As the mother of the bride (or groom), there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect look for your child's wedding. First, you'll want to coordinate with the couple and ensure that what you wear will not clash with the wedding color palette. Next, opt for a look that will allow you to feel comfortable all night long, rather than something you think you have to wear. Last, but certainly not least, shop for dresses within your desired price range, as there is no need to break the bank to find a look you absolutely love.
While it might be exciting to search for wedding day attire, for moms on a budget, selecting an outfit for your child's big day can oftentimes feel overwhelming (since these pieces tend to come at a higher price tag). Luckily, given the vast range of ensembles available today, if you're looking for the perfect dress but want to stick to something more affordable, there are plenty of options for you to browse.
To help you find a budget-friendly look, we've rounded up the best mother-of-the-bride dresses under $200. Don't be afraid to skip the designer labels and opt for something that is equal parts affordable and beautiful.
Oleg Cassini Off-the-Shoulder Draped Glitter Knit Sheath
Size: 2-14 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Hand wash
This off-the-shoulder gown is a classic mother-of-the-bride dress. The glitter knit fabric gives it a really nice sparkle, and the navy blue color makes it a versatile option that would work for any season.
Best With Jacket
Le Bos Knit 2-Piece Jacket Dress
Size: 8-18 | Length: Knee-length | Care: Hand wash
The crinkle-knit fabric of this two-piece set is just one of the many elements that allow this ensemble to stand out. What's more, the jacket is a convenient layering piece that comes off to reveal a sleeveless dress, allowing for a two-in-one look.
Best Formal Option
Betsy & Adam Lace-Top Waterfall Detail Gown
Size: 4-16 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Spot clean
This lace top gown is an affordable option for a formal wedding. The bodice features pretty scalloped cuffs, and the waterfall hem adds some movement to the long skirt.
Best One Shoulder
Dress The Population Tiffany One-Shoulder Midi Dress
Size: XXS-XXL | Length: Mid-length | Care: Machine wash, line dry
Dress the Population's Tiffany dress is a great choice for the mother of the bride who wants to look sophisticated without wearing a gown. It has a figure-hugging fit and a flowing one-shoulder silhouette, all of which make for an elegant design.
ASOS Design Curve Velvet Bardot Midi Dress
Size: 12-26 | Length: Ankle-length | Care: Machine wash
For the mom looking for something more sultry, this black velvet midi dress nails it. With off-the-shoulder straps and corset detailing around the torso, this one feels sexy without being too overwhelming.
Lovers and Friends Galleria Gown
Size: XXS-XL | Length: Ankle-length | Care: Hand wash
Think of this number as your little black gown. With off-the-shoulder straps and a classic silhouette, this long dress is classic and sophisticated, and would work for any kind of event for a mother of the bride or groom.
Alex Evenings Mock Two Piece Midi Dress
Size: 14-24 | Length: Mid-length | Care: Hand wash, dry flat
Scalloped sleeves and glittering sequins along the bodice give this dress a feminine feel. We love that it provides the illusion of a two-piece set, in addition to the light blue shade which is a nice change from most darker-hued mother-of-the-bride ensembles.
For a Casual Wedding
Adrianna Papell Floral Embroidered Sheath Dress
Size: 0-20 | Length: Knee-length | Care: Dry clean
With sheer bell sleeves and a shorter hem, this floral dress is on the more casual side. While the embroidery makes it feel less classically bridal, be sure to check with the bride for approval on wearing this cream-colored outfit.
R & M Richards 2-Piece Pant Suit Set
Size: 6-16 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Hand wash
A dress isn't a requirement for the mother of the bride, and if you're more comfortable in pants, opt for a sophisticated and sleek pantsuit similar to this ensemble. This one, in particular, would look great at a casual or semi-formal affair.
Adrianna Papell Art Deco Beaded Blouson Dress
Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Spot clean
We love the scalloped beading throughout this Adrianna Papell gown, which adds a really pretty texture and sparkle to the ensemble. Additionally, the halter top and blouson silhouette contribute to the overall Art Deco-inspired look.
