RI Formal Wear Boutiques Dish on Dressing the Mother of the Bride

Go formal, avoid white, and other advice


We all hear about brides saying “yes” to the dress, but what about mom? Mothers are left without a set dress code, which can be both freeing and intimidating. Length, fit, style, and color are all important factors to consider, and some moms worry about taking away from the bride’s big moment. It’s not always clear what the socially appropriate outfit is for mothers of the bride and groom.

So what exactly should a mother of the bride wear? “An appropriate style is subjective,” says Stefania Carmosino Spas, who co-owns Stefania’s Boutique in Cranston with her mother Antoinette. “Some mothers love simplicity, and some prefer a more ornate style.” 

Kate Spinella, owner of Ivory, A Bridal Boutique in East Greenwich, shares that one of the first questions they ask a mother is whether or not she has inspiration or ideas that come from the bride. “When a bride or future daughter-in-law comes shopping, they usually say that they want the mother to be happy and comfortable,” says Spinella. “Mothers want to look their best, and be fashionable, no matter their size. We have carefully curated our gown selection to keep our mothers looking young and elegant.”

Regarding color, Spinella maintains, “there are no color rules for mothers except they should not wear any shade of ivory or white.” She also notes that popular choices tend to be either neutrals or navy. Alternately, Spas shares that some brides choose to include the mothers in different shades of the wedding color palette while others opt for a contrasting hue to coordinate with the wedding party but stand out from the bridesmaids.

When it comes to length, Spas recommends a floor-length style of dress to distinguish the mother as a member of the wedding party and not simply a guest. Spinella echoes this sentiment: “In our store, we sell almost all floor-length gowns. As the mother of the bride/groom, we want them to stand out, and look and feel their best. We always say mothers should not look like just another guest at the wedding since their role is so important in the overall event.”

A shopping trip together is the ideal way to ensure that both mother and bride are happy with mom’s attire. Bride-to-be Hayley Pereira of Johnston and her mom Gail are in the process of doing just that. With Pereira’s upcoming September wedding, the duo is seeking a dress with earthy tones to complement – not match – the autumnal palette of the bridal party. “She always asks for my opinions on outfits, especially for events,” says Pereira. “It’s only natural to do this together.”


Rhody Resources

Some places to find formal wear for mom around the state:


Bridal Finery
East Greenwich

Ivory, A Bridal Boutique
East Greenwich

Lady Sycamore Bridal Shop

Lovely Bride

Melissa Ashley Bridal

Stefania’s Boutique

Sonya’s Clothing



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