The Mother of the Groom Dress Etiquette Moms Need to Read

From who picks the outfit to which colors are best.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Sep 01, 2020

As the mother of the groom, there's no denying that your son's wedding is monumental for you. In addition to helping the couple with select planning tasks, you'll have an important role in the wedding party on the big day. Because of this, you'll need a special outfit for the nuptials. Here's the good news: Mother of the groom dress etiquette has evolved over the years. In the past, moms of both the bride and groom traditionally wore matronly dresses—but that's hardly the case anymore. Now, moms are encouraged to wear a look that makes them feel fashionable and confident (with the bride's approval, of course).

Before you start shopping for mother of the groom attire, there are some important considerations to take into account first. Here, we'll break down mother of the groom dress etiquette every mom should read. We answer the most common style questions, like what the mom of the groom should wear and what color the outfit should be. Once you brush up on mother of the groom dress etiquette, you'll be well equipped to find a stunning outfit for the big day.

What Does the Mother of the Groom Wear?

Mother of the groom dress etiquette isn't complicated. Like the bride's mom, the mother of the groom should wear an outfit that fits the style of the wedding. The season and venue can both help determine what sort of outfit the mother of the groom wears. Elegant evening gowns, lace midi dresses and chic jumpsuits are all appropriate options for moms. The mother of the groom dress should also follow the wedding's dress code. Formal weddings will require an upscale dress or pantsuit, while the outfit can be more relaxed for a casual wedding. In general, the mother of the groom should wear something that's comfortable and flattering. Go for a look that shows off your personal style—there's no reason you can't wear an of-the-moment trend or your go-to silhouette.

What Color Should the Mother of the Groom Wear?

It's encouraged to steer clear of wearing white, blush or neutral hues that can look white on camera unless specifically approved by the bride. These shades may look similar to the bride's wedding dress, and it's always best to avoid any color mishaps. However, some couples may want an all-white wedding party—if that's the case, wearing a frosty hue is perfectly okay.

The couple may also want family members to coordinate colors with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Work with the to-be-weds to determine a few colors that would complement their preferred palette. Having this conversation before shopping will ease the process for everyone involved. (Plus, it'll narrow down dress options for you too.)

Who Picks the Mother of the Groom Dress?

You're responsible for picking your wedding day outfit—you'll be the one wearing it, after all. Despite this, the mother of the groom is still encouraged to talk about potential outfits with the mother of the bride and the couple. Having an open conversation from the start will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to wedding day fashion.

Should the Mother of the Groom Match the Mother of the Bride?

No, the mothers of the bride and groom don't need to match on the wedding day. Both are encouraged to wear outfits that represent their personal style. If the couple does prefer to have the moms wear complementary outfits, though, work together to find colors or silhouettes that look great together. (For example, two dresses with bold patterns or bright colors may clash in photos.) By coordinating dresses, the mothers of the bride and groom will avoid mismatched colors or one dressing far more or less casually than the other. If the moms do end up with very similar gowns, they can differentiate their looks with accessories like jewelry or hair pieces.

When Should the Moms Buy Their Outfits?

Brides get their dresses early in the planning process (ideally a year to nine months before the wedding date), and moms should plan to find their looks shortly after. This ensures that everyone has plenty of stress-free time to have alterations made if necessary. Traditional etiquette says that the mother of the bride should get her outfit first, but this isn't a steadfast rule. By having open communication throughout the process, families can work on a timeline that best fits their needs.

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