When it comes to weddings, there are as many themes as there are cake flavors, but it’s nice to know that a few things always remain constant: Aunt Karen is going to pretend she’s drinking soda when really it’s gin; the bride and groom are going to be excited, nervous, happy messes; and your dress is going to be fabulous. If your daughter decided on an upscale affair, then you’re going to need a black tie mother of the bride dress, which, I know, is easier said than done. But shopping for a black-tie wedding doesn’t need to be stressful - in fact, we’re going to make sure that it will be a fun affair! Grab your purse, because we’re about to go shopping.
It’s always the case that when you’re miles away from an event you find the most stunning dresses - and probably at 75 percent off, because fate is cruel that way. Remember that time when you were at Nordstrom - back when your daughter was single and wedding bells were nowhere near her mind - and you found that black lace number that made you look like you were about to present at the Academy Awards? Or how about that time you were spending an hour shopping on your Saturday afternoon and chanced upon that skirt suit number that would look just perfect in photos next to a white dress? We remember, and we know how mother of the bride dress shopping for such a big day can be mildly anxiety-inducing. In an effort to get your inspiration flowing and to point you in a few helpful directions, we have gathered some stylish, glamour-heavy mother of the bride dresses perfect for a black tie wedding. Light the chandeliers and get the champagne flowing, because you’re going to stun at this bash!
Midi Lace Dress
Black tie wedding outfits are meant to be upscale and fancy, but there is a lot of room for interpretation, giving you lots of options to work with. Nordstrom always comes through for us in a pinch, and this Soutache Lace Midi Dress is a case in point. It would be a perfect dress for a black tie wedding because it’s elegant and sophisticated, but doesn’t take the attention away from the bride. You won’t walk into the ballroom looking like you’re kitted out for a pageant, but you will look like the swanky woman at the gala - the kind that gets the party started on the dance floor and somehow doesn’t leave red lipstick marks behind on the cocktail glasses.
The Soutache Lace Midi Dress is from JS Collections, which carries both straight and plus size options, minimizing the chance of that awful “it doesn’t fit” feeling in the changing room. If you want to see their new fall collection, visit their website here. Their sizes run from 4-24W, depending on the frock. Nordstrom also carries most of their pieces, in case you want to try it on at the store instead of purchasing it online. See the full Nordstrom collection here.
The dress itself is partially lined and has a bonded-lace foundation with a braid applique, bringing a heavy dose of glamour to the table. It comes in a whopping eight different colorways, letting you choose the hues that would work best with your daughter’s black tie wedding. The straight size runs from sizes 2-16, and the plus size version runs from sizes 14W-24W.
The dress is also highly rated, scoring 4.5 stars out of over 150 reviews. The one takeaway from the reviews is that the dress runs slightly large so buyers suggest ordering one size down, but the fit is still gorgeous. For example, one reviewer wrote, “I wore this dress to a wedding last week and received compliments all evening. It fit perfectly and covers all those little areas you want to cover around the tummy and sides. Be sure and order one size smaller since it does run large. This will be your ‘go to dress’ for weddings.” It’s a lovely option!
2. Sheer Floral Applique Dress
Black tie wedding outfits usually include floor-length dresses, but they don't mean you have to wear black. For the mother of the bride who loves a whimsical touch, this Tadashi Shoji dress from BHLDN is swanky enough for a black tie wedding, but still has that charming aesthetic that you lean towards. This column dress plays with silver and gold hues, where the gilded floral embroidery adds a metallic glow to the pewter column dress. It also has an illusion neckline, where the flowers lay across your collarbone and create a boat neckline.This would be an especially beautiful dress to pick if your daughter has a soft color scheme, where she chose blush pinks, warm champagnes, or sparkling metallic hues. Just imagine the photos!
The dress is made by designer Tadashi Shoji, who specializes in wedding looks, and this particular one runs from sizes 0-16.
3. Floral Evening Gown
Linden Dress, $280, BHLDN
If rhinestones and sequins aren’t your thing, you might want to veer towards florals instead. Perfect for a summer wedding, this mother of the bride dress is perfect for a black tie affair. Called the “Linden Dress,” this blush and navy dress is so stunning. Reviewers had nothing but good things to say about the frock, where one buyer posted, “This dress was very beautiful. The colors in this dress were perfect. I loved the material. It was so comfortable and very flattering. I had so many people that just loved the dress.”
