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What's A Mother to Do 

Mother Of The Bride & Groom's Role In A Wedding

by Judith Rivers-Moore, The WeddingLinks Coach

When given the opportunity, most mothers want to assist in the wedding. The primary role of the mothers is to make certain the “Brides Wishes” are carried out -- unless it is the bride’s true wish to have the mom(s) do it for her. With my two daughters, it was feast and famine for my input. One daughter wanted me on overload, and the other wished me away from decision and action. Both weddings were equally wonderful and I learned a valuable lesson on letting go.


The following etiquette outlines for the mothers may be of some assistance to the bride who is afraid to put a hole in the dam of asking their mother anything... for fear the flood will come and be uncontrollable. Just print this out and adhere to the possibilities -- or forget going there. After all, you are the Bride and you know what you want.


Advice for Moms 

Even if you are an expert at planning, it pays to bow out unless asked and even then, only what is asked for. Tough one, huh? I’ve heard it all. Many of us moms deal with children who have a history of procrastination, don’t know what a budget is? Can’t make decisions and there are thousands of decisions in this!! Have been dreaming about her/his wedding day all your life. Remember it is THEIR wedding, not Yours -- even if you are paying the bills. Many people hire an event coordinator for this very reason -- to be the buffer zone.


THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE

With the exception of 2nd marriages or couples paying for their own wedding/reception, the Mother is considered the HOSTESS and the Father the HOST throughout the wedding day’s events. Mothers may be asked to:

  • Help the bride select her wedding attire: This requires looking at, discussing fabrics versus time of year, necklines, magazines, online views and seeing her in various gowns she has pre-selected, or going to the bridal shops with her. It does not mean endless shopping, arguments, or you sewing her dress over the next six months.
  • When Requested ... Assist in Understanding and Completion of the Wedding Budget ~ The Ingredients of a budget.
  • If the bride has been on her own for several years this may not be something the mother would assist with. 
  • If the parents are in a position to pay for portions of the wedding celebration.  Brainstorm as to who can pay for what, what funds will be needed, the number of guests. So often the groom and bride work on the budget, but if asked, the mother of the bride can assist. A good clear budget will help everyone achieve a more relaxed situation. This may require agreements from fathers, stepfathers, future in-laws, relatives and providing services from relatives and friends.
  • Reservations at hotels for the out of town guests, invited by the bride’s family - not the groom’s family.
  • In today’s world, we see this being handled in the pre-announcements of “save the date” with hotels to contact as part of the text.
  • Choosing your own mother of the bride gown. Discuss with the bride what colors she is planning for the wedding. After this, ask if she has a preference for the colors the mothers will wear. Most brides defer this choice to their mom to discuss and then advise the mother-in-law. 
  • Both mothers do not need to wear the same colors but try to compliment the family photographs that will be taken. 
  • Attend one or more showers for the bride, but do not feel you have to have a gift for each one. A card will suffice. Do not be offended if not asked to all bridal showers.
  • The mother of the bride can be asked to review the ceremony concerns with the bride and minister, coordinator or church hostess. This includes the seating, outline of the ceremony. If there is a reception line (brides choice) where and when this will be placed in the day’s routine. The seating outline for the wedding and reception tables are other areas she can offer suggestions and guidance. 
  • The mother of the bride - prior to the ceremony may request a private time with her daughter and specific photos completed by the photographer.
  • The mother should expect that any car she is delivered to the church or ceremony in - is clean and not have to deliver herself - unless her choice.

MOTHERS MAY BE PARTICIPANTS IN A FORMAL CEREMONY

The mothers light the candelabras prior to the service beginning.

  • FAMILY SEATING ETIQUETTE   Bride: left side     Groom: right side
  • The mother of the Groom is seated first - approximately 10 minutes prior to the ceremony.  Her sons or an usher may walk her down the aisle with her husband walking behind them.  
  • She may request a specific piece of music prior to her walk and be seated.  Her seating also signifies the pre-music/prelude to the ceremony music to begin.  Strings, organ, piano, guitar or pre-recorded.
  • The Mother Of The Bride's walking down the aisle to her seat signifies the official beginning of the ceremony.  A solo musical piece may be completed after she and her husband are seated. 
  • Decide on who will escort the mother of the Bride down the aisle (first or second on the left for seating of the bride’s mother.) She should be walked down the aisle by a son, friend or usher and, with husband walking behind. 
  • The bride's mother may select a specific piece of music as she walks to her seat.  
  • Both sets of parents may request other non-involved family members to take their seats earlier leaving room for she & husband.
  • Generally, the first 3 or 4 rows of the room are provided for the families.  Can be more, if very large family.  Mom's with babies are suggested to sit near the outer aisles for quick retreats.  
  • Mother's of flower girls and ring bearers are not to go to their seats until their child is down the aisle during the ceremony.  
  • No guest should be seated down the center aisle - that is for the wedding party only.
  • NOTE  The seating of both the brides' family and grooms' family may be back one or two rows because of visibility.  If divorced the bride’s father and guests are seated two or three rows behind. The bride’s father can also be taking the bride down the aisle and sit either beside the bride’s mother or back with his guest and their family members. (this depends on their decision) this is not the bride’s decision.

THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM

  • In the absence of a mother of the bride, the mother of the groom may take on some of the responsibilities and assist the bride in any manner the bride welcomes.  It can set the tone for the groom’s mother and the bride for years to come. 
  • Mother of The Groom's  first commitment is to get hold of the bride’s parents and introduce yourself and spouse to the bride’s family. You can achieve a time together over dinner or at a restaurant to meet with or without the children.
  • If it is impossible to visit with one another then write a nice letter, send some family photos and welcome them to your family along with their daughter.
  • If you can call at a later date to stay abreast of what is going on and give everyone your e-mail or texting address to stay in the loop. Couples are now posting web pages for family members to check in to. This brings people closer and helps identify people prior to the event.
  • Your next important task is to ready your guest list with proper, addresses, zips, phone numbers, e-mails so the couple can work on their budget and invitations. It is always important to ask the number of guests you may include. Clarify as to whether the number is in couples or individual numbers.
  • The parents of the groom are responsible for the Rehearsal Dinner Arrangements & Bill.  They often select the location if the wedding is in their own city, but when traveling to another city, best to ask the couple's recommendation.  Often the hotel where guests are staying works well. Rehearsal dinners include a meal and drinks for the bride and groom, the brides' parents and children, your family and their guests.  (We do not suggest little children be included because they get tired out and unpredictable on the wedding day.) 
  • WHO'S INVITED TO THE REHEARSAL DINNER
  • The couple, both sets of parents & their children & their guests.  The bridesmaids, groomsmen & one guest each, the flower girl and ring bearer children and parents, the wedding planner, and the wedding officiant & their guests.  (usually 40-50 people) Specific invitations and a map to the restaurant or location with phone numbers are important to send each person involved. 
  • If there is something you specifically want to pay for in the wedding that is not being done by the bride or her family, then offer this. (Sometimes, a honeymoon is offered to the bridal couple by the parents of the groom or to begin a bonded travel gift registry with some funds.)
  • Some things you should not try to provide - Your personal services for baking cakes or complete food without being there a few days ahead. Traveling 3,000 miles with 200 party favors is easier than the groom’s cake on your lap.  
  •  It is important you attend the rehearsal to go over the outline for the ceremony.
  • If there is a reception line, you are requested to participate with the groom’s father in this line.
  • Often there are several sets of parents for a bride or groom, the reception line can or cannot include whom the bride or groom chooses.   Copyright, 2017, Judith Rivers-Moore

Huffington Post Also Has Another Great Article

 About Duties For Mother Of The Bride