to make sure the print coordinates effortlessly to the rest of the bridal party," he says. "Avoid prints that are out of theme. For example, a toile floral looks beautiful in a garden setting, while a graphic stripe would stand out too much." Floral dresses are especially appropriate for spring and summer weddings, even more so if they take place outdoors.

Woman wearing a floral thrill dress
Photo: Birdy Grey
Woman wearing a green off-the-shoulder floral dress
Photo: Lulu's
Pink and white floral dress
Photo: Show Me Your Mumu

Velvet Maid of Honor Dress with Satin Bridesmaid Dresses

You can keep the whole wedding party in one color and switch things up in terms of fabric instead. One way to do this is to have the bridesmaids all wear silk dresses, while the maid of honor wears a velvet dress. "Velvet pairs beautifully with satin fabric, which we see as the biggest up and coming bridesmaids fabric trend," Sanchez says. "There is a subtle nod to the 1950's when pairing these fabrics." Velvet and satin are also great fabrics for fall and winter weddings, Chen notes, saying that velvet especially is heavier to provide more warmth on chilly days.

Woman wearing a brown velvet dress
Photo: Azazie
Lovely scoop neck velvet dress
Photo: Birdy Grey
Off the shoulder burnt orange velvet dress
Photo: Revelry

Emerald Maid of Honor Dress with Sage Green Bridesmaid Dresses

Mixing up different fabrics and playing around with prints can be intimidating, so if you want to keep things subtle and a bit safer, you can have the maid of honor wear a different color. "Your maid of honor should look just special enough to feel unique, but not to the point where the party looks off balance and guests think that she may have ordered the wrong dress," Chen says. She recommends staying in the same color family instead of opting for a different color completely. One example: the maid of honor can wear an emerald color while the bridesmaids wear sage green (or another light green shade).

Deep neck green dress
Photo: Bella Bridesmaid
Square neck silk emerald green dress
Photo: Jenny Yoo
Woman wearing a green dress with a waist tie
Photo: Show Me Your Mumu

Glittery Maid of Honor Dress with Solid Bridesmaid Dresses

Another way to play around with different fabrics is to have the maid of honor in something sparkly while the rest of the bridesmaids are in a solid color. "If there is a hint of sparkle to the bridal gown, find a beaded or glittering gown for the maid of honor," Wolf says. This is a nice way to add sparkle to the wedding party without it feeling overwhelming. Keep these in the same color family so they look cohesive, and opt for heavier glitter in the cooler months—Pollard loves a glittery gown in the winter.

Blue thin strap glitter dress
Photo: Anthropologie
Brown glittery maid of honor dress
Photo: Revelry
Long pink sparkly dress
Photo: Reformation

Pink Maid of Honor Dress with Blush Bridesmaid Dresses

A fun color difference would be having the maid of honor wear a pink dress while the bridesmaids wear blush. "Remember, maid of honor dresses should create harmony, visual interest and elevation when looking at the bridal party as a whole," Sanchez says. Keep the pink hues similar enough that they all look cohesive. Brighter pink will make the maid of honor stand out more against blush, while softer pink hues, like rose, will make the difference more subtle. Blush and pink can work for almost any time of year, although will suit a spring or summer wedding best.

Long red square neck dress
Photo: Anthropologie
Long pink dress for maid of honor
Photo: Nuuly
Nude pink silk dress
Photo: Azazie

Silk Maid of Honor Dress with Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses

Pairing a silk maid of honor dress with chiffon bridesmaid dresses is a subtle mix of fabric, as the two aren't drastically different. "When mixing fabric textures, my recommendation is that you keep the colors the same," Sanchez advises. As for when to wear silk and chiffon, Chen notes that she thinks both are great for a spring wedding, as they feel romantic and soft.

Silk brown dress
Photo: Reformation
Cowl neck silk dress
Photo: Jenny Yoo
Knee length brown silk dress
Photo: Grace Loves Lace

V-Neck Maid of Honor Dress with Strapless Bridesmaid Dresses

Want to keep all of the dresses the same color but still have the maid of honor stand out? "The maid of honor could wear a different silhouette," Pollard suggests. "For example, if the other maids are in strapless dresses, perhaps the maid of honor wears a v-neck style." Opting for a different silhouette is probably the easiest way to achieve a subtle difference in dresses that is still very cohesive. V-neck gowns are also incredibly versatile and can be worn at any time of year.

V-neck blue dress
Photo: Nuuly
Long royal blue dress with v-neck
Photo: Anthropologie
Champagne v-neck dress
Photo: Bella Bridesmaids

Chiffon Maid of Honor Dress with Crepe Bridesmaid Dresses

Mixing chiffon and crepe is a more subtle way to do two different fabrics. The two aren't completely opposite from each other, yet there is a difference: chiffon tends to be more light, airy and flowy (Chen notes that it's great for spring or summer weddings), while crepe can be a bit smoother and more form-fitting. This mix of fabrics is also really versatile. While Chen likes chiffon for warmer weather, it can easily also be worn during colder months, and crepe can be worn at any time of year.

Olive green cowl neck dress
Photo: Revelry
Long green chiffon dress for maid of honor
Photo: Lulu's
Lime green chiffon dress
Photo: Anthropologie
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