Watching your son get married is one of the most memorable moments in a mother’s life, right up there with her own wedding. As the mother of the groom, you’ve raised your son and watched him grow, and now you have a front-row seat as your child says “I do” to their partner for life. And since this is such a special day, it absolutely calls for a special dress. Choosing what to wear is important as your ensemble will be captured in photos for a lifetime, so extra thought must be put into the style and, most importantly, the color of your dress.
To help you understand the nuances of MOG dressing, we consulted with fashion stylist Vanessa Valiente to break down everything you need to know in terms of dressing for this wonderful day.
Meet the Expert
Vanessa Valiente is a fashion stylist based in San Diego, California. She began her career in 2006 styling celebrity talent including Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Bo Derek, Morgan Fairchild, and Joe Manganiello. She has since expanded to editorials and catalog shoots, but her core focus is personal styling.
If you want to attend your son’s wedding in style, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our expert-approved fashion advice for mothers of the groom, from what color to wear and shopping tips to help you find the perfect dress.
What Is the Mother of the Groom Expected to Wear?
Like the mother of the bride, the groom's mother should wear a dress that fits the wedding dress code, taking into account the venue and the time of year. If you’re not sure where to start looking, retailers like Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter, and BHLDN offer gorgeous gowns for every wedding style, from elegant eveningwear fit for a black-tie wedding to chic satin maxi dresses perfect for fall or winter nuptials.
"The mother of the groom is expected to meet the formality level of the mother of the bride and bridesmaids," says Valiente. "Get the opinion of the couple for colors you should or shouldn't wear, and don't wear anything more formal than the bride."
As long as it falls within the wedding style and colors, mothers of the grooms should be free to wear whatever dress fits their unique personal style. The groom's mother should feel confident and comfortable in her wedding day attire.
The Best Colors for a Mother of the Groom
The best colors for the mother of the groom are dependent on the dress code, venue, and season. "Wear a flattering color that compliments the color palette of the wedding," advises Valiente. For example, jewel tones and earthy hues are perfect for fall nuptials, while formal gowns in navy or silver would be ideal for black-tie weddings.
A great rule of thumb is to consult the bride for inspiration and direction, as it relates to the wedding theme and colors. Some couples may ask their parents to coordinate with the wedding party, so make sure you check with the couple before you start shopping.
Colors a Mother of the Groom Should NOT Wear
It’s best to avoid wearing white or any color that resembles the bride's wedding outfit. You may also want to steer clear of blush, beige, or other light neutral tones that may appear lighter on camera. "Skip black or white, unless the bride and groom have requested it. And do not match the bridal party colors unless requested to do so," says Valiente.
It doesn’t hurt to send a picture of your prospective wedding outfit to the couple before you buy it, just to be on the safe side.
What to Look for in a Mother of the Groom Outfit
When you’re shopping for a mother of the groom outfit, you want to buy something that makes you look and feel incredible. As the groom's parent, it’ll be a long day, so you want to be as comfortable as you can be in a semi-formal to formal dress.
"The mother of the groom is just as valuable a participant in the wedding as the mother of the bride, but communication is key," says Valiente. "Don't shop until you are sure there are no requests from the bride and groom. When in doubt, wear a dress that makes you feel great, compliments your skin tone, and doesn't upstage the bride."
As you’re shopping, keep in mind the wedding venue, color palette, and dress code. Mid-length to floor-length gowns in dark or jewel tones are almost always appropriate for formal weddings held in the fall or winter, while shorter dresses in bright or pastel colors work well for a more casual wedding. Wrap silhouettes are flattering on nearly any and all body types, along with a tasteful V-shaped neckline to help elongate the silhouette.
When should I start shopping for my mother of the groom outfit?
To be on the safe side, we suggest that you start shopping for your dress six months before the wedding. This ensures that everyone has plenty of stress-free time to have alterations made if necessary. If you’re in a pinch, many e-commerce sites like Net-a-Porter or Nordstrom offer rush shipping.
Should the mother of the bride and mother of the groom wear different colors?
Generally yes, according to Valiente. "Open communication is key to nailing the color selection," she says. "If the mother of the bride is matching the bridesmaids' color palette, the bride and groom might request the mother of the groom to also match. But if no one has asked the mother of the groom to match the bridal party, it's best to choose a different color, but not one that clashes." Wearing variations of the same color that coordinate with the rest of the wedding party is a great way to complement the color scheme without being too matchy-matchy. The moms can also differentiate their looks with jewelry, shoes, as well as their hair and makeup.
Does the mother of the groom get ready with the bride?
It's customary for the getting ready suite to be reserved for the bride and her bridesmaids. Unless the bride says otherwise, make plans to get ready at the hotel or another location. However, we do suggest stopping by the bridal suite a few hours before the ceremony—while the wedding party is getting ready—to give the bride your best wishes.