Although the parents of the bride traditionally take on a large percentage of the parental duties associated with a wedding - including the bulk of the financial burden - there's no doubt that a wedding day is a big event for the groom's parents as well. The mother of the groom plays an important role before and during the wedding.
Mother of the Groom Duties Before The Wedding
- Introduce bride to groom's family:
Although there's a good chance your son's fiance has met many members of your family before the engagement was announced, hosting a dinner to welcome her into the fold is a nice gesture. If the bride hasn't met much of your family, this is a great way for everyone to begin to get to know each other before the wedding.
- Discuss what expenses you'll be covering:
With wedding trends changing and families having different traditions, it's important to make sure that expectations about who is paying for what are clear between the couple and both sets of parents. Some expenses that are traditionally paid for by the groom's parents include: rehearsal dinner, drinks at the bar during the reception, tuxes for the groom and male attendants.
- Provide guest list to bride:
After talking to the couple about how many guests they plan to invite, you'll be responsible for giving the bride a list of family and friends you would like invited to the wedding. Include addresses and some designation of "priority guests" in case the couple needs to shorten their guest list.
- Attend bridal shower and bring gifts:
It's common for the mother of the groom to be invited to multiple bridal showers, including those hosted by the bride's family. Proper etiquette suggests that you attend all of the pre-wedding parties and bring a gift to each.
- Plan and host the rehearsal dinner:
This event is usually held the night before the wedding day and includes the couple's immediate family and bridal party. You may also invite guests that have arrived from out of town to attend the wedding. A mother of the groom speech may be given at this time to thank guests, acknowledge the bride's family and say a few words to the couple, especially your soon-to-be-wed son.
Mother Of The Groom Wedding Day Duties
- Be on time for pictures:
Chances are that you'll be included in a variety of professional photographs, including photos with your son, the couple, and family. Make sure you know when and where you need to arrive for photos.
- Stand in receiving line:
A receiving line made up of the bridal party and the couple's parents may be formed immediately following the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception. The mother and father of the groom typically stand next to the parents of the bride.
- Dance with the groom:
The mother/son dance traditionally takes place after the couple's first dance and the father/daughter dance.
While these duties are common, they are by no means the only involvement that the mother of the groom can have in her son's wedding. You may be asked to participate in candle lighting before the ceremony, read select scripture during the wedding, or make a speech at the reception. As with any wedding traditions, each couple and family gets to decide what they will and will not incorporate into their event. Be aware that the bride may have her own traditions to add to her wedding day and that cooperation between both families is almost always required when planning weddings.
In the London Borough of Barnet, mother-in-law jokes have been outlawed due to their "offensively sexist" nature.
A 12-page booklet, "Cultural awareness: General Problems," highlighting this new law states: “Humor can be incredibly culture-specific, and is very open to misinterpretation or even offense [sic] by other cultures. And don’t forget when you don’t know what people are laughing at, it is very easy to imagine that they are laughing at you... British mother-in-law jokes, as well as offensively sexist in their own right, can also be seen as offensive on the grounds that they disrespect elders or parents.”
We're all for fighting anything "offensively sexist" in nature, but come on! Really!?!
Read more: The Top 5 Causes of Wedding-Related Family Drama, 4 Mother of the Bride Shopping Tips and Storing Your Bridal Gown
Drama isn’t always limited to the stage or screen; you might find a dose of soap opera as you plan your wedding. Here, five common family dramas and how to deal.
- Two Races/Religions: He’s Jewish, you’re Baptist, both sets of parents are unhappy. First, understand and respect your parents’ faith and backgrounds. Second, remember that this is your wedding and your life and you’re living in the 21st century. If a religious or ethnic background is going to be an issue, celebrate your engagement in private for a week or so before telling Mom and Dad; you want some alone engagement time before entering the firestorm. Once the two of you are grounded, tell them in private, in person (if possible), and let them vent. Approach the situation diplomatically, but don’t give in. Don’t be surprised if any parent threatens to boycott the wedding. Ultimately, all you can do is hope that, over time, they will realize how happy you are and give you their blessing. Be prepared to have a smaller wedding if money is involved, and your parents refuse to pay for any part of your ceremony. Chances are, it won’t come to that, but you can’t let money be a love bargaining chip. (Read more: Interfaith Wedding Planning)
- Estranged Family Members: You haven’t spoken to your brother in 5 years and you don’t want him at the wedding. Unfortunately, if you don’t invite him, your parents will be furious and your other siblings will feel uncomfortable. There’s no easy solution to this dilemma, but if you can figure out a way to invite the estranged family member without too much discomfort, do so. Should your brother be left out of the ceremony, it will haunt you for years when photos and DVDs and wedding tales are shared. Uninvited family members can be one of the biggest wedding stress factors, so try and play diplomat. If you can, call your brother, and politely and sincerely tell him you’d like him to be a part of your big day. If there’s a contributing factor to your declining relationship that could cause problems at your ceremony (drugs or alcohol, a violent temper), tell him that he’ll have to vacate if he causes any disruption. That said, it is your wedding, and if you really don’t want to have a family member present, that’s your choice. (Read more: Your Wedding Party: Who Does What?)
- Maid of Honor Jealousy: You promised your best friend from high school that you’d be each other’s maids of honor, but now your sister wants the title. Plus, family strife will ensue if you don’t choose your sibling. This is a difficult situation that only diplomacy can solve. (However, before you make any decisions, make sure your best friend still wants to be maid of honor; she might have moved on.) Your best bet is to pick one (if you really can’t decide, flip a coin), and have the other one be a bridesmaid, and ask if she’d please do a reading or something else special for your affair. You should also surprise her with lunch or drinks for the two of you. If one of them lives far away, it makes the most sense to let that person be a bridesmaid. The other option is to have two maids of honor, and to split the duties evenly. (Read more: Dealing with Jealous Bridesmaids)
- Who’s Wedding Is It, Anyhow? By the time Mom has ordered your flowers, you’re probably so upset you want to elope. Since that’s probably not the best option, you need to solve this using other, non-threatening methods. If your parents are paying for any part of the wedding, they should have some say, but they should never control the affair. Take Mom aside, tell her how much you appreciate her help, and politely but firmly remind her that you and your fiancé are the ones making the final decisions. There’s a very good chance Mom has simply gotten swept up in planning and forgotten that other people are involved. On the very off chance that she won’t budge, you need to re-think the budget, and let her know that, if need be, you and your groom will have to plan a smaller, more intimate affair. (Read more: Balancing Family Traditions with What You Want)
- Attention Deficit: It’s your wedding, and everyone else in the family has just taken a backseat to your big day. Your brothers and sisters are only acknowledged when asked to help with the seating chart or address envelopes. When you’re getting married, it’s natural for Mom and Dad to over-indulge in your preparations, and to help matters, make it your priority to give your brothers and sisters much-needed recognition. Younger siblings will be especially appreciative if you take them aside and ask about anything but your wedding day. A wonderful idea is to let everyone in the family know that you’ve been the center of attention, and to offer to make them dinner or take them out to a movie (your treat), or anything else non-you and non-ceremony related. (Read more: "My Brothers, His Groomsmen?")