Should the mothers of the bride and groom wear the same color?

  • Don’t confuse the guests with the same color
  • Co-ordinate but don’t copy
  • The same length dress looks good in photos
  • Look smashing not clashing
  • Her pantsuit, your dress – you’ll look great in the same color

There is no reason why the two mothers at the wedding need to wear the same color.  In fact this might actually end up being a really bad decision.

Some weddings are very highly color coordinated.  The bride may be arranging a celebration where color provides the unifying theme.  But does that mean that the mother of the bride and mother of the groom should wear the same color?

Don’t confuse the guests by looking similar to the Mother of the Groom

Many of the guests at the wedding will never have met either the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom.  But everyone will want to see who you are.  With so many colorful guests around it’s therefore important that both mothers are easily noticed. 

But if you wear the same color this makes it more difficult for guests to remember which is the bride’s mother and which the groom’s mother. 

If you both look at all similar – same hair color or height – then there are likely to be a couple of embarrassing moments when guests leave and thank you as the wrong person!

I know that at busy functions I always recall the color of the outfit even if I forget the face.  And to be honest, to guests much younger than you are, two women with grey hair in their sixties might look interchangeable.

How to get a coordinated look for a wedding photo

If the bride wants the wedding party to be color coordinated she is probably thinking about the photographs looking good.  She is hoping to achieve a harmonious look. 

But this can be achieved just as well through both mothers choosing outfits which tone with, but are not the same as, the bridesmaids.  If the bridesmaids are in pink then one of you can wear a very pastel pink whilst the other wears cerise.

But the photos will turn out just as well if both mothers are allowed to choose outfits in colors and tones that contrast with the bridesmaids.  If the bridesmaids are in pastels then the mothers could choose outfits in stronger colors such as navy and emerald green.

Both mothers should agree on dress length

You can also help the bride create a well-coordinated look to the photographs by both agreeing on length of dress. 

Once you as mother of the bride have decided on a knee-length frock then the groom’s mother can be asked if she would choose a similar length.  This will give a pleasing sense of balance to group shots. 

If you are wearing a floor-length gown and the groom’s mother can’t imagine doing such a thing, then she could be persuaded to wear a beautiful pant suit instead. 

It’s the length not the style that will be give harmony. 

Legs on show make quite a statement (as guys in kilts know well).  So knee-length with long will make the mothers look strikingly different, which may not be what the bride wants.

Mothers at a wedding should not choose styles which clash

What the bride is probably trying to avoid is the mothers clashing (so to speak).  So if one of you loves to turn heads with her vibrant style whilst the other prefers an understated look you may need to get together and chat. 

If that’s not possible then you should tell your daughter how you intend to dress and ask her to use her diplomatic skills to convey to the groom’s mother the style that is being set.  You may be asked to compromise a bit but don’t get persuaded to wear a frumpy outfit just because that suits everyone.

Here’s a post I wrote about avoiding stress when meeting the ‘other mother’ for the first time.

So there are many ways in which the wedding and the photos can have a look of balance and harmony. 

Get together over coffee with your daughter (and if possible the groom’s mother too, though that might be difficult to arrange depending on where you all live).  Take a look through online photos of weddings and flick through some magazines to see what well-coordinated wedding groups have done to achieve the look.

The only time when Mothers at the wedding should wear the same color

I think there is really only one situation in which same color outfits will look right for both mothers.  If one of you wants to wear a pant suit whilst the other is very much a dress person, then perhaps agreeing on a color might be worthwhile.

The main thing is for both mothers to feel they look as good as they can do.  This is a very special day for both of you and you want to feel wonderful.  Too many compromises over what to wear just to fit in with a theme are not a great idea. 

Your outfit must not only make you look good, it must also convey to the guests your personality.  After all, some of this personality will have been inherited by your daughter. 

Guests love to meet the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom to get a sense of what traits the couple are combining in this marriage.  If you and the groom’s mother look too similar guests will not have this fun.

Should the Mothers of the Bride and Groom wear similar hats? 

It is perfectly alright to choose different styles and colors for your headwear. 

To avoid an over coordinated look, if you are wearing similar style or color outfits try to find very different hats so that guests do not get you confused with each other. 

If the mother of the bride wants to wear a hat then the bride might reasonably ask that the groom’s mother wears one too. 

This could be a very small or simple affair, such as a flower, if she’s not too keen, or a fascinator if she feels too short to look good in a hat.

If the Mother of the Groom chooses an outfit first, must the Mother of the Bride wear something similar?

The mother of the bride has the right to choose her outfit first.  The bride can then decide if she feels the mother of the groom’s outfit is appropriate.  This depends on whether she wants a coordinated look to the wedding and the photos. 

Many brides simply want each mother to wear what they prefer, in which case one can wear sequins whilst the other wears lace.

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