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Weddings revolve around the bride and groom, but family members play a very important role. Traditionally, the mother of the bride and mother of the groom fulfil a number of duties in the planning and actual wedding event. Nowadays couples can choose to follow tradition, perform the duties themselves or engage a wedding organizer, but tradition still largely prevails.


The mother of the bride starts shopping usually 4-6 months before the wedding, but not until the bride has chosen her gown and the bridesmaids' dresses, following their lead for color and formality.

She look around with several color preferences in mind that best flatter her skin and hair, whilst complementing the wedding colors. Generally, white, cream and ivory are avoided as those are the bridal colors, whilst black indicates mourning. A reserved bride will appreciate lavender, beige, silver, burgundy, blue, and rose. Hats, pearls, gloves and heels are not a requirement but can be accessorized as sparingly and simply as wished.

Once the mother of the bride has selected her gown, she calls the mother of the groom or passes word to her through the groom about the type of gown. The groom’s mother does not have to buy something in the same shade, but it should echo formality as in skirt and sleeve length. Color and style can vary so that each mother wears a dress that flatters her the most in the color she looks best in.

At the end of the day, what's important is that everyone feels comfortable and beautiful.


Following are the duties traditionally attended to by the mother of the bride:

- She helps the bride choose her wedding gown and various garments.

- She helps the bride and groom decide on a good, clear wedding budget. She is also aware of expenses typically covered by the groom's family and offers financial assistance through the groom.

- She offers to ask family and friends for vendor recommendations. She should then also traditionally serves as main contact for wedding professionals.

- She draws up the guest list for her family after asking the couple how many guests they will be able to invite. She then keeps track of her RSVPs and offers to make calls to obtain last-minute responses for anyone on her side of the list (3-4 weeks before the wedding). If necessary, she reserves accomodation for guests from abroad, invited by the bride's family.

- She helps the couple research family or local traditions to include in the ceremony or reception.

- She traditionally organizes and attends the bridal shower and buys a gift

- She obtains information about the couple’s registry and spreads the word to her side of the family.

- If it is a sit-down dinner, she sits at the parents' table.

- She dances with the father of the bride and then the groom during the formal first-dance sequence.


- Traditionally the mother of the groom initiates contact with the mother of the bride either dropping a note or making a phone call to make plans to get together for dinner or even just drinks.

- The mother of the groom then follows the same duties as the mother of the bride regarding help with venue and vendors, guest list, local traditions and registry information.

- She also attends the bridal shower and buys a gift.

- Traditionally, she plans and hosts the rehearsal dinner with the groom's father.

- If there is a receiving line, the mother of the groom stands after the bride and groom along with the groom's father.

- If it is a sit-down dinner, she also sits at the parents' table (if there is one).

- She dances with the groom during the mother/son dance.

You may be asking after the roles of the fathers of the bride and groom. Traditionally, the father of the bride walks his little girl down the aisle and settles most of the wedding bills, whilst the father of groom hosts the rehearsal dinner. Also, both stand in the receiving line. Thus comes the final tradition whereby the the mothers of the bride and groom let their husbands know what is further required and… gently hint the way...



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