23 Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses That Aren't Matronly
It's no secret that moms come in all shapes and sizes, yet it often seems like mother-of-the-bride and-groom dresses are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Most options seem as if they're created to fit some shapeless, so-called "over-fifty" body type. Worst of all, they're so demure that they almost look matronly. What woman wants that, especially on a day when she'll be photographed extensively? Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there are plenty of mom-appropriate styles that are both flattering and stylish. To ensure the most important ladies in your life look and feel gorgeous on the big day, we rounded up some of our favorite mother-of-the-bride dresses that aren't matronly—because that word should be banned from weddings and fashion entirely.
Luckily, none of the dresses we found could be described using that word, yet all are appropriate for women of all ages and for any style event. The important thing to remember when choosing a mom-appropriate dress is to be playful with elements like color, silhouette, or pattern rather than something like length. Necklines are another great fashion details that moms can have some fun with. But just as you would for any other occasion, you'll want to be wary of anything too showy—off-the-shoulder sleeves and deep Vs are sexy and elegant so long as they're not too revealing.
No matter what style direction you go in, there are plenty of mother-of-the-bride dress options out there that are far from matronly. Click though here to see a selection we love right now
This off-the-shoulder dress is perfect for an autumn wedding. The delicate details at the waist draw attention to the gorgeous neckline. It offers just enough coverage for a sexy, elevated mother-of-the-bride look.
Shop Now: La Femme "Surplice" Off the Shoulder Column Gown, $338, nordstrom.com.
A bright, color-blocked dress mirrors the cheery mood of a wedding. This option is perfect for a daytime affair, and it's guaranteed to pop in photos.
Shop Now: Roksanda "Nyimi" Color-Block Silk Midi Dress, $820, net-a-porter.com.
Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
High-low dresses offer the best of both worlds. This metallic floral appliqué gown is perfect for the mother of the bride that plans to dance the night away.
Shop Now: Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman Metallic Floral Appliqué High-Low Cocktail Dress, $700, saksfifthavenue.com.
This 1930s-inspired dress is elegant without feeling stuffy. An empire waist, scoop neckline, and careful pleats make this mother-of-the-bride dress a picture-perfect option for any soirée.
Shop Now: Erdem "Meril" Cotton-Blend Floral Jacquard Midi Dress, $3,840, matchesfashion.com.
A modern take on a Victorian-inspried silhouette looks dreamy when worn by mom at a daytime wedding.
Shop Now: Self-Portrait Pale Blue Chiffon-Trimmed Dress, $391, self-portrait.com.
Up the ante with a blue-hued satin gown. The bodice offers a nod to menswear, while the floor-length satin skirt adds a touch of luxe.
Shop Now: Lela Rose "Gathered Duchess" Satin Gown in Navy, $1,196, modaoperandi.com.
Go green with a sophisticated emerald-colored wrap dress. It's designed to hit below the knee, offering up the perfect midi-length.
Shop Now: Galvan "Callisto" Wrap Coat Dress in Jungle Green, $598, bloomingdales.com.
Swarovski crystals adorn the neckline and cuff of this single-sleeved gown. The light pink color mirrors the blushing bride.
Shop Now: Catherine Regehr One Shoulder Sheath with Swarovski Embellished Neck and Cuff, price upon request, catherineregehr.com.
ML Monique Lhuillier
Puffed sleeves and a wrap silhouette mean this dress is ultra-flattering.
Shop Now: ML Monique Lhuillier Ruffled Gown, $259, bloomingdales.com.
Bring the garden party into the evening with this simply stunning black-tie-worthy gown. An immaculately detailed bodice sits atop an ethereal skirt for a mother-of-the-bride dress that absolutely won't be described as matronly.
Shop Now: Tadashi Shoji "Kiyomi Enchanting" Embroidered Gown, $608, tadashishoji.com.
The mother of the bride will look gorgeous in this skirt that will swing along with her dance moves. A flattering halter top and color-blocked hem adds to the overall elevated, fun look.
Shop Now: Adrianna Papell Pleated Dress, $220, whitehouseblackmarket.com.
Button details line the front of this A-line dress with flouncy sleeves; the refined updates on the classic sundress make this a great option for a daytime or more casual wedding.
Shop Now: Kate Spade "Poppy Field" Jacquard Dress, $428, katespade.com.
Olive is a great color for a late summer wedding, especially when it's paired with the flattering shape on this mother-of-the-bride dress. Simply put, the look does not disappoint.
Shop Now: BLHDN "Espen" Dress in Olive, $220, bhldn.com.
Victoria Victoria Beckham
A simple flounce hem shift dress makes a statement without being too showy. This mother-of-the-bride dress's bright color and elegant construct will have everyone asking where you found this gorgeous dress.
Shop Now: Victoria Victoria Beckham "Pintuck" Flounce Hem Shift Dress, $495, shopbop.com.
Take a cue from The Great Gatsby and wear this flapper-inspired tiered dress for your son or daughter's elegant wedding.
Shop Now: Marchesa Notte V-Neck Pleated Foil Degrade Tiered Cocktail Dress, $265, bergdorfgoodman.com.
A classic sheath dress makes for a perfect mother-of-the-bride look. The twisted shoulder detail on this option makes this otherwise common shape feel a little more special.
Shop Now: Eloquii Twisted Shoulder Sheath Dress, $99.95, eloquii.com.
Be the lady in red at the wedding with this off-the-shoulder dress. The electric color ensures no one can miss the mother of the bride.
Shop Now: Badgley Mischka Off Shoulder Gown, $695, 11honore.com.
Floral appliqués line every inch of this black and gold-colored dress. This dress comes with an optional silk chiffon balloon sleeve crop overlay for extra coverage, and style.
Shop Now: Catherine Regehr "Jardin" Strapless Dress, price upon request, catherineregehr.com.
Rickie Freeman Teri Jon
This little black cocktail dress offers up extra intrigue with a ruffle running down the entire length of one side of the dress.
Shop Now: Rickie Freeman Teri Jon Black Dress with Organza Ruffle Detail, $570, terijon.com.
A hand-painted geode motif marks this elegantly draped dress as a win for any mother of the bride.
Shop Now: Lafayette 148 "Anita" Geode Print Dress, $898, lafayette148ny.com.
Coral is the epitome of summer, and this punchy mother-of-the-bride dress is perfect for any summertime nuptials. Its carefully placed pleating and single-strap add figure-flattering details.
Shop Now: Theia "Zibeline" Tea-Length Cocktail Dress, $795, saksfifthavenue.com.
This simple column gown oozes elegance with its amazing draping and off-the-shoulder cut.
Shop Now: Amsale "Pryce" Dress in Jade, $495, bhldn.com.
Make a statement as the mother of the bride in this floral printed cocktail dress. The unique oversized bow brings the wow-factor.
Shop Now: Badgley Mischka Floral Printed Bow Front Cocktail Dress, $495, badgleymischka.com.