Your child's wedding day may very well be one of the most important days of your life, which often comes with feelings of both excitement and pressure. Sure, all eyes will be on the couple and what they're wearing, but it's also impossible not to notice what the mother has on as well. As the mother of the bride or groom, you'll be in countless photos, you'll have to mingle with almost every guest in attendance, and you may even have the spotlight placed on you while walking down the aisle or participating in a special dance. So finding a mother-of-the-bride dress, that is beautiful and stands out, is important for getting through the day in true style.
Regardless if you know exactly what you want to wear, shopping for the perfect ensemble will oftentimes feel overwhelming. Since mother-of-the-bride dresses tend to be more formal than other guests and family members, you will want to typically look for a floor-length gown (unless the wedding has a very casual dress code). Luckily, there are plenty of stores that sell dresses specifically with the mother of the bride and groom in mind.
If you're not sure where to begin your search, here are the best retailers to shop and find dresses that feel special enough for such a big day.
Nordstrom is a great choice as it has a dress section specifically dedicated to mother-of-the-bride dresses. They sell formal gowns and cocktail dresses that are versatile for any type of wedding, all in a range of price points (with some looks coming in at under $100). While you can probably find something in the mother-of-the-bride category, there are also thousands of other ensembles available on the site if you'd like to widen your options.
For understated gowns that feel elegant and chic, check out Anthropologie's mother-of-the-bride section. It's small but the dresses are versatile, and most looks are classic and simple options many moms will love. The site sells designer names, but many pieces come from their bridal brand, BHLDN, at prices that are typically a few hundred dollars or less.
For moms who are on a budget, David's Bridal is a great place to start. The wedding site has plenty of dresses available that were created with mothers in mind, and most of them are budget-friendly and affordable. Also, while many sites mostly sell trendy pieces, David's Bridal has a great range of conservative and traditional mother-of-the-bride and groom gowns, like matching jackets, dress sets, or formal pantsuits. Don't worry, though, they also offer of-the-moment looks, like bodycon short dresses and elegant off-the-shoulder gowns, if that's what you'd prefer.
Betsy & Adam
You'll find Betsey & Adam dresses in department stores like Macy's, but they also have their own website with an entire section dedicated to moms. The brand sells standard sizes as well as petite and plus-size gowns, with a range of silhouettes from floor-length to shorter looks. The best part? They're pretty affordable and most pieces are around the $250 price point, with styles that feel classic and traditional without being too conservative or frumpy.
Dillard's is another department store with an impressive mother-of-the-bride section, as well as plenty of other dresses to choose from. There's a wide variety to be found, featuring sparkling gowns fit for the holiday season to floral knee-length dresses that feel more casual. What you'll love the most is that Dillard's has a big selection of brands like Mac Duggal and Adrianna Papell, and they have special sizes for plus and petite moms.
Saks Fifth Avenue
For more high-end options and big-name designer gowns, take a look at Saks Fifth Avenue. The luxury department store features stylish gowns by names like Prabal Gurung, Oscar de la Renta, and Marchesa, as well as plenty of other well-established brands and newcomers. Many of the dresses cost a few thousand dollars, but there are plenty of options between $500 and $1,000 as well. At Saks, you'll find beautiful and unique looks that are more of an investment than just a dress.
With a large selection of both trendy and classic dresses, at fairly affordable price points, Adrianna Papell is considered a go-to when it comes to beautiful mother-of-the-bride dresses. You'll find solid color pieces that are versatile and simple, as well as lots of colorful floral patterns and more modern options like jumpsuits. You can find Adrianna Papell dresses in department stores like Macy's, but also directly on the brand's website.
Macy's has a nice assortment of more affordable gowns as well as pricier options. You'll often find brands such as Calvin Klein, Betsey & Adam, Adrianna Papell, and DKNY, plus every type of dress style you can possibly imagine. This is another department store with a category dedicated to mother-of-the-bride and groom dresses, making it an ideal search for your wedding day shopping needs.
Camille LaVie sells beautiful and fairly affordable gowns that feel formal without being stuffy. While many pieces feature trendy elements, they all still have a more versatile feel to them. You'll find full-length ballgowns with big tulle skirts, more fitted slinky gowns with slits, and bejeweled options that will glitter all night long. While prices can get high, most stay around a fair $250 price point.
Sachin & Babi
If you're looking for a gown that is unique and stunning, you can't go wrong with Sachin & Babi. The designer brand produces pieces that are whimsical and fun, chic and trendy, and sophisticated and classic. You'll find one-of-a-kind ball gowns in bright colors, traditional silhouettes in basic shades, and fun details like oversized bows. The color choices are also excellent.
Tadashi Shoji makes gorgeous gowns that are fun and flirty, without being too over-the-top. They're ideal for moms who want to wear something stylish and fashion-forward while still looking a bit more classic. You'll find shorter cocktail dresses that are great for a more casual ceremony, as well as plenty of stunning gowns made of interesting colors with plenty of different textures and designs.
If you aren't easily overwhelmed, Bloomingdale's offers a huge assortment of dresses and gowns, from a section that is dedicated to the mother of the bride and beyond. There's so much versatility here, from formal gowns and big designer names to more affordable and still beautiful pieces. This is a great place to shop if you're looking for a mix of high-end luxury and stylish mid-range ensembles.
Maybe the most budget-friendly option on this list, Lulu's offers hundreds of dresses that cost about $100 and less. If you don't want to spend a lot but still want to dress to impress, this is a great site to peruse. Many of the gowns do skew a bit younger and trendier, so if you want a more traditional mother-of-the-bride dress, you may not find it here. But, if you're looking for something stylish and affordable, it's a great place to start.