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Step-mother of the bride (what to wear)

cpreston's picture

I’m 43
My step-daughter is 33

Her mother is 57

I don’t want to look matronly

It’s a July late afternoon/night time wedding with a “beach theme”

I’m told that I “shouldn’t wear anything that would out-do the MOB”
(what am I SUPPOSED to wear)


ThatGirl's picture

I just went through this with SD23's wedding. Go hot and classy, as the others have said. That's how I played it, while BM looked like an old, mean, fat sow... Sasquatch in a dress. What will your husband be wearing? Make sure to dress in something suitable to what he's wearing, so that the two of you look great together in any photos Smile

Shannon61's picture

It's simple. Wear what you would normally wear to a wedding. And dare someone to even think about mentioning it. When my SD got married a few months ago, I purchased a nice wedding appropriate suit. MOB had on a nice dress that was dressier, as it should have been.

twopines's picture

Agree with Shannon61. I would choose something I'd wear to any other person's wedding. When SS got married, I just made sure my dress wasn't the same color as his mother's. I wouldn't stress over it.

harvey's picture

I'm going to wear a Halloween witches costume when my sd marries ha ha }:) Just acting my part Smile after all I am an embarrassment anyway as Im a witch I would not want to let her down now would I! Green face, pointy hat and I can cackle all the way through the day.

cpreston's picture

I have a friend who is Miss Manners, she’s the same age as my SD and she’s the one that suggested that I not “out-do” the MOB

I am trying to take this from her perspective, because they’re contemporaries…

MOB is well, I don’t have a BAD relationship with her, but I’ve gone out of my way to keep it as nice as possible for the sake of my step-daughter

Her and her mother have a strained relationship
Her mother is an addict… she’s clean & sober for a few years now, but her actions have taken a toll on her body and she looks like 40 miles of bad road (not trying to be mean, just being observant)

The MOB is also flat broke, all the time
My SD confided in me that she will probably be paying for the MOB dress…

I think my husband is wearing a tuxedo, but not the bow-tie cummberbund kind, I believe he’s wearing the ‘understated’ tux with a neck tie

I like "hot and classy"

TwirlMS's picture

Just be sure you have class and good taste. For an outdoor wedding, I wear a sundress and hat. A church wedding, a lovely dress. I don't think anyone should be dressing overly sexy at a wedding, regardless of how you relate to the bride and groom. It's not about you.

I have two biological sons, and was a mid 40s mother of the groom. I wore something beautiful and classy. Their stepmother, however, ALWAYS wears a very plunging neckline to every event she attends. Who wants to see that? Bad taste is bad taste, and she ruins every picture she's in for the kids. My kids' stepmom is actually older than me, and really is clueless to how she comes across to people. I felt sorry for the bride (my daughter-in-law) who has to look at that hot mess every time she views her wedding pictures.

My younger son just got married this past summer, and SM's behavior both in dress and actions at the wedding still leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

ChiefGrownup's picture

^^^^^Yeah, plunging neckline is for New Year's Eve or Date Night with Husband, not a wedding. Certainly not a wedding where you represent the bride's father.

Go with classy and beautiful. A neutral color would be a good choice. Then you are certain not to get mixed in with the coordinated colors of the MOB and so forth. Also, you can be the most sophisticated and beautiful dress there without being the flashiest. All eyes on the bride. Little nod of the head in appreciation for the tasteful (and gorgeous) wife of Father of the Bride.

Mindygirl1's picture

Uh at 43 you will outdo the 57 MOB if you wear a pillow case.... You are not supposed to outdo the bride. Who said the MOB was not to be outdone. Most of time time they wear the ugliest dresses anyway. Wear what looks good on you that is tasteful....

TwirlMS's picture

I saw the First Wives Club....funny but it perpetuated some stereotypes that first wives are always frumpy and older than second wives. Not necessarily true. My first husband was 8 yrs. older than me, and he remarried someone closer to his age, while I am now remarried to someone my age.

At my son's wedding this summer, husband #1 looked frumpy and balding, while my new husband was handsome and stylish in a black suit. I loved having him on my arm, walking me down the isle.

As for my son #1's wedding I wore a spaghetti strap beaded dress with matching satin shawl from Cache and for son #2's wedding eight years later, I wore a strapless gold satin dress with lace overlay and a sheer cream colored and beaded jacket to cover. Elegant.

cpreston's picture

One of my best friends is actually the same age as my SD, and she's like "Miss Manners" we were talking about what I would wear and she's the one that said "well, you're not supposed to outshine the mother of the bride
My SD is a beautiful young woman and she e-mailed me a picture of the dresses that she’s considering….I would defy anyone to “outshine” her… she’s going to look fantastic… there’s almost 15 years difference between my husband and I… actually my soon to be son in law is only two years younger than I am, his brothers are my age, so his parents are pretty much my parents’ age… we have a strange family dynamic like that but they’re such wonderful people… I just love him and his family like they were my own family.

For clarification, it’s a “beach theme” even with our contribution and the bride & groom doing well financially… they couldn’t justify spending the kind of money that they were looking at having the wedding at the beach (at least not at the beach that they really WANTED to be at)
I think my husband is wearing one of those understated tuxedo’s with a neck tie (they’re sexy)
I guess I get along well enough with his ex, that I can just ask her what she’s wearing, but I would feel totally awkward asking…

sandye21's picture

You say the mother of the bride is 14 years older than you and has had a rough ride. If you are in relatively good shape and look your age it is impossible NOT to outshine her. Wear something that you would wear to any outdoor wedding. And have fun.

peacemaker's picture


Rags's picture

Go with "hot and classy". Look your best. Be stunning and radiant on DH's arm and be happy. Do not put one picosecond of thought into what MOB will be wearing. It is not relevant to what you wear in the least.

I have never understood anyone who would advise anyone else to be anything but their best in any situation.

So, be and look your best.

jessdaniel's picture


I say you Plus Size Mother of the Bride Dresses are perfect for wedding. Last month I buy Mother of the Bride Dress from for my daughter wedding.

Ruby55's picture

I think it depends if u like BM or not. If not, be a head turner. If u do like her, tone it down it a but but still look nice

Rags's picture

I just realized that this thread is nearly 3 years old. No doubt the Skid is married by now.