20 Winter Mother of the Bride Dresses That Exude Elegance

Look good and stay warm.

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bride and mother

Photo by Stanlo Photography

Dressing for a wedding that takes place in the middle of the winter is very different than dressing for summer nuptials. Since winter weddings are generally indoors, they tend to be more formal; and if you're in a place where the temperatures drop really low during the winter months, you'll want to find an ensemble that looks and feels seasonally appropriate.

As the mother of the bride or groom, looking your best is always a top priority, as is feeling comfortable all night long. So, donning a winter mother of the bride or groom dress that is warm, but doesn't leave you feeling overheated (you don't want to be sweating on the dance floor), is of the utmost importance.

You'll probably want to skip gowns made of light materials such as linen or chiffon, and instead look for dresses crafted from heavier fabrics. Velvet, a heavy crepe, satin, silk, and pique are all excellent choices that look just right for the season. As for colors, bright hues like turquoise or pastel pink may not fit in. Darker, more muted tones such as navy blue, burgundy, or dark green are always lovely choices, and even black can work. Of course, you'll want to make sure the color of your gown works well with the wedding colors that the bridal party is wearing.

Heavy beading, like a dress with a lot of sequins or something with sparkly embellishments, can also suit a winter wedding better than a summer wedding. And while sleeveless or strapless is perfectly fine, you may want to opt for long sleeves or a dress with a matching capelet, especially if you'll be taking photos outside.

To help make this process a little bit easier, below is an array of options to get you started on your shopping.

Best Beaded: Adrianna Papell Hand-Beaded Illusion Long Gown

beaded gown

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell

Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

Glittering beads are hand-sewn all over this dress, making it look sparkly without being over-the-top. Between that and the long sleeves, this dress could really only be worn in the winter.

Best with Matching Jacket: Oleg Cassini Satin and Lace Dress

dress with matching jacket

Courtesy of David's Bridal

Size: 14-24 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 7 days

A very traditional mother-of-the-bride look, this purple gown comes with a matching jacket. When the jacket is removed, this is just a sleeveless gown, but the added sparkle makes this one fun.

Best Sequin: Mac Duggal Sequin Capelet Mesh Gown

sequin gown

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Size: 4-8 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund anytime

Rivers of sequins in different color metallics, like yellow and rose gold, make this dress so unique. Mixed with the gray, it's a perfect look for a winter wedding.

Best Metallic: Tadashi Shoji Odette Sequin Dress

metallic gown

Courtesy of BHLDN

Size: 0-18 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

Metallics are a great shade for a winter wedding, and this silver one is a beautiful choice. Intricate details and a high neck make this so elegant.

Best Column Gown: Bronx and Banco Florence One-Shoulder Split Sleeve Gown

one shoulder gown

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Size: XS-XL | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This one-shoulder column gown is all about Grecian chic style, and we love that the deep shimmery blue-green hue works well for colder months. This is a lovely and unique choice.

Best One-Shoulder: Mac Duggal Asymmetrical Sequin Gown

one shoulder gown

Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Size: 0-16 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 90 days

A sleek shape and sequins make this gown feel glamorous and luxe. The deep green color is pretty and different, and it's hard not to love the elegance of the one shoulder.

Best Floral Design: Adrianna Papell Floral Beaded Gown

floral gown

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell

Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

Flutter sleeves and a beaded floral design make this dress feel romantic and feminine. The silver/gray color is also perfect for winter.

Most Classic: Oleg Cassini Plus Size Cape Gown with Sparkle Embellishment

cape gown

Courtesy of David's Bridal

Size: 14-24 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 7 days

This is another classic mother-of-the-bride look. The sparkle embellishments on the cape add a cozy, but elegant, feel to the overall ensemble.

Best Cape Gown: Adrianna Papell Hand-Beaded Long Column Gown

long sleeve gown

Courtesy of Adrainna Papell

Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This glittering gown is made even better with the long, flowing cape that can almost look like dramatic sleeves from the right angle. The illusion netting and beading are such a pretty mix, to boot.

Best Long Sleeves: Xscape Long Sleeve Beaded Chiffon Gown

long sleeve dress

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Size: 6-18 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund anytime

Lace, beading, and illusion netting make this dress feel just as glamorous as you want to feel on the day of your child's wedding. What's more, it comes in two different color options and an inclusive size range.

