Mother of the bride or groom | summer wedding | the frock outfit

Mother of the bride or groom: how to dress for a summer wedding

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 20 Comments

This post is dedicated to two beautiful brides-to-be.

Two beautiful brides-to-be who are getting married in summer.

Two beautiful brides-t0-be who are having more trouble helping their mothers and their grooms’ mothers find something to wear – than they did themselves.

Case no.1:  My mother-in-law-to-be is having trouble finding an outfit for our wedding. She is in her late 50s, blonde hair, blue eyes, a shorty and a size 14. She doesn’t want to wear a dress, and would prefer to wear pants and a top. She’s not a fan of her upper arms, but a blazer would be too heavy for the summer weather. Please help!

Case no. 2:  My fiancé and I are getting married in late January and both of our mums (who are in their late 70s/early 80s) are really panicked about what to wear. One is slim and one a bit curvy and they both want to hide their arms. Any words of advice? Good suppliers? Their dress shopping is proving more stressful that mine was! 

See, once upon a time, it was a simple outfit path for the mother of the bride or groom to follow.

Choose something respectable. And by respectable I mean matronly. Make sure it doesn’t clash with the bride’s chosen colour scheme and rock up to said wedding ready to cry and laugh on cue.

Thankfully today we are long past the idea that mums on either side of the aisle have to look a certain way for a wedding.

Yes, the respectable factor will always be there. It’s a wedding, after all, Stylers. But matronly?

Forget it.

And what about if you’re just a guest … of a certain age? No official duties or photo obligations?

Remember the words from the Styling You Manifesto: Style doesn’t come with a use-by-date. Own your style … don’t conform to a “type” just because you think you should. Choose something that suits the occasion, makes you feel amazing … and screams personality.

YOUR personality.

Oh, and a little note about covering up arms and summer. Yes, I know it will be a little warmer than if you didn’t but I think this is a small price to pay for putting together a more polished outfit and feeling more confident when cameras are around. That’s of course if this is something that makes YOU feel more comfortable.

With the outfits below, I’ve called on the three-quarter sleeve summer jacket to finish off each outfit. The beauty of this is that once the formalities are done with, you may feel it’s ok to remove the jacket … and the outfit will still look the part.

I’ve included low heels with each but do feel free to go higher if that’s your thing. Everyone has their own heel tolerance level. Mine is practised at being higher than others but I get it that many like to hang out closer to the ground.

And don’t forget the statement accessory. The conversation starter. The necklace that gets noticed and complimented on will make you feel (almost) as amazing as the bride.

The pants outfit

Summer wedding | mother of the bride/groom | the pants outfit

1. Trent Nathan pants $109 @ Myer | 2.  Mimco choker $249 | 3. Witchery top $99.95 | 4. Olga Berg clutch $59.95 | 5. Basque summer jacket $199 @ Myer | 6. RMK shoes (on sale) $83.90 @ Style Tread

The frock outfit

Mother of the bride or groom | summer wedding | the frock outfit

1. Veronika Maine dress $229 |  2. Sussan jacket $119.95 | 3. Mineral Attraction necklace $149 @ Red Phoenix Emporium | 4. Trenery clutch $69.95 | 5. Styletread wedge $119.95

Have you got any tips for mothers of the bride or groom attending a wedding this summer? What labels or stores can you suggest these brides steer their mums and future mother-in-laws in the direction of?


  • I love the pink top (3) in the first pic, but I think I would be more inclined to wear it with a nice white skirt. Probably less practical, but a little more feminine maybe??

  • alison

    I’ve been a MOB twice. I think the key is to choose something that suits your figure and personality and something that is comfortable. If you are constantly adjusting an outfit everyone notices. So many MOBs go for an outfit that obviously comes from the MOB section and usually just doesn’t suit them.
    Recently I saw a MOB who rocked in her outfit. She is a little curvy. She had a designer red and black patterned long top over red 3/4 pants with stylish high heeled sandals finished off with a chunky necklace and clutch purse. It suited her so much. No pastel chiffon ensemble over suck-it-in undergarments for her!

  • Julie

    I think these are both lovely outfits Nikki. A well-dressed mother of the bride or groom with polished hair and makeup turns almost as many heads as the bride – and that’s the kind of respectable I’ll aspire to when my turn comes! xx

    • So many of the guests are friends of the mum of the bride or groom so yes, the spotlight is firmly on them too!

  • Kelly

    Great suggestions! I really like that navy dress too – very classic. My mum rocked her MOB outfit – she actually had two choices for the day. She ended up going with this shimmery olive pant suit (Anthea Crawford? I think) which just suited her perfectly and it was something she loved! It showed in the photos too! She looked amazing. Quite honestly I think some of the bridal shops that sell MOB outfits are to blame for making women think they need to wear ghastly old fashioned outfits.

    • Oh, that’s brilliant – and so important that she feels that way with the photos etc. And yes, some of the bridal shops need to catch up with the times … as they have a changed!

  • Mel

    I have the Witchery top in black. It’s hardly been off my back since I bought it! I wear it over my condom dress – a perfect length for that. I also wear it with a low slung belt under a short/colourful cardi. Perfect!

    • Oh, excellent to know Mel … I thought that would be the case – such a great shape!

  • Love your choices Nikki – polished and stylish, and ageless!

    • Thanks so much Nicoll … that was the aim – and to make the women feel comfortable!

  • Ainslie

    Love the black trenery clutch

  • Fantastic outfits Nikki! I have seen way too many older ladies wearing menopausal mauve or baby blue..just making them daggy and way too old!

    • Bahahaha … menopausal mauve … guess that won’t be making Pantone’s colour list!!

      • Tee Hee! I knew you’d like that! I always make the girls at work laugh when I say it too!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I am glad i don’t have this dilema yet, a few of my friends have though and I think it would be very hard to pick something for Mother of the Bride or groom epseicially in your early/late 40s or early 50s,as you are too young to look matronly and I know many women in their 50s and 60s and beyond that are chic and stylish,Great post Nikki,I have no weddings to go to at the moment but love your choices especially the Veronica Maine navy dress and those nude colour shoes from style tread .The only tips I would have would be what you have said and to look chic and stylish and wear something that suits your style and don’t just wear something you don’t like just because you think you have to,Own your own style,I love that rule becuase if you don’t your not being true to yourself.

    • That’s the greatest tip of all … own your own style. And work that style into an outfit appropriate for the occasion.

  • Lotus Phoenix

    Good choice with the navy Mineral Attraction necklace from Red Phoenix Emporium – navy is always chic and flattering! L xx