Best With Lace
Oleg Cassini Three-Quarter Sleeve Lace Sheath Dress
Size: 16-24 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Hand wash
This blush-colored dress features so many pretty feminine details, from the delicate lace bodice to the sparkling brooch on the side—plus, a keyhole cutout in the back. Overall, it is a classic and elegant gown in a beautiful color.
Best Cold Shoulder
Alex Evenings Cold Shoulder Ruffle Glitter Gown
Size: 4-18 | Length: Ankle-length | Care: Hand wash
The cold shoulder look can sometimes feel too trendy, but this gown offers a more timeless feel in spite of the silhouette. The overall glittery material makes this dress a great choice for a winter or fall wedding held at any locale.
Best Statement Sleeve
ASOS Design Open Back Maxi Dress
Size: 0-16 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Machine wash according to label
Add a bit of drama to your look with these puffy statement sleeves. Paired with the fishtail hemline, it looks glamorous, formal, and expensive.
Oleg Cassini High-Neck Glitter A-Line Gown
Size: 2-18 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Hand wash
We love the pretty pastel blue color of this sparkling dress, which comes in two other shades as well. With a keyhole neckline and a similar cutout in the back, this Oleg Cassini gown shows a bit of skin without feeling overwhelming.
Best Shorter Dress
R&M Richards Crew Neck Capelet Dress
Size: 6-16 | Length: Knee-length | Care: Hand wash
The attached capelet of this red dress makes it appear more dramatic than it would be on its own. We especially love the vibrant hue which would be a fun choice for a holiday wedding.
Eliza J Sleeveless Halter Velvet Gown
Size: 4-14 | Length: Ankle-length | Care: Machine wash
Eliza J's velvet halter gown looks and feels like a luxurious option, but at an affordable price point. With a keyhole in the back and some pretty draping on the bodice, this gown is a beauty.
Astr The Label Quinn Floral Cutout Midi Dress
Size: XS-XL | Length: Mid-length | Care: Dry clean only
Oftentimes, mothers of the bride stick to solid-colored dresses that, while eye-catching, won't threaten to steal any attention from the bride. If the wedding you're shopping for has a different vibe, though, then a unique patterned option, like this turquoise and orange one, is a fun choice.
Best Full Skirt
Jessica Howard Lace Bodice Satin Skirt Ball Gown
Size: 8-12 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Hand wash
Between the lace bodice, the satin ball gown skirt, and the bow along the waist, this gown is equal parts dramatic and feminine. It's a beautiful and classic choice, and one that you're sure to wear to future formal events.
Norman Kamali x REVOLVE V Neck Rectangle Gown
Size: XS-XL | Length: Ankle-length | Care: Hand wash cold
Bold and bright, this red dress features a slightly flared hem and a plunging V-neck, making it ideal for the mother of the bride who wants to stand out. What's more, it's made of slinky jersey material that feels very chic and comfortable to wear.
Adrianna Papell Crepe Jumpsuit with Cape
Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Care: Dry clean
This black jumpsuit is an extremely sophisticated and elegant choice. The attached cape sleeves make it a wonderful transitional piece between seasons, and you have the ability to dress it up even more with a nice pair of heels and statement jewelry.
Can you find a mother-of-the-bride dress for less than $200?
Yes! While many mother-of-the-bride dresses (usually gowns) can cost several hundred dollars, there are plenty of options that come in under the $200 price point (as shown above).
Does a mother-of-the-bride dress have to be a gown?
Many mothers of the bride (or groom) choose to wear a gown for their child's big day, but it's not a requirement. If you're attending a black-tie or formal wedding, then the dress code calls for a gown and floor-length attire. However, if the wedding is more casual or at a relaxed venue, shorter ensembles are acceptable. Additionally, you can opt for a pantsuit or a jumpsuit if dresses aren't your cup of tea.
Where can you buy affordable mother-of-the-bride dresses?
There are plenty of places to buy affordable mother-of-the-bride dresses, such as department stores like Macy's, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and Dillard's. You can also look at online retailers like ASOS, Revolve, and David's Bridal for affordable and off-the-moment pieces.
Why Trust Us
Contributing writer Jessica Booth is a freelance writer and formerly served as an editor for seven years. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Romper, Insider, Forbes, Redbook, and Refinery29.