The Role of the Mother of the Bride or Groom

Wedding planning has started and you’re probably wondering what your role in the wedding will be as the mother of the bride. The role of the bride’s father has stood the test of time and is largely the same as it has always been. However, mother of the bride duties have become harder to pinpoint among the many changes being made in the modernisation of weddings.

Similarly, you might be a mother of the groom who is wondering what your role will be in the wedding given the parents of the bride have defined roles.. We’ve done our research and put together a handy guide for all those upcoming mothers of the bride and groom.

The traditions

Traditionally, the bride’s parents would pay for their daughter’s wedding. Luckily this practice has become outdated, and couples will now tend to pay for the celebrations themselves. As a modern mother of the bride, you may want to make a contribution towards the wedding, which is perfectly acceptable. If you are planning on helping towards the cost of the big day, it’s advisable to inform your daughter of your contribution in advance so she can factor this into her wedding budget.

The traditional role of the mother of the bride in the lead up to the wedding was as a chief adviser to the bride. Historically, the mother of the bride would have given her opinions on many aspects of the wedding from the cake to the bouquet and the venue. However, in recent years this role has become less prominent, and opinions will be taken from various members of the wedding party and others who are close to the bride.

The mother of the bride was also in charge of the invitations and guest list for the wedding. It was custom that invitations for the wedding were sent from the parents of the bride as they were the ones who paid for the event. Now that times have changed, and many couples now pay for their weddings themselves, this tradition has somewhat faded into history. As a modern-day mother of the bride, you can be involved in the invitations by offering help in selecting the design or wording and checking the details and spelling before they’re printed.

When it comes to mother of the groom, there isn’t much information out there about their duties as historically the parents of the groom have played a much smaller role in the wedding celebrations. However, today mothers of the groom are looking to be more involved with the wedding, whether that be in a financial sense or through offering advice. Perhaps you have talents where you can offer to help; a valuable seamstress, cake decorator or florist would be much appreciated. But think deeper that this, can you run errands, store things ahead of the big day or be a mediator between difficult family members. Think back to weddings you've attended and highlight things that could have had more organisation. Could you timetable the morning and getting bridesmaids ready? How about organising the roll call for the photos? Ask how your future daughter-in-law would like assistance. 


Modern mother of the bride duties

Given that times have changed, and traditions are different now than they were, it can be difficult to understand your role as mother of the bride. In general, your duties will depend on the stage in the wedding process, so we’ve divided the duties according to the stage of planning below.

Before the wedding

In the lead up to the wedding, you’ll be called upon to support your daughter in the planning of her big day. You may be involved in choosing the venue, putting together a guest list or keeping track of RSVPs. Your daughter may also want your advice on what cultural and family traditions she should include in the big day, which you can certainly advise on. The preparation for the wedding is an exciting time for brides but it can also be rather overwhelming, so you can help by taking on any responsibilities you feel comfortable with and letting your daughter know you are there for her.

Usually, the mother of the bride will also be involved in the search for the bride’s wedding dress. This can be a very memorable moment in the wedding preparation so remember to listen to her needs and offer opinions to help narrow down her choices.

Once the bride’s dress has been chosen, the time will come for you to decide what you’ll wear on the big day. You should aim to find a dress that you love and that fits with the wedding theme. You can take inspiration from the bridal party and the bride herself as to what styles and colours would be best. Traditionally, the mother of the bride is given the privilege of choosing her outfit before the mother of the groom. If this is the case, you may want to share your choice with the mother of the groom once you have chosen to ensure your outfits don’t clash.

Weddings are usually heavily rooted in family and cultural traditions. As the mother of the bride, you will be called upon to share family traditions and heirlooms with the bride. You may want to start thinking about what things you may like to gift your daughter for her ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’.

On the wedding day

Your daughter will likely want you to be present for her preparation on the wedding day. You can enjoy the atmosphere of excitement from the bride and her bridesmaids by sipping champagne and getting ready with them. When it comes to getting ready, you can lend a hand in helping the bride put on her dress and placing her veil. It’s important to come prepared on the morning of the wedding. You may want to bring a wedding day emergency kit of safety pins and other things that may be useful in the case something doesn’t go to plan.

During the ceremony

Depending on the type of ceremony, you may be asked to start the processional or to escort your daughter down the aisle. Your role in the ceremony will likely be decided by the bride but you may want to give input and suggest ideas of what you think is best in the lead up to the wedding. Once those duties have been completed, you should sit on the front row and enjoy your daughter’s very special moment.

During the reception

During the reception, the mother of the bride will usually play the role of hostess, which will predominantly involve greeting the wedding guests. Other responsibilities include sitting at the parents’ table or top table and dancing with the bride’s father to encourage guests to hit the dance floor after the bride and groom’s first dance.


Mother of the groom duties

As the mother of the groom, you may be asked to contribute your opinions even before the bride knows there will be a wedding. Your son may ask for your help and advice when it comes to choosing an engagement ring, if he considers your style to be similar to his partner’s. You can of course advise on what you believe to be best in this case. Some brides and grooms may also opt to choose each other’s wedding rings as a surprise for one another. Your son may also seek your advice in finding the perfect wedding ring for his bride.

In preparation for the wedding, you may be asked to contribute to the guest list on behalf of the groom. This will include gathering the contact information for his family and friends and passing this on to the couple when necessary. As the head representative for the groom’s family, you should take responsibility for all admin-related tasks on your side of the family.

During the wedding day, you may have the opportunity to have a mother and son dance as part of the reception party. The mother and son dance can either be a dance of its own or you may be invited to dance with your son once the bride has begun her dance with her father.

As a general rule, modern-day mothers of the bride and groom tend to get involved with the wedding as much or as little as they and the bride and groom feel comfortable with. It’s certainly an exciting time for both you and your daughter or son so remember to embrace every moment and provide the support and advice they require.