11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (2024)

For the mothers of brides and grooms, a beautiful dress to wear on the wedding day is imperative, and often, that means a short dress instead of a formal gown. Whether mom is petite, has a more laid-back style, or doesn't want to wear a floor-sweeping silhouette, a short dress is a great solution that can range from timeless and elegant to sweetly spirited.And, we aren't the only ones who love a leg-bearing moment, either! There continues to be an array of stunning short options on the market from designers who accommodate all types of budgets and aesthetics.

We especially love MatchesFashion, Farfetch, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Net-A-Porter, for a large selection of exquisite pieces that will surely become a treasured investment item in your closet. Or, if you're seeking a budget-friendly piece, check out ASOS, JJ's House, or Azazie for an equally beautiful assortment.

Short mother of the bride dresses come in various silhouettes from mini dresses to knee-length and tea-length styles.

For moms with traditional taste, sheath silhouettes, A-line shapes, and wrap dresses are stunning in pretty prints, solid colors, or elegant fabrics like silk or crepe. We especially love this classic style in timeless hues such as black, champagne, blush, or navy blue. For fashion-centric mothers who want to wear something fresh and of-the-moment, you can be sure they'll be all about unique elements like a one-shoulder, pleated cape sleeves, or an asymmetrical silhouette. Ultra-structured fabrics like satin or even neoprene allow for striking architectural dress necklines or other avant-garde details that will showcase a fashion-forward style. Then, there are the moms who crave something intricate for such a special occasion, such as pretty lace, polished sequins, or embellishments like a crystal-embellished neckline or beautiful beading.Illusion necklines or sheer long sleeves adorned with embellishment are especially striking for a look that offers the illusion of fine details merely floating on the skin. No matter the style, there is a show-stopping short dress for every mother of the bride-to-be.

Read on for the best short mother-of-the-bride dresses.

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Best Embellishment: Adrianna Papell Petaluma Sequin Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (1)

Size Range: 0-18 |Length:Knee-length |Shipping: Shipping rates vary |Return Policy: Free returns accepted within 30 days of delivery

You simply can't go wrong with a stunner like this. Featuring intricate beading and striking embellishment, the Petaluma dress effortlessly shimmers throughout its classic silhouette. Plus, it's available in five different colors!

Price at time of publish: $249

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Best Ruched Style: Norma Kamali Women's Diana Gown

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (2)

Size Range: XXS-XL |Length:Midi |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

This one-shoulder fitted midi may just be the definition of pretty in pink! The ruching allows for the most comfortable and elongating fit. Plus, it will hug those curves oh-so-beautifully!

Price at time of publish: $215

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Best A-Line: Amsale Mikado A-Line Midi Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (3)

Size Range: 2-16 |Length:Midi |Shipping: $9.95 |Return Policy: Free returns within 30 days

This sleeveless midi dress from Amsale is equal parts dressy and casual. Made with Mikado fabric, it has a stylish bias A-line cut and a pintuck waist detail. It’s 47.5 inches from shoulder to hem and is available in nine colors.

Price at time of publish: $695

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Best Sheath: Xscape Embroidered Floral Lace Sheath Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (4)

Size Range: 2-14 |Length:Knee |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

This knee-length rose gold dress is classy and elegant. The dress is fully lined, with cap sleeves and a boat neckline. Floral embroidered lace covers the entire dress, which is 39.5 inches from shoulder to hem.

Price at time of publish: $248

13 Radiant Rose Gold Mother of the Bride Dresses

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Best Illusion Neckline: Maggy London Illusion Yoke Crepe co*cktail Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (5)

Size Range: 0-16 |Length:Knee |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

This little black dress from Maggy London is just the one you’ve been looking for. It has an elegant style thanks to the sheer mesh illusion neckline and V-back, and at 42 inches, it’s just the right length that is appropriate for any wedding theme.

Price at time of publish: $148

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Most Elegant: Tadashi Shoji Off-The-Shoulder Velvet Lace Midi-Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (6)

Size Range: 6-18 |Length:Midi |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns within 30 days

This velvet and floral lace dress from Tadashi Shoji exudes elegance. The 41-inch midi-length and off-the-shoulder style are suited to even the most formal wedding. The navy dress has short sleeves and a notched neckline that you can wear open or closed.

Price at time of publish: $448

21 Elegant Tea Length Dresses for the Mother-of-the-Groom

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Best Halter Neckline: Alex Evenings Women's Short Sheath Slimming Stretch Halter Neck Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (7)

Size Range: 2-18 |Length:Knee |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns

This embellished halter dress will bring some sparkle to the big day. The knee-length dress is 40.5 inches long from shoulder to hem. It comes in four colors, aubergine, navy, white, and charcoal, and has a beaded neckline and keyhole detail.

Price at time of publish: $239

The 32 Best Mother-of-the-Bride Gifts for All Budgets and Styles

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Best Floral: Dress the Population Elisa Floral Appliqué Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (8)

Size Range: XXS-XL |Length:Midi |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns within 30 days

Make a stunning statement at any spring or summer wedding. This blush midi features all-over floral appliqués, a flattering V-neckline, comfortable thin shoulder straps, and a classic A-line silhouette for a look that will stand the test of time.

