How to pick the perfect Mother of the Bride outfit

As Mother of the Bride or Groom, let's face it - you'll be one of the most important people at the wedding when the big day finally arrives.

Not only will you be greeting guests and holding a spot in all the key wedding photos alongside the bride and groom, you'll also need to do it while looking cool, calm and collected. Luckily, we spoke to the wedding experts at Jacques Vert to hear their top tips on picking the perfect Mother of the Bride (or Groom) outfit, and selected an edit of our favourite options at Fenwick for your browsing pleasure...

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1. Go for comfort.

It is important to take the time to find the perfect wedding outfit that not only looks stunning on but is comfortable to wear too. It will be a long day - a late morning or early afternoon ceremony, lots of photographs, an afternoon reception and evening party. Your outfit has to work all day long!

2. Don’t leave it to the last minute to buy your outfit.

A lot of special occasionwear is made in short runs to retain exclusivity, so if you see a beautiful suit and you know it’s the one, snap it up. That said, take your time deciding what to buy. Use websites, magazines and shopping trips to see what’s available, and try things on so you know what suits your shape.

3. Consider layers.

Whether it’s a wedding at home or abroad, there are changes in temperature to be considered - from the wedding indoors, the outdoor photographs to air conditioning at the reception venue. If you choose a dress or a skirt and top outfit, you have the option of choosing a formal jacket, bolero, shrug or even a pretty cardigan to complement the main outfit.

4. Choose the right shoes.

Those shoes with the towering heels that looked wonderful in the shop might not be such a good idea when it comes to a day of celebrating, mingling and that all-important dancing at the evening reception. Choose something that you will still be able to walk in at the end of the evening – and wear them around the house before the big day. Jacques Vert leather shoes are handmade in Italy and are made for comfort as well as style.

Jacques Vert Dress, Fascinator, Clutch and Shoes, £169, £79, £69 and £99; Available at Fenwick Bracknell

Phase Eight Cornelia Tapework Dress, £189; Available at Fenwick Canterbury

Phase Eight Valetta Jacket, £99; Available at Fenwick Canterbury

Luisa Cerano Dress, £325; Available at Fenwick Newcastle

Nine West Tatiana Blue Shoes £65 from £95; Available at Fenwick Kingston

MaxMara Weekend Baffo Coat, £320; Available at Fenwick Tunbridge Wells

Eileen Fisher dress; Available at Fenwick Kingston

Phase Eight Juno Jacket, £120; Available at Fenwick Canterbury

Max & Co Dress, £205; Available at Fenwick of Bond Street

MaxMara Studio Osaka Jacket, £359; Available at Fenwick of Bond Street and Brent Cross

Phase Eight Akiko Tapework Dress, £189; Available at Fenwick Newcastle

MaxMara Weekend Orazio Dress and Collar, £210 and £85; Available at Fenwick Tunbridge Wells

Whistles Wild Floral Phoebe Bodycon Dress in Pink, £150; Available at Fenwick Canterbury

MaxMara Studio Dress, £245; Available at Fenwick of Bond Street

Phase Eight Juno Dress, £150; Available at Fenwick Newcastle & Canterbury

5. Accessories are everything.

Take time to choose those finishing touches that will make you feel appropriately dressed for the day. The right bag and shoes are as important as the right dress, but a pretty scarf or necklace might also be just the thing to finish the outfit off.

6. Keep handbag items to a minimum.

Choose small items, i.e. a travel sewing kit and compact make-up and use a structured clutch bag that matches your outfit. Ensure it has a detachable strap so it can go over your shoulder when you're taking those wedding photos (or holding your champagne).

7. Be wise with white.

The Mother of the Bride is the only person apart from the Bride who can get away with wearing white to the wedding itself - but not top to toe. A white or ivory jacket teamed with a black skirt and coordinating accessories will look great, but make sure you have a good balance of colours.

8. Pick the right hat.

Think about choosing a wedding hat with a shallower brim at the front which won’t get in the way when exchanging kisses and greeting guests. Alternatively, if you don’t want to wear a hat to the wedding, try a feather fascinator in your hair - it will lift your outfit and bring focus to the face, as will pretty earrings and a necklace. A removable corsage is another perfect way to customise your wedding outfit or dress up a simple jacket.

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For more guidance on planning your big day, head over to Fenwick's Wedding Guide...

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By Alison Millington