What are the mother of the bride's responsibilities?

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Your daughter has just announced that she's getting married. Congratulations! There's a wedding in your future. The day your daughter weds a good man and begins here married life brings a tear to many a mom's eye.

As excited as you may be to start making all the arrangements, there are at least two important things to keep in mind:

  • It's your daughter's wedding, not yours. She'll have ideas and plans of her own.
  • You want to enjoy the party, too. If you take over the planning, you won't have time to do that.

Nevertheless, there are some responsibilities that the mother of the bride customarily shoulders for the wedding. They start with planning and continue through the wedding reception.

The Planning Phase

Helping your daughter pick out a dress is a tradition most mothers look forward to.
Helping your daughter pick out a dress is a tradition most mothers look forward to.
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Most of the work happens during the wedding planning phase. Because every little detail costs money, planning can't start until there's a budget. This is a responsibility the mother of the bride traditionally helps out with -- whether you're paying for everything, contributing a set amount, or your daughter and her intended are footing the bills.

Once funds are allocated, you'll:

  • Help make the guest list for the bride and work with the groom's family on its guest list
  • Help your daughter select her dress (and possibly the bridesmaid's dresses)
  • Find your dress as soon as possible
  • Scout out and visit potential event locations with your daughter
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests
  • Help document gifts and givers
  • Attend the bridal shower(s) and possibly host one
  • Listen to your daughter's hopes, frustrations, triumphs and disasters
  • Offer praise, congratulations and loving support as needed

The Ceremony Phase

Shedding tears will most likely be a part of the program, too.
Shedding tears will most likely be a part of the program, too.
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Pulling off the wedding ceremony smoothly takes practice. As the mother of the bride, you play a role in the flow of the wedding and should participate in the rehearsal and the dinner that typically follows. You may even be asked to help plan the dinner.

On the big day, you'll be one of the people your daughter turns to when she needs help getting ready. Some attendants may call on you for assistance, too. Before the backstage phase begins, you may want to get yourself dressed and coiffed with plenty of time to spare so you'll be available to help when necessary.

Unless you walk your daughter down the aisle, you'll be the last person seated for the ceremony. Your entry signals that the wedding is about to begin. After the recessional, you'll probably be making the first move, too. You'll exit right behind the bridal party, and the rest of the guests will follow your lead.

The Reception Phase

Most importantly, have a good time.
Most importantly, have a good time.
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The mother of the bride is the official hostess of the reception. It's your job, along with other important family members, to greet and welcome guests.

As head of the receiving line, try to set a tempo that keeps guests moving quickly into the reception hall. Assemble the receiving party so that each member makes warm, brief greetings, handing the guest off to the next person. The last greeter should direct guests to food or beverages.

Once the party starts, you may be called upon to dance with the bride's father or her new husband. But your most important responsibility of the day is to enjoy the occasion, congratulating the bride and groom on their beautiful wedding and new life together.

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Sources

  • Blum, Marcy, and Laura Fisher Kaiser. Wedding Planning for Dummies, 2nd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2005.
  • Bussen, Karen. Simple Stunning Wedding Etiquette: Traditions, Answers, and Advice from One of Today's Top Wedding Planners. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007.
  • Hospitality Network. "The Receiving Line." WeddingPlanning.com. (June 17, 2010)http://weddingplanning.com/tips/content/receiving_line.html
  • Hospitality Network. "The Wedding Party -- Who Does What?" WeddingPlanning.com. (June 17, 2010)http://weddingplanning.com/tips/content/wedding_party.htm
  • "Mother of the Bride: Mother of the Bride Duties in Detail." The Knot. June 24, 2008. (June 17, 2010)http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/mother-of-the-bride/articles/mother-of-the-bride-duties.aspx
  • Weiss, Mindy, with Lisbeth Levine. The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day. New York: Workman Publishing, 2007.
  • "What's a Mom To Do? Responsibilities of the Mother-of-the-Bride (M.O.B.)." Bed, Bath & Beyond. Wedding Ideas & Advice for the Couple, Wedding Party and Guests. (June 17, 2010)http://www.bedbathandbeyond.co/regShowWWTip.asp?order_num=-1&tip=wedding_motherofbride&tiptype=Couple