Considered by some to be a necessary evil, the mother of the bride is nonetheless an integral part of a wedding. She is essentially the hostess of the event and helps make sure the bride’s wishes are followed. It is often up to this woman to take care of the thousand tiny details that make up a wedding.
The mother of the bride is responsible for much of the planning that goes on, if she chooses to take this role. She usually helps the bride select her wedding gown and helps the couple set a wedding budget. Since the bride’s family pays for nearly everything, traditionally, it is important to plan the budget early. The bride's mother also contacts the groom’s mother and keeps her abreast of what is happening. She should also choose her dress as early as possible, and she should let the groom’s mother know what color she has chosen and what colors the bride has chosen for the wedding.
One of the more onerous responsibilities of the mother of the bride is to take care of the guest list. It is up to her to collect names and addresses from both sides of the family, to decide which friends to invite, and to consult with the groom’s mother in order to finalize the guest list. Diplomacy and tact may be required to do this without creating a family rift. If the guest list is limited by budget, then the bride's mother will need to be kind, but firm, about keeping the guest list small, but also should be fair about inviting roughly the same number of people from the bride’s and groom’s families.
If many relatives and friends on the bride’s side will be traveling from out of town, the mother of the bride is also responsible for reserving hotel rooms for these travelers. It is her job to pick a nice hotel that will not impoverish those who stay there.
She is also responsible for helping the bride choose the reception menu, seat the reception guests, and order stationery, such as invitations, napkins, place cards, and thank-you notes. The bride's mother can also help her daughter address invitations and stuff envelopes. She may also have to call the florist, the caterer, the wedding director, and others in order to make certain the plans for the wedding and reception are moving along. It may be up to her to pick up the bride’s dress and flowers, too.
A mother of the bride will invariably be invited to most of the showers and fetes for the bride, so she will need to make sure she can attend many of these. She may want to enlist a good friend to help her take care of these many details. Some of her responsibilities may be lessened, depending on how much the bride wants to do herself. Some brides are born planners, and able to execute these kinds of projects largely unaided.
The bride's mother should try to help make her daughter’s day go as smoothly as possible, without insisting her own tastes or preferences be followed. Being unselfish and flexible in her outlook toward the wedding may be the best gift she can give to her daughter.