Your child is getting married! Congratulations! As the mother of the Bride or Groom, what do you do?

Years ago there were very set rules of what the roles were for the mother of the Bride or Groom. You knew where the boundaries were and you knew what was expected of you. In this day and age, the traditional rules are a little more lackadaisical. In the past, upon engagement, it was the mother of the groom’s responsibility to reach out to the mother of the bride. They would then discuss things like engagement parties and attire. The mother of the groom would wait until the mother of the bride got their dress then decide on complementary attire. The parents of the bride would be expected to pay for the wedding and the parents of the groom were expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner and alcohol. Things have changed.

Who pays for what?

Today as more couples are waiting to get married and have established jobs, they are more likely to be paying for a majority of or not their entire wedding themselves. Welcome to the independent couple!

When I sit down with a couple the first thing I do is ask them about their budget and who is contributing to the festivities. More often than not the responses I get are that they are paying for a majority, if not the entire wedding themselves and the parents are contributing a minor amount if anything at all. This certainly changes the dynamics of planning. Couples are more than happy to fork out for the big day, so they have more control over what they want.

In the past the parents would pay for everything, leaving the couple to often agree to guests or items that they really did not want. In the end, they were not completely happy with certain elements of their wedding. When Mom and Dad are footing the bill, it’s harder to say no to their wanting to invite everyone from their work and friends you don’t even know.

The Mothers! Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom. (we were dancing to WHAM!)

It’s not just the control factor that influences a couple to pay for their own wedding. Many couples today are more established and have a better understanding of responsibility. Couples these days are more mature than they were years ago. Because of this, they do not need the assistance of their parents. They recognize that this is something that they want and want to take on and they don’t want to burden their parents with the high expense of a wedding. Of course, there are some parents that are just not in any financial position to spend a lot of money on a wedding.

So now in the beginning of planning, we ask who will be contributing financially, regardless of how much or how little. Some parents still insist on the traditional parent wedding rules where they pay for everything. But some will offer to pay for a specific item or part of the celebration, maybe the cake or the photographer.

So outside of the financial responsibility what am I supposed to do?

As the mother, you should first decide what you want to contribute, if anything, to the couple’s nuptials. This includes an engagement party, bridal shower, or luncheon. Regardless of how much or little you are contributing you must keep in mind that although it’s your child’s wedding you are the mother. You are not getting married. This is not your day. Make sure you discuss what the couple wants. Be respectful of their wishes. You don’t have to like it…it’s not your wedding. Your job is to be happy for them and support them in their new life together. Do not push your agenda or your guest list on them. They are going to be stressed enough and the last thing they need is for you to demand things. Again, not your day.

What are some Dos as Mother of the Bride or Groom?

  • Do ask what the couple wants.
  • Do ask who you can invite and can’t invite to THEIR wedding
  • Do ask what type of dress as far as style/color/length they would like you to wear
  • Do reach out to the other mother(s) to coordinate.
  • Do ask how you can help the couple with specific tasks they need
  • Do be supportive of their decisions for their wedding.

What are some Don’ts as Mother of the Bride or Groom?

  • Don’t take it upon yourself to make decisions for the couple unless specifically asked
  • Don’t invite people you have not cleared with the couple.
  • Don’t cause drama
  • Don’t think it’s your day
  • Don’t agree to help with ultimatums.
  • Don’t pick apart the decisions the couple has made.

In short…

Rules have changed a lot in the last few decades. Couples today are taking on more and more responsibility for their weddings. Yes, they would love financial support but, they mostly would like moral support. The biggest thing you can do as the mother is to listen to what the couple wants and do everything you can to make this day a special one for the couple! Enjoy your new role in your child’s life!

I have to add, in addition to being a wedding/event planner, I was also a mother of the groom. I know EXACTLY what it feels like! I have been there! And if you ever have any questions never hesitate to ask me!