Best Velvet: Jenny Yoo Ryland Velvet Maxi Dress

velvet gown

Courtesy of BHLDN

Size: 0-26 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This velvet maxi dress is both simple and effortlessly chic. It comes in several different dark hues and the plunging neckline gives it some sex appeal.

Best Embroidery: Mac Duggal Yvette Dress

embroidered gown

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Size: 0-16 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

A beaded bodice and a floral skirt make this dress so feminine in a wintery way. It's a beautiful design in a classic silhouette.

Best Off-the-Shoulder: Adrianna Papell Metallic Crinkled Off-The-Shoulder Gown

off the shoulder dress

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell

Size: 0-20 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This dusty blue color is so beautiful and is a great option if you want something lighter that doesn't feel too summery. The off-the-shoulder neckline is also very chic.

Best Wrap Dress: Halston Falan Sequined Wrap Dress

wrap dress

Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Size: 0-16 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 90 days

This glittering dark silver dress is made more alluring thanks to the plunging neckline and high slit. It almost has a bit of a retro vibe to it as well, if you're into that look.

Most Simple: Jenny Yoo Issa Velvet Dress

velvet gown

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Size: 0-19 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

When we say this is a simple dress, we mean that in the best way. A minimalist look with romantic touches—like the off-the-shoulder neckline—this velvet gown is a beauty and doesn't need much else to stand out.

Best Casual: Anthropologie Slim Lace Maxi Dress

black lace dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Size: 00-16 | Length: Ankle-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This black lace dress might not be super casual, but it is fairly casual for a mother of the bride. We love that it still looks special without being overly glamorous.

Most Fun: Mac Duggal Feather Cap Sleeve A-Line Gown

feather dress

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Size: 2-18 | Length: Floor-length | Return policy: Full refund within 90 days

A floor-length, sparkling sequin gown is already fun enough as it is, but when you add some feathers along the sleeves? It's even better. This is a glamorous showstopper for the mother of the bride who isn't afraid to make a statement.

Most Traditional: Pisarro Nights Cold Shoulder Ankle-Length Dress

sparkling gown

Courtesy of David's Bridal

Size: 14-24 | Length: Ankle-length | Return policy: Full refund within 7 days

We love everything about this dress, from the sequins and sparkling details to the cold shoulder and the cape-style bodice. All of these elements come together to create a really traditional mother-of-the-bride gown.

For a New Year's Eve Wedding: Adrianna Papell Metallic Foil Long Gown

gold dress

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell

The champagne gold color and subtle shimmer throughout this dress make it a perfect option for a wedding taking place on New Year's Eve. Even better, the blousy sleeves give it a comfortable feel.

Most Sparkly: Adrianna Papell Petaluma Sequin Dress

sparkly short dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Size: 0-18 | Length: Tea-length | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days

This might be a shorter dress, but there's no shortage of glam here: sparkling with crystals, beads, and sequins, this dress is a fun one. The 3D appliques throughout make it even more interesting.

What to Look for in a Winter Mother of The Bride or Groom Dress

When looking for the perfect mother of the bride or groom dress for a winter wedding, you'll obviously want to keep the dress code in mind, and also consider the fact that your ensemble is generally a bit more dressed up than a typical wedding guest. For winter weddings, you may want to opt for a more formal full-length gown rather than something shorter, although you can, of course, wear a short dress if you want.

Long sleeves and capelets may be more comfortable if you're in a colder climate, and look for heavier fabrics like velvet, satin, or a thick crepe to keep you warm. As for colors, you may want to wear a darker hue that goes with the season. Always remember that your look should complement the bridal party rather than match exactly or clash completely.

FAQ
  • What kind of dress should the mother of the bride or groom wear?

    The mother of the bride generally wears a dress that is more formal than other wedding guests, while still keeping the dress code in mind. There's no need to wear a black tie gown if the dress code is cocktail attire, but many mothers of the brides do like to wear full-length gowns.

  • Should the mother of the bride or groom match the bridesmaids?

    The mother of the bride's dress does not need to be the same as the bridesmaid dresses. Moms can generally wear a different hue that complements the wedding colors, or a color that matches nicely.

  • Can the mother of the bride or groom wear a dress with long sleeves to a winter wedding?

    The mother of the bride or groom can definitely opt for a dress with long sleeves, especially for a winter wedding. Not only is this practical in cooler weather, but it can also look very elegant.

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, Forbes, Insider, Redbook, and Refinery29.

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