A family wedding is an exciting time not only for the bridal couple but for their family too, especially their parents. Today’s brides tend to be older at the time of their wedding, will make most of the decisions with the groom, and together the bridal couple will pay for the majority of the wedding expenses.
Mother of the Bride
Traditionally, the mother of the bride will help the bride prepare for the wedding and this means that sometimes she will act as a hostess at the engagement party and wedding reception while at other times she will act as a wedding consultant when helping her daughter select the details for the wedding ceremony and reception. The key is to enjoy this special time together and be supportive of the wonderful bride!
Duties of a Mother of the Bride
Before the Wedding:
- First and most importantly, be there to lovingly support and gently guide the bride when your opinion is asked or required.
- If the bride’s parents are paying for a large portion of the wedding, be sure to set a realistic budget. This might be one of the most difficult things to do, but setting a limit from the start will hopefully prevent any miscommunications and potential arguments.
- With the bridal couple’s consent, contact the parents of the groom to arrange a quite introductory meeting and celebrate the upcoming happy event.
- Assist the bride with the wedding guest list. Be sure to coordinate with the groom and his family. Help the bride with any questions about family or friends and be prepared to make some compromises depending on the budget.
- Accompany the bride as she shops for her wedding dress and accessories. Wait until the bride asks for your option, stop and take a moment to think, and then be honest and gentle with your response. Be sure to support the bride on her final decision.
- Be available to assist the bridal couple with decisions about the ceremony and reception venues, along with choices for floral, decoration, entertainment, etc. Remember that it is their celebration and should reflect their personalities while at the same time keep within the budget. If you feel uncomfortable with some their choices, be honest and gently communicate your feelings. Be willing to make compromises and to find a good solution to any problems.
- Coordinate with the maid/matron of honor on the bridal shower. It is not considered proper etiquette for the mother of the bride to host, but it is acceptable to offer your home for the event.
- As early as possible, select your dress for the wedding. Generally, it is preferred that the dress coordinates with the wedding’s overall color and style while complementing the bridesmaids and mother of the dresses. Be sure to consult with the bride on your final decision.
- Be available to participate in the wedding rehearsal and attend the dinner that usually follows.
On the Wedding Day:
- The most important thing to do on your daughter’s wedding day is to be there to lovingly support and gently guide the bride if she needs assistance or is a bundle of nerves!
- Overall, the duties of the mother of the bride and will depend on the style and choice of venue for the ceremony and reception. Be sure to discuss the schedule with the bridal couple to ensure that their special day is free of any problems.
- Assist the bride as she dresses before the ceremony. Take the time to have a private moment with your daughter before the ceremony starts to tell her how proud you are of her.
- Before the ceremony would be a great time to present her with a special gift, perhaps it is something old, new or blue – please check out this month’s Celebration post “Something old, new…” for ideas and suggestions regarding this wonderful tradition.
- Be sure to greet and welcome all the guests with a smile. Introduce yourself and your husband to guests such as the relatives of the groom or friends of the bridal couple that you have not previously meet.
- If you are seated at the parent’s table during the reception, take the time to circulate around the room and be sure to thank family and friends for attending the wedding.
- Be available for the traditional dance with the father of the bride and the groom.
- Take the time during the day to tell your daughter how proud you are for her, how beautiful she looks and how happy you are for her and her new husband!
- Most importantly, take the time to enjoy the day! Be assured that as a parent, you have raised a wonderful daughter with good values and you deserve to celebrate!!
Mother of the Groom
In the past, Mother of the Groom was very limited but now her role and responsibilities have greatly expanded.
Duties of a Mother of the Bride
- First and most importantly, be there to lovingly support the groom through the most important event of his life and be available when your opinion is asked or required.
- After the bridal couple engagement is announced, it is customary for the parents of the groom to meet the bride’s parents before the wedding. If it hasn’t been previously arranged, consider hosting a luncheon or dinner to introduce the groom’s immediate family to the bride’s family.
- When asked, provide the bride with a list of guests to invite from the groom’s side of the family. Please sure to check for the allotted number of guests the groom is able to invite. As the wedding date approaches, offer to call invited guests on the groom’s side that have not responded.
- Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the engagement and wedding rings, the rehearsal dinner, the groom’s tuxedo, the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres for the groomsmen and transportation for the wedding ceremony and reception. However, these are only suggestions.
- Attend any bridal shower you are invited to and offer your services to help if necessary. Think about bring a sentimental gift, maybe a photo album of baby pictures of the groom.
- Help the out of town guests on the groom’s side of the family with hotel reservation, have a list of hotels located within in the area of the ceremony and reception.
- Shop early for your mother of the groom dress, coordinate style and colors with the mother of the bride. When shopping, ask the bride to come to provide her advice and opinion – think of it as a bonding experience with just the two of you!
- If asked by the bridal couple, provide some song recommendations for the mother/son dance at the reception.
- The night before the wedding and after the rehearsal, the groom’s parents usually host a rehearsal dinner at a nearby venue.
Gift suggestions for the parents of the bridal couple
To show the parents of the bride and groom that there support during the planning stages of the wedding are appreciated, it is a very thoughtful gesture to give each set of parents a thank you gift. Listed below are some suggestions:
- Wedding Album – A selection of the wedding portraits will make a treasured and sentimental gift.
- Spa or resort reservations – after the stressful and hectic process of planning a wedding it would be a lovely idea to send the parents of the bridal couple to a favorite spa or resort for some much needed relaxation.
- Dinner reservations to a favorite restaurant – the bridal couple’s parents would appreciate a wonderful meal at a wonderful restaurant.