You can also dress it up with different sashes - helping add more glamour to the piece - and you can accent it with rhinestone studded shoes and a blush wrap. It’s easy to dress up or down! Here's a close-up of the gorgeous appliqué.
4. Beaded Bodice Ball Gown
For the woman who wants to take the “black” in black tie seriously, this lace number from Nordstrom will be perfect. It’s modest without looking dowdy, and flirty enough where you will feel beautiful spinning underneath the chandelier-ed dance floor and winking at guests while sipping your cocktail. Featuring a high-neck lace bodice with subtle black beadwork, it’s accented with a big sash bow to add a touch of romance to the look. Created by the designer Eliza J, the frock runs from sizes 0-14.
The reviews are all glowing, and most of them say it’s even more stunning in person and that the photos don’t do it justice. Which is what we like to hear, especially considering it’s a looker on the website. One thing to keep in mind is that, studying the reviews, many shoppers said they needed it hemmed because the skirt was too long. But if you have a Nordstrom card, you can get that done for free! Here’s what one dress shopper had to say: “This is a beautiful and beautifully made dress. The front of the lace bodice is elegantly beaded. The pleated taffeta skirt (with side seam pockets) is lovely, supported by a tulle ruffle on the lining beneath. High neckline is the finishing touch...This has to be one of my favorite formal dresses ever.”
5. Sequin Mesh Gown
If your daughter is having a black tie wedding, it basically means that it's an opportunity to become your most glamorous. If you only have one daughter, it’s time to grab the red lipstick and splash out on this exciting time. Forget the black dresses and indulge yourself in some sparkles. And I don’t mean a modest smattering across the bodice - there’s no room for being understated here. Let yourself have fun and look like a glitter bomb exploded in the room you were changing in. But in the most tasteful way, of course.
Worried you might look like a second grader’s art project? Don’t worry, we wouldn’t lead you astray that way. This sequin mesh gown from Nordstrom is a beautiful example of how you can indulge with sequins while still looking sophisticated and timeless. It also has a charming scoop back and small train, making it perfect for such an important event.
It runs from sizes 4-16, and there is a plus size version that runs from 14-24. You can also buy both versions directly from Adrianna Papell’s website, which - hot tip! - will allow you to get 15% off your dress if you sign up for her email. If the gold version isn’t quite right for you, the dress also comes in a black, blush, and lead option. This gown is also a winner on Nordstrom’s site, where it has nearly 5 stars out of over 500 reviews. One standout one was this one: “This is a beautiful dress! If it’s possible for a 60 year old to feel like a princess, than this is the dress to do it. Very comfortable, lots of glittery shine. Wearing this to my daughter’s November wedding. The rose gold looks slightly bronze in a good way. Not tight anywhere. May run slightly large. You will be so happy with this dress.”
6. Sequin Embroidered Capelet Gown
Metallics are a go-to shade for black tie weddings, but this mother of the bride dress is not only distinguished, but it’s also romantic. Delicate sprigs of sequin embroidery run down the A-line gown, and the floaty capelet draped over the v-back gives you elegant movement. Just imagine crossing the banquet room while that cape flutters around your shoulders and your heels click across the floor. It runs from 16W-20W, and while there are only two reviews on this piece on the Nordstrom website, both are very positive. Take this one for example: “This dress is beautiful. I had been looking for months to find a dress for my youngest sons wedding but there was none that seemed suitable for my age and shape. I am a plus size and most of the dresses I looked at were dark ugly colors which I didn't like for a spring wedding,” the shopper shared. “Even my husband was impressed and he usually doesn't have much of an opinion about what I wear.”
7. Art Deco Dress
Madigan Dress, $199, Anthropologie
If your daughter is going for a Great Gatsby vibe, lean into the art deco mood and come with this flapper-inspired dress from Anthropologie. You will look like you belong in a velvet-covered speakeasy with a Manhattan in your hand, but without looking costume-y about it. The Madigan Dress runs from sizes 0-18, and it has a high neckline and billowy bodice - giving you that extra room for cake and the sweets table. It has gold geometric beading running down its length, adding a touch of sparkle. Plus you have colorway options: this particular piece also comes in black and silver. Adrianna Papell also makes a Petite and Plus size version of this dress, just instead of a high neckline it has spaghetti straps. The plus sizes run from 12-24, making sure everyone has the chance to shimmer.
Check out these black tie mother of the bride dresses and see if any of them are to your liking. And don't have time to go shopping right now? Bookmark this page and come back to it later - we're here for you.
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