Price at time of publish: $298

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Best Silhouette: Mac Duggal Embellished Faux Wrap Flutter Sleeve Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (9)

Size Range: 0-16 |Length:Midi |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

Flattering and striking all at once, this sparkly number by Mac Duggal will dazzle and shine on the big day. Perfect for a winter wedding during the holidays, we love the details of this dress—from the bedazzled embellishments to the sweet flutter sleeves and comfortable faux wrap waist.

Price at time of publish: $498

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Most Chic: Lulus Show Stopper Cream Embroidered Sequin Bodycon Midi Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (10)

Size Range: XXS-XL |Length:Knee-length |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

Made for the chic mother of the bride, this fashionable knee-length bodycon dress is both bold and beautiful—just like you! We adore the sleek black and blue florals topped with sequins. And, of course, the tulle flutter sleeves are what really make this pick stand out.

Price at time of publish: $84

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Best Something Blue: Azazie Lucilia Dress

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (11)

Size Range: 0-30 |Length:Knee-length |Shipping: Free shipping |Return Policy: Free returns accepted

Be your daughter's something beautiful blue in this dusty blue sheath column dress from Azazie. It features all-over lace, a stunning and flattering embellished waistband, classic cap sleeves, and a V-neckline and back. This beauty is a no-fail option!

Price at time of publish: $149

What to Look for in a Short Mother of the Bride Dress

Style

So, you've decided on a short dress—great choice! But, not all short mother of the bride dresses are the same. From mini to knee-length or midi or tea-length, there are a variety of hems that are ideal for each woman's height, proportions, and overall style.

Theme

It's also important to keep the formality of the nuptials in mind, too. As for the shortest of the lengths, the mini is an instant show stopper! This length hits above the knee, creating a fun and slightly flirtatious look. The style is ideal for a co*cktail, semi-formal, or more relaxed wedding. Due to its leg-bearing nature, it's usually best for petite women with shorter proportions as it lengthens their legs.

On the flip side, midi or tea-length dresses hit below the knee at the mid-calf or ankle. A naturally more sophisticated and elegant look, this style is beautiful for a more formal affair. We recommend this length for taller women with lengthy features. Seeking a look that achieves both? We've got you! Opt for a high-low hem or a knee-length dress like the Alex Evenings Women's Halter Neck Dress.

Setting

The formality of the wedding setting and the time of day it will be held will also help guide the mother of the bride’s dress selection. The most formal weddings (white and black tie) are often evening events that may require long dresses or gowns. Shorter dresses are definitely appropriate for daytime, outdoor, and other less formal weddings.

Shoes

No matter which short dress you ultimately choose, you simply can't forget the most important accessory—the perfect shoes for the mother of the bride! Unlike floor-sweeping gowns, your footwear has the opportunity to take center stage. Opt for a statement shoe that will complete the ensemble. Don't be afraid to have some fun with it!

FAQ

  • What is a short mother of the bride dress?

    Mother of the bride dresses come in a myriad of lengths, from mini dresses that hit above the knee to midi dresses, like Norma Kamali's Diana Gown, that hits just below the calf.

  • Can the mother of the bride wear a short dress?

    Of course! A short mother of the bride dress is entirely appropriate to wear to a wedding, especially if you're attending a spring or summer wedding.

  • What colors should a mother of the bride avoid wearing?

    Unless specifically approved by the bride, it's generally a good rule of thumb to avoid wearing white or any color that might resemble the bride’s wedding outfit.

  • What is the most popular color for the mother of the bride to wear?

    There are a variety of mother-of-the-bride dress colors. Popular options include different shades of blue, like the navy Tadashi Shoji Off-The-Shoulder Velvet Lace Midi-Dress, or champagne, gold, and rose hues, like the Embroidered Floral Lace Sheath Dress from Xscape. Other popular mother-of-the-bride dress colors include taupe, silver, and blush.

  • What is the proper etiquette for mother of the bride attire?

    The mother of the bride and her daughter should decide together on the mother of the bride’s dress. Unless the bride and her mom decide otherwise, it is not considered proper etiquette for the mother of the bride to wear white, ivory, or other traditional wedding colors. In addition, the mother of the bride’s dress does not need to match the bridesmaids' dresses, but it should complement the color of the attendants’ dresses if the bride desires.

Why Trust Brides

Laura Lajiness Kaupke is a writer and editor with expertise in bridal fashion, accessories, and fine jewelry for both men and women. She formerly served as the senior fashion editor at The Zoe Report and POPSUGAR. Her work has been featured in ELLE, InStyle, Glamour, Refinery29, Well+Good, and Barneys New York.

The 18 Best Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses for Every Type of Wedding

11 Short Mother of the Bride Dresses That Are Stylish, Sophisticated, and Show Just the Right Amount of Skin (2024)

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