Apr 03, 2024

The 18 Best Summer Mother

Our favorite finds from Anthropologie, Adrianna Papell, Tadashi Shoji, and more.

Rachel Varina is a full-time freelancer with over 10 years of editorial experience and six years of experience in the wedding industry. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Elite Daily, Betches, Zola, and more.

Photo by Jana Williams Photography

Deal Alert: Shop the best discounts on Mother of the Bride dresses and accessories during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Picking an outfit as the mother-of-the-bride or groom can naturally feel a bit stressful. You are one of the most important guests after all, so you want to pick a style that makes you feel your best and compliments the rest of the wedding. If the wedding will take place in the summer, you also have to consider if the fabric and colors will suit the climate.

Between bright colors, airy fabrics, and shorter options, summer fashion is naturally a little more laid back than the cooler months. This means more opportunities to let your personal style shine, whether that’s with a playful midi you can dance in or an embellished number that’ll turn heads. Whichever route you choose, staying comfortable is essential, especially if the event is taking place outdoors. We spoke to fashion stylists for their tips on how to find stylish dresses that will still keep you cool in the summer heat. With their advice, we compiled the list of the best dresses in high quality, breathable materials, wide size ranges, and different lengths and colors to suit all wedding venues and dress codes.


We love an airy hue for summer celebrations, and BHLDN definitely delivers with the Leila gown in dusty blue. The style comes in eight other colors and with a draped bodice, soft sleeves, and flowy skirt, it's a vision in any hue. Silky charmeuse is ideal for summer weather, according to Stitch Fix Stylist Jessica Sockel.

Price at time of publish: $248

Size: 0-26 | Materials: Satin, polyester | Colors: 9

Mac Duggal

Add an extra pop of color to the celebration with this sunny sundress from Mac Duggal. Between the bright yellow shade, the tiered ruffle skirt, and the all-over floral pattern, it's a happy look that'll match your day-of mood. It also comes in an equally gorgeous navy. Thanks to the double lining, you don’t have to worry about the fabric being too transparent.

Price at time of publish: $298

Size: 0-16 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: 2

Adrianna Papell

Feminine and flirty, this lightweight satin crepe gown from Adrianna Papell feels fresh and fun for summer events. Coming in a soft toffee color, the ruffled neckline and one-shoulder silhouette add a charming twist to the classic A-line style. Bonus point for a belt that highlights your waist and a slit that elegantly shows some leg.

Price at time of publish: $199

Size: 0-20 | Materials: Satin, polyester | Colors: 1


Little black dresses are essential for special events, but this unique number from Amsale adds some summer flare to the wardrobe staple. Warm shades of yellow, red, and orange make up a festive floral pattern along the hem, and you can even get the matching opera coat to wear again at chillier events. The tea length is also perfect for those who don’t want to wear a full length gown.

Price at time of publish: $1,895

Size: 00-28 | Materials: Cloque | Colors: Black

Adrianna Papell

Hand-beaded 3D flowers dance down the bodice of this sleek Adrianna Papell column gown. The streamlined silhouette—complete with a one-shoulder and side slit—hugs your body in all the right places. The style runs large, so size down if you are between sizes.

Price at time of publish: $249

Size: 0-20 | Materials: Polyester, beading | Colors: Stone


Between the seafoam green, the subtle metallic sheen, and the halter neckline, there's so much to love about this Talbot Runhof dress. Graduating from seafoam to silver, the fabric falls into a cascading cape at the back and an elegant mermaid hem. Our favorite feature, though, is the light-as-air cape that provides ample arm coverage and plenty of intrigue to your day-of look. We can’t picture any style that would be more fitting for a seaside affair.

Price at time of publish: $2,595

Size: 4-18 | Materials: Polyester | Color: Light green

David's Bridal

Long sleeves and summer don't exactly go hand-in-hand, but if you're craving some full arm coverage, Sockel recommends a dress with sheer sleeves. The off-the-shoulder neckline gives way to mesh sleeves that allow plenty of airflow to stay cool on hot summer nights. 3D floral embellishments make the sleeves extra elegant. The above-the-knee length is a great option if you don’t want a maxi dress.

Price at time of publish: $97

Size: 2-14 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: Navy

Show Me Your Mumu

Why not feel pretty in pink on the big day? This vibrant shade is elevated further by a formal square neckline, side slit, and ruffles down the skirt. If you love the style but want something a little more understated, the design also comes in 10 shades, ranging from sage green to taupe. It’s a style you can certainly wear beyond the wedding.

Price at time of publish: $168

Size: XXS-3X | Materials: Polyester, spandex | Colors: 11


This dress looks like it belongs on the red carpet. The gathered structured side bow and mermaid silhouette will certainly stun in photos for years to come. We love how it keeps you covered while still showing off your figure. Despite the tight fit, the dress is comfy and easy to move around in thanks to the stretchy fabric.

Price at time of publish: $995

Size: 2-16 | Materials: Polyamide, elastane | Colors: Blue, Cyclamen


A sparkling soirée is the opportunity to wear a shimmering look of your own, like this sequined statement dress from Tadashi Shoji. With matte sequins, the dress isn’t overly sparkly but still feels glamorous. The column silhouette skims your curves while the skirt flares out a tad for extra balance. Coming in silver or gold, the intricate pattern and cap sleeves give a timeless feel worthy of such an important wedding.

Price at time of publish: $430

Size: 0-16 | Materials: Polyester, viscose | Colors: Silver, gold

Saks Fifth Avenue

Stand out amongst the blooms in this terrific tiered gown from Marchesa Notte. In addition to the all-over festive floral print, the entire dress boasts sequins for a subtle shine that makes the design pop. Wear simple accessories to really allow this look to dazzle.

