The designer’s expert advice on how to dress to feel your best

When you’re the mother of the bride (or groom), remaining relaxed through the planning stages can be enough of a challenge for anyone. Deciding what to wear can test the composure of even the most poised MOTB.

Sure, it’s not your day, per se, but you’ll still have a lot of people to meet and greet (perhaps even ex-partners or other emissaries of complicated relationships), so you’ll want to look and feel your best.

Mother-of-the-bride dressing can sometimes feel stuck in the dark ages. Forget about fascinators and boxy matching sets. Choose something you feel good in that doesn’t accidentally stray into bridal territory (read: steer clear of white).

Communication is key. Ask the couple about colours – they may already have a specific palette, theme or level of formality in mind. Likewise, liaise with the other ‘mother-of’ to coordinate the tone of your outfits (and avoid a memorable same-dress debacle).

Remember: there’s no rulebook that says you have to wear a dress. A tailored suit, perhaps over a ruffled blouse, will break with convention without being overly offbeat. Or why not a skirt and top, if that’s what suits your shape?

Feeling confident is key, as is comfort and practicality. Bear in mind you’ll probably spend the morning of the wedding completing last-minute tasks rather than preening.

We asked Alice what to wear…

What should the mother of the bride wear to a country wedding?

See: Palmae Print Jacket and Trousers, Liana Print Draped Dress

Billowing silhouettes, jewel tones and geometric prints (as seen on our Liana Print draped dress) – bold statements are the order of the day. Breezy fabrics, balanced out with contrasting separates – like our tailored Palmae Print Jacket and culotte-style Trousers – cut a sharp but relaxed silhouette that flatters all figures.

What should the mother of the bride wear to a city wedding?

See: Clove Suit, Moon Dress

Achieve an understated and polished look, fit for an intimate ceremony, with luxurious fabrications and finishes – such as velvet and georgette. Our playful Moon Dress (or Moon Midi if you prefer a shorter hemline or warm weather is expected) and immaculate Clove Three-Piece translate effortlessly into partywear.

What should the mother of the bride wear to a black-tie wedding?

See: Farrah Dress and Kimono

Women can take a more adventurous approach to the famously formal black-tie dress code – especially the matriarch. Opt for black if that’s your signature shade, but branching out into bold maxi dresses and matching cover-ups will do wonders to brighten up the pictures.

What should the mother of the bride wear to a religious wedding?

See: Mabel Jacket and Trouser

You’ll know what will be considered appropriate at the ceremony. We’d almost always encourage flouting fashion rules, but – on this occasion – follow the couple’s lead. You can always pep up your look in time for any celebrations that may follow.

What should the mother of the bride wear to a beach wedding?

See: Palmae Print Dress, Cateye Print Coat and Jumpsuit

A easy-going dress code is an opportunity for your outfit to exude personality – on the day and in the pictures. Keep vibrant prints or acid brights refined and your temperature regulated with slinky finishes, like silk georgette or crepe backed satin. Pale, diaphanous fabrics shade skin from the sun while keeping you cool.

What should the mother of the bride wear to a winter wedding?

See: Lolli Wrap Dress, Dreamer Dress, Natascha Dress

Metallic finishes like recycled sequins, fil coupé or classic jacquard add an air of festivity to a cold-weather celebration, without compromising on elegance. Consider shapes that layer neatly under classic wool coats.

Ultimately the couple’s happiness on their special day is the most important thing – even if they’re getting dangerously close to unreasonable in the run-up – so it might involve a compromise, just this once.

Shop Best Dressed Guest.