What Color Dress Does the Mother of the Bride Wear?

by Janet Wooldridge ; Updated September 28, 2017

Brides are the center of attention at weddings, but these occasions are also important events for their mothers. The mother of the bride will want to wear a dress that not only honors the occasion, but also does not impose on the bride's special day. The mother should consult the bride about her wedding colors and preferred style at least a month before the wedding, and then decide what color to wear.

Wear the Wedding Colors

Consider wearing the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses. Wearing one of the bride's chosen colors is the best way to show that you are a member of the wedding party and will look most attractive in the wedding photos.

Complement the Colors

If the bride would prefer that you do not wear her chosen colors, consider wearing a shade of the colors. You will complement the wedding party and look good in group shots. Bring samples of the bride's colors when buying your outfit.

Neutral Shades

Look elegant in a suit or semiformal dress (unless it is a formal wedding) that has a neutral tone, such as beige, champagne, gray, rose, lavender and some blue shades. Neutral tones enhance most colors, but find out what the wedding colors are to avoid clashing.

Seasonal Shades

Take into consideration which season the wedding will take place. Lighter tones are preferable for spring weddings, while darker tones are attractive during the fall. A silvery gray dress looks lovely at winter weddings.

What Not to Wear

White, including ivory and cream, is generally the color of choice for the bride, and nobody else should wear it, except maybe the flower girl. If the bride wears another color, ask her whether a white dress is acceptable, though traditionally it is not.

Other Colors to Avoid

Black and red are other colors that the mother of the bride should avoid. Unless the wedding has a black-and-white theme, black implies mourning. Red is not considered appropriate at weddings except in some cultures or at holiday-themed weddings. In addition, bright, clashing colors, such as hot pink or lime green, are usually inappropriate.