It's nearly your son's big day and, aside from the pride and giddiness you feel in anticipation, you also can't help feeling a little worried thinking about what to wear. Dressing for the role of a wedding guest is never easy, let alone if you have a seat at the top table. From essential tips on where to find the best mother of the groom dresses to our pick of dazzling dress options for every body type, our guide has got you covered this wedding season.
"A wedding is a perfect excuse to dress up."
Mother of the groom outfits are notoriously tricky to get right. You don't want to go over the top, risk looking too casual, or - heaven forbid - upstage the bride, but you understandably want the perfect dress to celebrate your son's big day. Here are eight tips to bear in mind before you say yes to the dress.
"Could you not ask the bride? I think historically the mother of the bride took the lead but now unless it's a very traditional wedding the bride will usually state her preferences."
"Check with the couple about any dress code first. Then have a chat with the bride's mother, as a courtesy to make sure you don't wear the same or clashing colours."
"Every time I start to write a list of what I will need to pack for the wedding, I get stressed out and give up!"
Dressing for an occasion is hard enough, let alone if you're having to cross an ocean to get to it. You will likely find yourself asking 'what should I wear for a wedding abroad?' The best thing you can do is research the climate and venue of the wedding to be prepared and plan your outfit accordingly, and remember that a beach wedding will differ in formality to a wedding in a stately home. If in doubt - ask!
"I was mother of the groom at two weddings last year and nobody wore a hat to either. If you really want to wear a hat, then wear one - it's a special day for you as well."
'Should I wear a hat to a wedding?' is always a question on people's lips. The most simple answer is to wear what makes you feel comfortable. If you think you will spend your time worrying about whether you look out of place, then a hat really isn't worth spoiling your day over. However, hats and fascinators can be a great accessory and the perfect finishing touch to your outfit - so long as you don't make too much of a statement. If you do decide to wear a hat or fascinator, go for a subtle design in complementary colours to your dress.
"I would chat with your future daughter-in-law and see what the colour scheme is going to be and try and match in with it. Don't do what I did and buy a red suit when she decided on pale blue trimmings."
If there is a colour scheme, it's best to try and bear this in mind when selecting an outfit. You don't have to be too matchy-matchy, but a simple nod to the colour scheme with similar and complementary colours is a good place to start.
"A classic straight dress, about knee-length, and matching jacket work better than faffing around with blouses tucked into skirts."
There are three ideal hem lengths we recommend for a classic mother of the bride or groom look. It will depend on the style of outfit you go for, but there are now many tall and petite ranges on the high street so you can find the best length for you. If you do find something you like and it's a little too long, don't despair as a trip to a tailor can solve the problem. Just make sure you're happy with it and don't want to return it before having it altered.
"House of Fraser were excellent when I was looking for a special occasion outfit. They have a personal shopper service and you get a supersized private dressing room with loads of mirrors and really helpful suggestions. Best of all they fetch different styles and sizes for you to try on."
Knowing where to find dresses suitable for the mother of the groom can be half the problem. We've scoured the forums and found these are the shops favoured by gransnetters: John Lewis, Jacques Vert, Phase Eight, Studio 8, Debenhams, Country Casuals, Monsoon, Sahara London and Laura Ashley.
"Whether it's a son or daughter getting married, comfort is paramount so wear something to suit and please you, and don't let anyone dictate what you should have."
Perhaps the most important tip - choose something you feel comfortable in. Nobody wants to spend their son's special day adjusting a hem length or worrying about being too overdone. Go for something you feel at ease in - even if a dress looks amazing but is a little too tight, it's not the right option, and you should opt for something you won't be conscious of wearing.
"I bought the shoes that went with the outfit. They were fine in the shop. But longer than that - ouch! I had to take them off at opportune moments during the day."
Don't feel the need to wear something uncomfortable just because it's a special occasion. It may be tempting to match your shoes to your dress, but often a contrasting style can work just as well - and add a little something different to your outfit. It's a good idea to wear your shoes around the house before the big day so you can get used to them. If you want a little boost to your height on the big day but can't face the pain of heels, why not try a cushioned insole, or better yet, a stylish pair of wedges that complement your outfit?
Tall or short? Athletic or hourglass? Whatever your style or shape, these three universally flattering dresses are great options if you're stuck for what to wear. If mother of the groom dresses with jackets are your cup of tea, this classic navy number is a timeless look that will see you through the day and night. Jacket and dress sets are a sensible yet stylish option if you want to cover your arms up or if you fancy subtly changing your look between the ceremony and the reception.
Alternatively, if you fancy adding a splash of colour to the big day, a mother of the groom tea length dress in a vibrant hue is a fun look that is still formal for your son's big day. Just don't go too overly matchy with accessories in the same colour - it's better to make the dress do the talking if you're going bold and stick to black or neutral extras.
Looking for the perfect mother of the groom dress for summer weather? This crocheted Phase Eight dress is equal parts pretty and polished and is nipped in at the waist to emphasise your best bits. Just style with a pair of nude shoes and an elegant shawl - summer in the UK can get a little chilly after all!
If you're 5'7" or over, take advantage of your height and opt for a long mother of the groom dress or even a jumpsuit. This floral, flowing maxi dress is an elegant and flattering option. Another option is one that just skims the knees, like this embroidered Hobbs dress. The chiffon overlay hits just the right part of the waist, perfect for emphasising your long legs. And don't forget about accessories - whether you opt for a shimmering, silver clutch, or an intricate, sapphire fascinator to match your outfit, you'll look fantastic for your son's wedding.
Small women, rejoice, for there are some fantastic petite options on the high street this season. If you're unsure of what to go for, opt for a classic pastel dress. This stunning Dorothy Perkins outfit is specifically made with women 5'3" and under in mind and is a great inexpensive mother of the groom dress. Paired with leg-lengthening nude court shoes and some dazzling earrings, it's an elegant outfit that will look truly timeless in the wedding photos. Alternatively, if you prefer wearing darker colours, go for a classy dress with an intricate laser-cut print. Just pair with a hat fit for a mother of the groom and a shimmery clutch and you're good to go (and hit the dance floor).
There are so many great plus size mother of the groom dresses to choose from. If you have a curvy figure, show off your waist by going for a dress that nips in at the waist for a super flattering look. A classic wrap dress with a plunging neckline in an opulent colour is a great mother of the groom look, just team with a monochrome fascinator for the perfect finishing touch. If you're going for a dark outfit, add a pop of colour with contrasting accessories, like these red earrings and shawl or, for a more formal look, add a pashmina or a smart jacket.
Prices correct on 03/05/19.