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Jovani Short Mother of the Bride 2-piece Dress
Jovani Short Mother of the Bride 2-piece Dress

How to Choose a Mother of the Bride Dress

By Sabah KarimiSHOP.COM Associated Content Writer

All eyes may be on the bride and groom on the Big Day, but the mother of the bride also plays an important role in the wedding and needs to be photograph-ready in a flattering ensemble. When choosing the mother-of-the-bride dress, it's important to consider the style and theme of the wedding, the bridal gown design and a dress that flatters the mother's figure. From sweetheart necklines to tea-length dresses, you have several options from which to choose.

The Basics

Step 1 Length: The mother of the bride typically wears a more conservative style of dress. Choose a tea-length or floor-length A-line dress or a trumpet-style skirt that best flatters your figure.
Step 2Style: Choose a style that is in line with the bride's cut and style. For more traditional weddings, choose a trumpet-style skirt or ball gown style. For trendy weddings, stick with a straight cut, floor-length or knee-length dress.
Step 3Color: The best mother-of-the-bride dress complements the color of the wedding dress, and it doesn't have to match the bridal gown or even the bridesmaids' dresses. Steer clear of white, cream or ivory; focus instead on a complementary color that matches the theme of the wedding.
Step 4Embellishments: Lace trim, pearl accents and flowers can add an elegant and sophisticated touch to the dress. However, make sure that the embellishments are subtle. The mother of the bride should not become the center of attention.
Step 5Sleeve Length: A sleeveless mother-of-the-bride dress can be accessorized with a matching bolero or wrap. Choose a ┬ż-length sleeve or full-length sleeve for a more conservative look.

The Lingo

Tea Length: A dress that ends just below the knee and is designed with a fitted, elegant cut. A good match for petite and hourglass figures.
Cap Sleeve: Sleeves that end a few inches below the shoulder. Good for mothers who want the look of a sleeveless dress with a little more coverage.
Trumpet Style: A fashion-forward style that adds curves to an otherwise straight figure. Available in a variety of necklines and in both sleeveless and cap-sleeve styles.
Sweetheart Neckline: A cut that draws attention to the d├ęcolletage and emphasizes the bust line. Typically a sleeveless dress that can be accessorized with a bolero, shrug or wrap.
A-Line: Flatters almost all body types and sizes by elongating the figure. Available in bateau neck, sweetheart neckline, V-neck and sleeveless styles.

The Experts

The Knot suggests starting the search with several color options in mind, but staying away from white and similar colors. Turn to designers including Faviana for a unique array of color options.
Hudson Valley Weddings suggests strapless gowns with shawls or bolero cover-ups because these can be "stunning and elegant fashion statements." Try the Sean Collection beaded sheath dress.

The Brands

Sean Collection: Sophisticated and elegant dresses with matching jackets. Choose from tank dresses with hand-beaded styles and full-length skirts. Try the rose crochet formal evening dress and jacket.
Faviana: Features designer dresses in trendy cuts and styles. Choose from embroidered and beaded styles that complement the bride's dress. Try the formal evening gown No. 6561.
Jovani: Founded in 1980, Jovani Fashions is a family-owned fashion house that designs and manufactures elegant women's evening attire. Inspired by the high-fashion scene in Europe, the company was founded on a vision to create a designer women's evening line that would cater to all types of women and would fill the empty space in the global fashion market at the time.
Bianchi The House of Bianchi is a vintage brand available at various vintage stores and online auction sites. These elegant gowns are designed with tulle, chiffon and strapless bodices, and can be complemented with a wrap or bolero. Try the Bianchi formal taupe mother-of-the-bride dress.

The Price

$: For the mother or bride on a budget, choose elegant and simple styles that complement the wedding theme and flatter the figure. Low-priced gowns start at about $100. Some designers, including the Sean Collection, offer a complete ensemble for about $150.
$$: Mid-range mother-of-the-bride dresses cost $200 to $300 and include embroidered styles, dresses with brocade accents and two-piece skirt and bodice ensembles. Try Caviar to get the entire ensemble for a few hundred dollars.
$$$: Couture mother-of-the-bride dresses and designer-inspired styles cost $300 and up and may replicate celebrity gowns and high-fashion designs straight from the runway. Try this Kate Winslet-inspired dress by Faviana to get celebrity style.