Mother of the bride attire can vary greatly by location. Across various cultures, the attire can be equally distinctive, with all types of meanings and symbolism. The following is a map of what mothers of the bride might wear during their daughter’s special day.
In Russian wedding traditions, a mother’s wardrobe for the big day could include dresses, skirts and headwear embroidered with vibrantly colored thread.
In Portugal, a wedding or special event is a time for women to break out of their average day-to-day attire and don long dresses and shawls in colorful patterns or shades.
In China, dark-colored clothing is believed to bring bad luck. You will most likely see the mother of the bride in a bright color like red, which symbolizes luck and prosperity.
An Indian mother will typically wear a brightly-colored silk sari, a long piece of fabric, draped around their shoulders and/or head. It may also include a pattern of flowers or birds made with gold or silver threads.
Similar to women in India, Malaysian mothers of the bride wear colorful skirts made of cloth, known as a sarong or kain, which wraps around the body. They will then accompany it with a long-sleeved blouse, and a shawl to cover their shoulders as a symbol of religious respect.
Brightly-colored cotton skirts and a tight-fitting jacket are standard wedding attire for Korean women. The clothing may also be adorned with colored ribbons and floral prints.
On special occasions, Japanese wedding traditions call for women to wear a kimono. A kimono is a silken robe, often composed of vibrant colors and patterns, tied around the waist with a sash called an obi, and worn with sandals.
Many Vietnamese women will wear a long, coat-like robe called an ao dai, similar to a kimono, over pants for a wedding or other special event.
In Mexico, mothers of the bride may be seen in white cotton blouses embroidered with colorful flowers, paired with long, full skirts that can give a beautiful flowing effect when dancing.
In Ghana, the Adinkra cloth may be worn at special occasions and ceremonies, like a wedding, and has very important meaning. There are more than seventy different symbols the Adinkra cloth can be stamped with; each represents different emotions or ideas that encompass the wearer.
Moroccan mothers of the bride can be seen adorned in elaborate kaftans, heavy jewelry and henna drawings, which are painted on their skin.
A tapa cloth, made from mulberry bark and decorated with block-printed geometric prints, can be part of a Samoan mother of the bride’s look for the day.
Mothers of the bride from certain African countries wear African shawls, known as Kente cloths, which wrap around them in a dress or skirt configuration. Their hair is usually braided, with cowrie shell accents. Cowrie shells are often seen in African wedding décor as a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Handmade Irish lace can be seen throughout the bridal party in many Irish wedding traditions, and the mother of the bride is no exception. Traditional Celtic symbols are also very common.
Different Native American tribes have various wedding outfits that are traditionally worn. Colors often coordinate with the geographical locations of the tribes: white for the east, blue for the south, yellow for the west and black for the north.
Italian weddings are known to be elegant and opulent affairs. The mother of the bride is often seen wearing a long silk or lace gown that covers her shoulders.
In France, tailored pant suits, fashionable hats and pashminas are typical attire for mothers of the bride at these chic events.
This is just a sampling of the varied outfits you may see a mother of the bride wearing around the world. Having your mother, or any other member of the wedding party, partake in some of these different fashions from across the world can add a bit of culture to your ceremony–or pay homage to your own heritage.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.