Best mother of the bride outfits 2022—chosen by fashion stylist Gemma Sheppard

The best mother of the bride outfits to look sophisticated yet stylish on your daughter's big day

best mother of the bride outfits ideas with Gemma Sheppard and image features a woman in a pink fascinator
(Image credit: Future)

Watching your daughter get married is of the most significant events of your life, making selecting the best mother of the bride outfit no easy task. A time for major celebration while the attention will be on the bride, it's important for you to feel and look good too.

When it comes to working out what to wear to a wedding, the best mother of the bride outfit requires time and preparation. From the best dresses to a more tailored coat and jacket ensemble, selecting the right look for your daughter's big day can be rather stressful. A good place to begin is to ask your daughter and the groom if they have any preferences about what you wear. If they've already chosen the best bridesmaid dresses, a color palette might already be in play, so even if you'd pictured yourself in bright color clothing, there are lots of other people and outfits to consider and of course, wedding photographs to think of, so there may be a palette you're requested to stick to. It's also wise to find out how formal the occasion is. If the day is more relaxed such as a garden event, you might be able to wear one of the best midi dresses, however, if it's a black-tie event, there will be an entirely different set of dress codes at play. Once you’ve established these ‘rules’, you can get shopping.

The style of the day will very much be guided by the type of wedding the couple are having. However, the rules of formal dressing have changed drastically over the last decade, with personal taste and style playing a greater role than ever before. While it's not a necessity to take into consideration the best mother of the groom dress ideas, it is good etiquette to speak to your daughter's future mother-in-law to at least ensure the pair of your don't clash on the big day. Remember the day will be a long one, so feeling comfortable is also an important factor. If you'd rather wear a trouser suit and invest in one of the best blazers, or would feel better in a stylish dress to hide a tummy, these are all things to consider before you start shopping. You may also want to enlist the help of professionals. A number of department stores offer in-house personal styling services that you can utilize for some extra help. They'll be able to consider your body type and help direct you in terms of cuts, colors and show you how to inject the latest fashion trends 2022.

The best mother of the bride outfits to shop now

1. Beach wedding

With an abroad or beach wedding, you can pretty much guarantee great weather and this style of nuptials is naturally a little more relaxed. However, the trick here is making sure you look wedding-ready, rather than poolside glam. 

First and foremost, consider your fabric choice. You'll want to opt for natural fabrics such as linen, silk or cotton and avoid anything too tight-fitting, as you'll want there to be good circulation and airflow to avoid overheating. You could also look to some of the best beach cover-ups such as a kaftan with detailed jeweled embellishment as a starting point. For a fashionable twist add a pair of this season's best sunglasses and some bright chunky jewelry to evoke the fun and sunny feel of the event. 

2. High tea party wedding

Micro weddings are becoming more popular with many couples saying their vows at a registry office and then celebrating with a few close friends and family. These types of weddings have a more formal dress code than a beach wedding, but less so than an evening, sit-down dinner. At a high tea party, vibrant, bold colors and patterns are the classic dress code and you can draw on inspiration from this season's dopamine dressing trend for a pop of mood-boosting brights. This is a chance for you to go big and go bold. Tea-length dresses fall above the ankle and below the knee, so are a great choice for showing off your best designer heels.

3. Intimate Garden Wedding

Many lucky couples celebrate their nuptials in a family garden but just because this is an intimate affair, don’t mistake the dress code for casual. If the bride is wearing a traditional wedding gown, chances are she’ll want her guests to dress accordingly. Gardens evoke feelings of romance so reflect that in your outfit and choose a midi or maxi dress with a floral print or ruffles, for maximum femininity and elegance. Instead of a hat, opt for a padded headband, which offers a 3D effect. Hugely popular for 2022, if you want further guidance on this trend, check out our guide on how to wear a headband.

