What Should the Mother of the Groom Wear?

Wondering what the mother of the groom should wear to your wedding? Read on for our complete guide.

By Emily Forrest

mother of the groom
Photo by Eyes 2 See Photography

Mothers are always valued members of a couple’s wedding party, whether it’s the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom. Both are honored and appreciated for their contributions to the bride and groom’s big day.

The mother of the groom in particular has several responsibilities, including helping plan the guest list for the groom’s side of the family and hosting the rehearsal dinner. It’s only natural that she looks exceptional when the big day rolls around. But what exactly should the mother of the groom wear?

Wedding Etiquette for the Mother of the Groom

Depending upon how much of a stickler for tradition you are, there may be etiquette rules your family members and guests must follow. These rules may include a few about the wedding attire for the groom’s mother.

Dress Buying Traditions

Wondering if there’s a difference between the mother of the bride dress and the mother of the groom dress? Traditionally, the mother of the bride decides on her dress first and then informs the groom’s mother. The mother of the groom can then get a dress that complements the mother of the bride dress on the wedding day.

Keep in mind that the two moms do not have to dress identical at all—the two dresses just have to be complementary, so they don't clash with each other, the wedding theme, or the bridesmaid dresses.

It’s worth noting, though: Nowadays, this tradition is considered more of a guideline than a hard rule. Still, it’s good guidance—especially if you haven’t heard otherwise.

Mother of the Groom Dresses Photo Credit // Rengim Mutevellioglu

Dress Etiquette

As stated before, the mother of the groom is an honored part of the special occasion, and she should dress accordingly. Both the mother of the bride and groom should select dresses that are similar in style and length and complementary to the wedding color palette and theme.

Before any shopping is done, consult with the bride or groom to get a better idea of their vision for the wedding day. For instance, flashy dresses and distracting colors wouldn’t be appropriate for a wedding with a soft, vintage theme. The mother of the groom should also avoid particular styles, such as low-cut necklines, thigh-split dresses, or tight skirts.

Just keep in mind: Within reason, the mother of the groom should be able to dress according to her personality and comfort.

Dress Shopping Is Bonding Time

In today’s culture, mothers of the bride and groom often go dress shopping together and view it as an opportunity to bond and get to know one another better. Other moms might shop with the bride and bridesmaids as well, opting to make it a big gal’s day complete with a fancy lunch or dinner. This not only helps everyone get to know each other better, but also helps ensure that everyone looks great and dresses don’t clash.

Wedding Etiquette for Stepmoms of the Groom

If the groom’s family is a blended family, it can sometimes get complicated. The mother of the bride is only obliged to inform the mother of the groom about her wedding attire. Stepmothers, on the other hand, are the groom’s responsibility. It’s up to him to give her the required information, so that she can dress appropriately.

Of course, this may be different in every family, because it depends on how close the groom is with his stepmother. If she’s considered a close family member and you plan to seat her in front with other family members, then she should choose her outfit in keeping with the colors and theme of the rest of the wedding party and family. However, if the two are not close and she is considered merely a guest, then she will be seated with guests and should have full freedom to dress however she likes (assuming it’s wedding appropriate!). There’s really no need for her attire to match the immediate family or wedding party—unless she just wants to.

Color Dos and Don’ts


There’s no end to the color palettes and wedding themes a bride might choose from. Depending on the theme, many mothers of the groom favor colors like:

  • Blues
  • Blushes
  • Mauves
  • Lavenders
  • Mint Green
  • Peach

If your wedding is a formal one, some mothers of the groom might prefer to wear shades of gold, dark silver, or even black. Other darker colors that might be worn include shades of :

  • Navy
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Red


Remember, it’s a big fashion faux pas for someone in the immediate family or wedding party to wear white or any variation thereof. Even neutral colors like cream or beige are against dress code.

Of course, some brides might not mind; some may even want their bridal party in white. When in doubt, though, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Wedding Attire Styles for the Mother of the Groom

It’s important to consider age, body shape, and the time of year when deciding on a dress style for the mother of the groom.

Body Shape

Different dress shapes flatter different body types:

  • Someone who is wider at the shoulder and narrower at the hips, like an inverted triangle, might look best in V-necklines and A-line skirts, with a nipped waist to create a shapely silhouette.
  • Someone with wider hips should focus on accentuating the top of her body with detailing or an off-the-shoulder neckline, along with fit and flare dress styles.
  • Someone with an hourglass figure should avoid baggy and loose dresses, or run the risk of looking frumpy.
  • Someone with a rectangle body shape might consider more form-fitting dresses.

However, remember that these are just tips and guidelines. It’s more important to make sure that whatever style of dress the mother of the groom wears, she feels comfortable and attractive.

Time of Year

The mother of the groom should feel comfortable through the wedding ceremony and reception. That’s why it’s important to consider the season and whether or not the venue is indoor or outdoor when choosing a dress. For example, the mother of the bride can get away with wearing a casual sundress for an outdoor, summer beach wedding, but should wear a formal dress for an indoor, black-tie affair.

During colder months, dresses can be accessorized with shawls, faux fur, and shrugs. Tailored jackets are another option that look great and help keep the groom’s mom toasty and warm. Also, if it’s simply too cold for a dress, pantsuits can be a good option to keep the legs covered.

Depending on where you live, spring is typically warm, which means she could wear tea-length and cocktail dresses and be perfectly comfortable. Summer is also a great season for tea-length dresses.


Remember, there is such a thing as too sexy. The mother of the groom should avoid wearing anything that’s overtly sexy, such as deep necklines with cleavage or skirts that flash the thigh. If you know that the mother of the groom tends to dress a little on the risqué side, there’s nothing wrong with asking her to wear something that’s age-appropriate.

Mother of the Groom Dresses Photo Credit // Stocksy

Don’t Forget Accessories

No outfit is complete without matching accessories. For a mother of the groom, accessories might include:

  • Small clutch purse
  • Medium tote purse
  • Stylish hat or headband
  • Pretty necklace and earrings
  • Bangle bracelets

Whatever accessories she wears, it should be something that complements her wedding attire and highlights her own unique style without taking attention away from you.

If the mother of the groom is uncomfortable with the neckline or sleeves of her chosen wedding attire, she could always add a trendy scarf or shawl. This does double duty by covering her up more and accessorizing her look.

Wedding attire for the mother of the groom really isn’t that complicated. Once there’s a theme, color palette, and venue in place, she’ll be able to pick just the right dress.

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