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20 Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses That Aren't Matronly

Martha Stewart Living logo Martha Stewart Living 7/27/2022 Heather Bien

Getty Images © Provided by Martha Stewart Living Getty Images

It's no secret that moms come in all shapes and sizes, yet it often seems like mother-of-the-bride (and groom) dresses are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Most options seem as if they were created to fit a shapeless body type, or they're so demure that they almost look matronly. Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there are plenty of mom-appropriate styles that are both flattering and stylish. To ensure the most important ladies in your life look and feel gorgeous on the big day, we rounded up some of our favorite mother-of-the-bride dresses that aren't matronly—because that word should be banned from weddings and fashion entirely.

Luckily, all of the dresses we found are appropriate for women of all ages and for any style event. The important thing to remember when choosing a mom-appropriate dress is to be playful with elements like color, silhouette, or pattern, rather than something like length. Necklines are another great fashion detail that moms can have some fun with. But just as you would for any other occasion, you'll want to avoid anything too showy—off-the-shoulder sleeves and deep V-necks are sexy and elegant, so long as they're not too revealing. 

No matter what style direction you're leaning towards, there are plenty of mother-of-the-bride dress options out there that are far from matronly—here is a selection we love right now.

Tadashi Shoji Off-the-Shoulder Floral Embroidered Dress

This vintage-inspired A-line silhouette is giving us total Marvelous Mrs. Maisel vibes.

$508, bloomingdales.com off the shoulder dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living off the shoulder dress

Eliza J Lace Bateau Neck Mermaid Gown

We love a mother-of-the-bride dress in blush. This bateau neckline gown in delicate lace is both subdued and oh so pretty.

$268, nordstrom.com lace mermaid dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living lace mermaid dress

La Femme Ruched Twist Column Gown

We'll never say no to flattering ruching! Add in a gorgeous gathered V-neck and sheer lace sleeves and this is a timeless mother-of-the-bride look.

$515, nordstrom.com ruched twisted column dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living ruched twisted column dress

Adrianna Papell Beaded Gown

This dreamy gown feels like something out of The Great Gatsby with its delicate embroidery and sweetheart silhouette. 

$329, bloomingdales.com beaded gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living beaded gown

Tadashi Shoji Embroidered-Bodice Crepe Gown

Dramatic embroidery trailing down the side of the dress makes this dress an iconic look for a black-tie wedding.

$508, bloomingdales.com embroidered crepe gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living embroidered crepe gown

Mac Duggal Sequin Midi Dress

We're obsessed with the bold, organic sequin embroidery all over this long-sleeve midi dress. Can't you see this sipping champagne at a New Year's Eve wedding?

$498, bloomingdales.com sequin mini dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living sequin mini dress

Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon Two-Tone ¾-Sleeve Taffeta Shirtdress Gown

We looked up timeless in the dictionary and this black and white dress was there. Sumptuous taffeta, a tailored shirtdress top, and a darling bow detail. It's perfection. 

$595, neimanmarcus.com taffeta shirtdress gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living taffeta shirtdress gown

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman Metallic Shirtdress

A shirtdress is always a timeless mother-of-the-bride look and this metallic take elevates a classic silhouette. 

$580, bloomingdales.com metallic shirtdress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living metallic shirtdress

Aidan Mattox Geometric Beaded Column Gown

A silver Art Deco column gown is an absolute showstopper and will look so chic next to a bride in a similarly embellished look.

$279.39, saksfifthavenue.com beaded column gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living beaded column gown

Mac Duggal Beaded Feather A-Line Gown

Beading is fabulous, but add in feathers and a sparkly belt, and this A-line gown is over the top in all the best ways. 

$498, saksfifthavenue.com plus size beaded gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living plus size beaded gown

Theia Three-Quarter Sleeve Sequin Sheath Gown

Sparkling simplicity can be so glamorous. This sheath gown is covered head to toe in sequins, with elegant three-quarter sleeves and a gentle scoop in the back.

$1,295-$1,400, saksfifthavenue.com sequin sheath gown © Provided by Martha Stewart Living sequin sheath gown

Carolina Herrera ¾ Sleeve Suit Gown

This full-skirted dress is straight out of an old movie. A refined suit-inspired top is perfectly polished, while the bow tie adds a touch of femininity. 

$1,939.50, neimanmarcus.com suit dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living suit dress

Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon Taffeta Eyelet Shirtdress with Scalloped Hem

With the refinement of a formal shirtdress, but the playfulness of a daytime or warm weather wedding, this eyelet version is both flirty and fancy.

$595, neimanmarcus.com taffeta eyelet shirt dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living taffeta eyelet shirt dress

Pomander Palace Red Lennox Dress

Feeling spicy but staying cozy? This red maxi dress in a comfortable knit fabric can be dressed up with jewels and fun shoes.

$168, tuckernuck.com red lennox dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living red lennox dress

La Double J Florence Placee Magnifico Dress

This bold, printed dress with a stand collar, sweeping bow detail, and voluminous sleeves is made for a Palm Springs-inspired, vintage-chic wedding.

$735, tuckernuck.com magnifico dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living magnifico dress

Pryce Off-the-Shoulder Column Dress

We're getting Oscars visions from this minimalist column dress in a beautifully draped, fluid silky fabric.

$495, bhldn.com off the shoulder dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living off the shoulder dress

Adrianna Papell Angeline Dress

As the grown up version of a slip dress, this moody floral is the most gorgeous take on a classic navy and light blue color palette.

$229, bhldn.com floral dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living floral dress

Petaluma Sequin Dress

This demure silhouette, covered in delicate crystal, sequins, and beading, is a lovely choice for a daytime ceremony and evening reception (truly, day to night!). 

$250, bhldn.com petaluma dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living petaluma dress

Mac Duggal Angelica Midi Dress

A Victorian-inspired blush and rose floral, punctuated with dainty beadwork, is equal parts garden party and glamor. Throw on this pretty, flowy dress for an evening on the dance floor.

$598, bhldn.com floral dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living floral dress

Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon Jacquard Off-Shoulder Dress with Twist

A sophisticated off-the-shoulder neckline in a gorgeous shade of periwinkle is the ultimate spring look for a classic mother of the bride. 

$580, neimanmarcus.com jacquard off shoulder dress © Provided by Martha Stewart Living jacquard off shoulder dress

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