4. Formal wedding

An evening wedding tends to be more of a ‘black-tie’ event, so a full-length dress is expected. This is the one wedding where it is acceptable to wear black, however, check with your daughter that she’s happy for the bridal party and more specifically the mother of the bride to wear this usually frowned upon color. An excuse to really get dressed up, you'll want to look for jewel tones and intricate beading and sequin embellishment for a statement look. For trouser wearers, look to the best tuxedos for women as a jumping-off point for an evening look that still feels glamorous but suits your style needs.

5. Cocktail Wedding

In between a day and evening event, a cocktail wedding outfit balances formal and informal attire and bridges the gap between day and evening wear. Cocktail dresses per sé are always beautiful and glamorous but avoid a ball gown and plump for a midi-length dress or a knee-hitting hemline for total sophistication. With this look, finishing touches count. Take your look to the next level by reflecting your makeup in your accessories and opt for a little shimmer in your eye shadow. If you prefer to wear trousers you could also look for one of the most flattering jumpsuits for one of the best mother of the bride outfits.

6. Summer Wedding

Although you can never guarantee sunshine, if it’s a dry day, summer weddings feature long periods outdoors, whether that’s for photos, reception drinks or mingling. If the sun’s playing hide and seek, a maxi or mid-length dress will keep you warm when it’s cloudy while remaining loose if the day becomes warm. Fabric choice is always important with a maxi dress, avoid looking like you’ve turned up for a day by the pool by steering clear of jersey t-shirt material or anything that creases too much. Materials such as chiffon and silk are good options for keeping the look formal and elegant. 

7. Fall Wedding

Every Fall bride hangs on to the hope that they'll be blessed with a surprisingly balmy day, so be prepared that some photos might be taken outside. And while you might get lucky, it's better to be prepared for cooler temperatures. Opt for closed-toe shoes, slightly darker hues and midi length dresses or a trouser suit to usher in the Fall season. If you're looking to balance a pear-shaped body try a structured jacket with strong shoulder pads as this will balance out your hips and create a narrower waistline. Team with elegant palazzo pants that will skim your silhouette and offer a feminine finish. 

8. Winter Wedding

The best mother of the bride outfit for a winter wedding gets the luxury of drawing inspiration from Christmas party wear. Embrace sumptuous fabrics such as velvet, sequins and faux fur for a fun and glamorous party look that feels seasonally appropriate too. Winter weddings tend to have a darker color palette to reflect the upcoming festive season—rich burgundies and moss greens, russets and ambers are perfect. Aside from your outfit for the ceremony and party, you'll also want to invest in one of the best winter coats with a more glamorous feel than your traditional everyday jacket, so you can arrive in style.

What colors can a Mother of the Bride wear?

As with the rest of the wedding guests, unless requested by the bride, the mother of the bride and other guests should not wear white. But when it comes to the other colors a mother of the bride can wear, the only real limitations are made by the couple themselves. Discuss with your daughter if there are any specific hues she would like you to wear on the big day. The couple may like you to coordinate with the rest of the wedding party, or they may be laissez-faire, happy for you to simply consider 'what color suit me?' and make your own decisions. However hues including plum, rose, grey, champagne, navy blue, taupe and sage green compliment most wedding color schemes.

Black is largely thought to be inappropriate for a wedding, particularly for the bridal parties family, however, if the event is a black-tie, formal dinner, black-based evening wear may be okay. As always, it is wise to check with the couple before purchasing a black outfit. 

Gemma Sheppard's Must Have's

Gemma Sheppard is an international fashion stylist with a successful consultancy business working with luxury and high street fashion brands. Resident stylist on Channel 5’s award-winning makeover show 10 Years Younger in 10 Days, Gemma is a TV regular and frequently dominates the news headlines.

Gemma’s ability to defy trends and shatter expectations means her extensive roster of clients stay at the forefront of style conversation. Whether a platinum-selling pop star, a talent show judge or award-winning, prime-time TV presenter, Gemma’s fashion-forward styling gets her clients noticed for the right reasons.