The day you have dreamed about has come: your son or daughter is getting married. In the flurry of activities – dress and tux shopping, shower planning, cake tasting, and what feels like an endless supply of happy tears, the mother-of-the-bride-or-groom dress can feel like one more “added stress” in an endless checklist of wedding planning activities.

Mother’s dress shopping can feel overwhelming. We speak with moms daily who are at a loss on how to approach mother’s dress shopping, and we have answers to your most common questions:

“How formal should my dress be?” The wedding and reception venue will dictate the most appropriate attire for a mother’s dress. An outdoor summer wedding may call for a shorter dress, while a formal evening event will dictate a long gown or dressy pantsuit.

“Do I need to match the bridesmaids?” The short answer to this is: No. However, it is best to speak with the bride before deciding on a color palette to ensure she has no color preferences in mind.

“What color should I wear?” Keeping the bride’s color palette and preferences in mind, mothers are welcome to wear almost any color. Mothers should avoid ivory or white, to keep all attention on the bride, but can wear almost any other color. We recommend looking at the colors that your immediate family will be wearing, to ensure that your gown color coordinates well for photographs.

“Should the mothers coordinate colors?” Unless the bride specifies that she would like the mothers to coordinate colors, it is not customary for mothers to wear matching colors. Each mother should choose the color and style she feels her best in. If preferred, mothers can communicate their attire to one another to avoid any style mishaps.

“How soon should I shop for my dress?” While you may find the perfect dress and purchase it off-the-rack and ready to wear, more likely you will find a gown that needs to be specially ordered. In this case, your dress may take up to six months to arrive. Additionally, you will want to plan at least a month or two for alterations.

“Do I really need alterations on my dress?” Yes. Weddings are one of the most special celebrations, and as a mother, you will be one of the central focuses of the event. It is worth ensuring your gown fits flawlessly so you look and feel your best on the big day.

“I don’t love my {fill in the blank}. What should I wear?” Our favorite thing about mothers’ formalwear right now is that it is so unique, versatile, and flattering. Start shopping early to hone in on the styles and colors you look and feel your best in.

We know finding the perfect mother’s dress can be overwhelming. Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a great dress shopping experience!

At The Dress Shop, located in mid-Michigan, we want all brides to have an incredible bridal shopping experience, whether they choose to buy from us or somewhere else. We carry a full range of gowns featuring a large array of styles, silhouettes, trends, and price points, to ensure that every bride has the opportunity to fall in love. In addition, our talented bridal stylists are experts in bridal fashion, including finding the perfect pieces to complete the bridal look, from veils to jewelry to headpieces. For more information about The Dress Shop, contact us at 517-546-3600 or visit