What Are the Mother of the Bride's Responsibilities?

A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky
The mother of the bride reserves hotel rooms for travelling guests.
The mother of the bride reserves hotel rooms for travelling guests.

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. Sometimes, the mother of the bride also takes care of the baby shower if she has the time to take care of it. She is likely to make sure that all gifts in the registry will be useful, so call dibs on important stuff like pregnancy full body pillows, burp cloths, or new parent survival kits!

The mother of the bride often helps select a wedding gown.
The mother of the bride often helps select a wedding gown.

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.

The bride's mother should try to help make her daughter's day go as smoothly as possible.
The bride's mother should try to help make her daughter's day go as smoothly as possible.

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.

The bride's mother might help pick out floral arrangements.
The bride's mother might help pick out floral arrangements.

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. They can also take care of coming up with a list for the registry. If she feels some gifts are inappropiate like maternity items when the bride isn't expecting or something inappropriate and suggestive, she may choose to talk to the people in advance so the bride doesn't have to.

The mother of the groom typically provides the guest list for the groom's family and friends.
The mother of the groom typically provides the guest list for the groom's family and friends.

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.

A bride's mother might help her daughter decide on an overall look for the wedding.
A bride's mother might help her daughter decide on an overall look for the wedding.

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. In the future, the mother of the bride may also voluntarily help their expecting daughter with things like baby showers, child care, or shopping for must-have pregnancy items. This can further extend to babysitting duties in the far future.

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Discussion Comments

Rotergirl

@Pippinwhite: If more couples did what you and your husband did, there wouldn't be nearly as many hurt feelings and "Bridezilla" moments while making wedding plans. People tend to be a little wiser and more frugal if it's their own money they're spending.

Pippinwhite

My husband and I paid for the majority of our wedding ourselves. We had a small, afternoon church wedding, so we didn't need to serve elaborate refreshments at the reception.

My mother helped us pay for the church rental, the alterations for my dress and her own dress. I knew she couldn't afford a lot, so I didn't ask her to pay for much.

These days, if the couple wants to take on the responsibility of the wedding costs, the mother of the bride can sit back and enjoy the festivities, while the couple does the heavy lifting and the legwork.

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    • The mother of the bride reserves hotel rooms for travelling guests.
      By: Michael Flippo
      The mother of the bride reserves hotel rooms for travelling guests.
    • The mother of the bride often helps select a wedding gown.
      By: gromovataya
      The mother of the bride often helps select a wedding gown.
    • The bride's mother should try to help make her daughter's day go as smoothly as possible.
      By: Deklofenak
      The bride's mother should try to help make her daughter's day go as smoothly as possible.
    • The bride's mother might help pick out floral arrangements.
      By: neirfy
      The bride's mother might help pick out floral arrangements.
    • The mother of the groom typically provides the guest list for the groom's family and friends.
      By: tr3gi
      The mother of the groom typically provides the guest list for the groom's family and friends.
    • A bride's mother might help her daughter decide on an overall look for the wedding.
      By: fotoatelie
      A bride's mother might help her daughter decide on an overall look for the wedding.