Where to Shop for Mother of the Bride or Groom Dresses

My oldest son just got married. I'm no fashion blogger, but the question keeps coming up on where the best place is to shop for a mother of the bride or mother of the groom dress is. I had about a year to find the perfect dress for the occasion, and I'll tell you, I had my eyeballs peeled at a lot of different places from department store, to thrift shop to clothing rental. Finding the perfect dress for such a special day can be tricky, so I'm going to share my experience with you on where to shop for the perfect mother of the bride or groom dress.

mother of the groom bride dress

Tips for Shopping for Mother of the Bride or Groom Dresses


If there's one thing I learned when my son was in the midst of planning his wedding, it's that a lot of traditional etiquette has been thrown out the window. Traditional etiquette dictates that the mother of the bride shops for her dress first. The thought behind this is that the mother of the bride is typically more hands-on with the wedding planning making her more privy to what the bride really wants.

I'm all for tradition, however, I do think that there are some antiquated traditions that really can be done away with. This is one of them. It's important to have open lines of communication with the bride and with her mother about this, but I don't think there's a reason to have one select a dress before another.

Some Tips for Selecting a Mother of the Bride Dress


It's an exciting time, but wait until the bride and her bridesmaids have selected their dresses. That way, you can keep in mind the colors and the style of dresses and coordinate appropriately.

Give yourself about six months to find a dress. That way, if you do need alterations, or need something special ordered, you have plenty of time.

Create an album on your phone titled wedding and store important images in there, like the wedding colors, bridesmaid's dresses, and images of dresses or styles that you like. Then, when you go into a store, you can show the staff what you are working with. It will also allow you to point to the dress silhouettes you like and they can help you narrow down your options in the store.

If you are shopping online, know your measurements since dress sizes vary so much. 

Know the reputation of the online retailer as well. There are many horror stories from people who ordered online and were terribly disappointed.

Coordinate, but don't match. You'll be photographed a lot on the big day, and it's important to look cohesive. You want to coordinate with the bride or groom's mother but not compete.

When in doubt, ask the bride!


Where to Shop for Mother of the Bride or Groom Dresses

mother of the groom dresses

I spent about a year, keeping dress shopping in the back of my mind. I looked into a lot of different options, from economical {I'm not opposed to buying used} to bridal store selection and I'm sharing my experience with all of them.  

Make note of the return policy on any option, but especially for those you buy online. I like to set reminders in my phone so a date doesn't creep up on me if I'm not fully in love with a dress. 


I don't know about you, but I don't have much use for a formal dress, or heck, for dresses of any kind, in my regular life. I buy used clothing often, so I was ok looking at more economical options. Here are few economical places you can shop for mother of the bride or groom dresses:

ThredUp {use this link for $10 off!}
Facebook Marketplace


You can find formal dresses at your local department store. I found the selection to be lacking in-store sometimes, but the online storefronts of large department store websites had better selections. Many will offer free shipping to the store and easy returns. 

Don't miss stopping at your local bridal shops, but call before you visit. Many bridal stores require an appointment and some don't carry mother of the bride/groom dresses.

David's Bridal
Local Bridal Shop
Saks 5th Ave
Lord & Taylor


There are a lot of online options now, which can make dress shopping a little overwhelming. However, it does open up some possibilities. These are the online websites I used to shop and the ones that can be trusted for easy shipping, returns, and consistent quality. 

Don't forget to check out Etsy! I've been impressed lately with what I find there in terms of fashion. You can pick up a vintage or handmade dress, but also carefully curated clothing too. It's worth checking out!

JJ's House
Adrianna Papell

I actually purchased a dress from Amazon for the elopement ceremony that happened in a beautiful park {field}. I needed something that was not full length {didn't want to drag it through mud} and comfortable enough for all the setup we'd be doing. 


My tip to buying {and being successful!} on Amazon is to do a search but narrow down your search field. Start by typing in the highest-rated dresses and then filter it from there. Shopping on Amazon can be overwhelming! I tend to add in filters like 4+ stars and click my size because I don't want to fall in love with a dress that doesn't have my size. I also read the reviews pretty closely. The highest-rated items often have a LOT of reviews with photos and you can use those as a guide for what size and color to buy. 

amazon highest rated

Out of the Box

There are a few out-of-the-box options. Have you ever renting clothing before? I've rented clothing from Armoire and was super impressed. If you are the mother of the bride or groom, you'll have plenty of events leading up to the wedding that you'll need clothing for {bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, special dinners, etc...} not to mention clothing for the day of. The selection for formal clothing is limited at Armoire, but it's worth checking out because rental and return is very flexible and there are unlimited plans. 

I've had friends rent formal dresses from Rent the Runway before and they've been very pleased with their options. You can rent dresses based on a date, and you can sign up for a 4-day or 8-day rental. I wasn't super impressed with the selection, but I like the idea of this option so it's worth checking it out.

Brides for a Cause is local to me, but I know that there are places like it popping up all over the nation. It's a great resource for brides, but also for the bridal party as well. You'll find hundreds of dresses donated by high-end designers, boutiques, and brides and the money goes to charity.

A few years ago, I tried out Eshakti and I was really impressed at how reasonably priced the selections were for a custom-fit. It also only takes a few weeks to receive your custom-made dress. The dress fit is guaranteed, but just because a dress fits, doesn't mean you're going to love it. So keep that in mind if you order from here. 

Don't hesitate to look at overstock retailers like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. You might be surprised at what you find!

Armoire {use this code to get 50% off a months rental}
Rent the Runway {check the ThredUp resale version of this too and get $10 off using this link}
Borrow or buy from a friend
Brides for a Cause 
Eshakti {reasonably priced clothing custom made to fit you}
TJ Maxx
Nordstrom Rack

This list should get you started on finding that perfect dress for such an exciting occasion. Happy shopping!

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