Price at time of publish: $1,095

Size: 0-14 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: Florals on ivory


High-low hemlines are perfect for keeping cool and navigating the day without worrying about tripping over your skirt. The taffeta material, open back, and bright primary colors makes this design suitable for your son or daughter's special celebration. The bow in the back is the sweetest finishing touch.

Price at time of publish: $795

Size: 00-28 | Materials: Taffeta | Colors: 4

AW Bridal

A sleeveless dress that comes with a light jacket gives you the best of both worlds. It’s up to you whether you wear the jacket for the entire day or slip it on in the evening when it becomes more chilly. With an empire waist and ruching around the waist, the dress is very flattering. Best of all, it comes with a built in bra. We love how it comes in more than 40 colors and sizes up to 30. Not to mention you can order a custom sized dress for free. For $100, it’s a steal.

Price at time of publish: $100

Size: 0-30 | Materials: Chiffon | Colors: 41


This dress is similar to the BHLDN Leila Satin Charmeuse Maxi Dress, but with a wider size range and a cheaper price. The flutter sleeves give your arms just the right amount of coverage while still looking summery and keeping you cool. The satin trump skirt glides down your body while the empire waist elongates your frame. From black to bright emerald, you can either go with classic or bold colors.

Price at time of publish: $120

Size: 14-32 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: 5

Adrianna Papell

Can’t decide between a dress or pants? This jumpsuit gives you the best of both. With a chiffon overlay skirt, it looks like a dress in the back while truly there are pants and a front slit. The floral print is the perfect compliment for any outdoor summer wedding. Flutter sleeves and a v neck make it extra romantic.

Price at time of publish: $189

Size: 0-30 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: Navy

Talk about taking a cue from your surroundings. Shifting from emerald green to yellow, this ombre design is stunning and pays homage to the beauty of the beach. Though it does have long sleeves, the billowing chiffon fabric and kaftan silhouette keep it lightweight and breezy. Add in the wind and you’ll look and feel like a movie star.

Price at time of publish: $350

Size: 0-14 | Materials: Polyester | Colors: Ombre blue


Add some sparkle to your look with this embellished sheath dress. The sparkly halter lights up your face, while darting and ruching around the bodice and waist enhance your figure. The slimming fabric holds you in while still offering stretch and comfort. Pair it with an updo and you don’t even need a necklace.

Price at time of publish: $154

Size: 2-16 | Materials: Nylon, Spandex | Colors: 7


Cotton is the ultimate fabric for a summer dress as it’s lightweight and breathable. Though the fabric sometimes look too casual, this frilly maxi dress from Marcella feels fancy and feminine. Not only are the bow straps adorable, but you can adjust them to best fit your chest. There’s also smocking in the back for extra stretch. The princess seams highlight your curves while the trumpet skirt transitions into a playful ruffle. We love the hot pink for a Barbiecore moment, or you can stick with timeless black. With your purchase, proceeds go to support the education of girls in Sub-Sarah Africa in addition to the female crew of production workers earning a liveable wage.

Price at time of publish: $148

Size: XS-XXXL | Materials: Coton | Colors: Pink, Black

Meet the Expert

Jessica Sockel is a fashion stylist at Stitch Fix, an online retailer that provides personal styling delivered to your door.

When shopping for a summer wedding, you'll want to really take the time to think about the forecast. Some locations can be extremely warm, and overheating is a real possibility. On the other hand, other locations, like a beach wedding, can be breezy and a little chilly. It’s also important to consider if the wedding will be inside or outside, or both. Once you have those answers, you can think about the fabric and colors (below).

The best way to stay cool during a balmy summer wedding is by wearing the right fabric. “The coolest option for a mother-of-the-bride's dress will be something with an airy, breathable material such as satin crepe, voile, or light polyester,” says Sockel. Linen or cotton, like in the Marcella Racine Dress, also shine as lightweight and breathable fabrics.

While the mother-of-the-bride doesn’t have to match the bridal party, Sockel recommends choosing a complementary color to provide a cohesive look. You can also think about the wedding venue for inspiration. “If the venue is at a beach, the mother-of-the-bride might opt for complimenting colors such as shell pink, sky blue, or a tropical clementine orange, Stitch Fix’s predicted color of the year,” says Sockel. With a blend of green, blue, and yellow, Banana Republic Zela Chiffon Maxi Dress matches a beachy setting to a T.

Sockel also recommends wearing subtle florals, like Mac Duggal Floral Empire Waist Gown, as a way to celebrate the lush season.

While many opt for strapless or sleeveless dresses in the summer, you don’t have to. “Some of our favorite tricks to stay cool and covered during the summer are opting for an illusion sleeve, a cape gown, or even a matching scarf,” says Sockel. Bringing a shawl or light jacket is also a good way to prevent getting chilly later in the night, especially if the wedding is outdoors. For extra convenience, choose a set that comes with a matching jacket, like AW Bridal Babette Dress.

Many summer weddings gravitate toward bright, earthy, and natural hues to compliment the sun-filled season. Neutrals, greens, pinks, yellows, and light blues are all summer wedding staples.

While you don’t have to ask for your child’s permission, it is best if both of you love the outfit you’ll be wearing. It can be a fun bonding experience to go dress shopping together and many mothers and brides choose coordinating looks. To get things started, it’s best to have a conversation about the best colors and silhouettes to look for, as well as the dress code.

Emily Cieslak is an associate commerce editor at Brides, covering all things fashion and beauty. She’s written various articles about mother-of-the-bride dresses and interviewed Stitch Fix Stylist Jessica Sockel for more advice about summer dressing.

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