Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses That Are Actually Cute

These sophisticated styles are anything but matronly. (Forward this story to your mom, stat!)


These dresses are all available at Bella Bridesmaid in Bethesda. All photographs courtesy of the designers

Finding a mother-of-the-bride dress that’s modern and sophisticated rather than dowdy and unflattering is a difficult task. Department stores and eveningwear boutiques offer a wide selection, but there’s another place moms should hit on their outfit hunt—bridesmaid dress boutiques.

Yes, it may sound a little wacky, but bridesmaid dresses are much more stylish these days (the horrid shiny seafoam taffeta frocks from the ’80s are now, thankfully, few and far between), and there are many that would be gorgeous and flattering on an MoB.

“We call them ‘modern mother-of-the-bride dresses,’” says Lacey Campbell of Bella Bridesmaid in Bethesda. “They’re technically bridesmaid dresses, but many of them come with three-quarter sleeves, cap sleeves, or a jacket, so they provide the coverage that moms like and are appropriate as they are.”

Here are a few of Campbell’s favorite bridesmaid dresses that moms will love, all carried at Bella Bridesmaid in Bethesda.

1. Style AV9220 by Alvina Valenta

“This is a new style that we’ll have in stock early next year,” says Campbell. “I love the removable lace bolero as a coverage option.”

2. Reade by 57Grand

“Great for a day-to-evening event,” says Campbell.

3. Style 450036 by Monique Lhuillier

“This dress is just right for a more formal wedding,” says Campbell.

4. Style 450003 by Monique Lhuillier

“I love the keyhole back on this dress—it provides an extra special touch,” says Campbell.

5. Jae by Joanna August

“I’d recommend this style to a more fashion-forward mom,” says Campbell. “Many like to dress it up with a brooch.”

6. Marlene by LulaKate

“This dress is great for a more casual daytime wedding,” says Campbell. “It also comes in a variety of lengths, so a mom can pick the one she feels most comfortable wearing.”

One more helpful tip for moms planning on dress shopping at a bridal or bridesmaid boutique: “We recommend they try to come in during the week,” says Campbell. “Our store—and most every bridal salon—is packed on the weekends, so we always encourage moms to come in when it’s quieter.”