Responsibilities of the Parents of the Bride and Groom

Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life.  Unfortunately, it may also be one of the most difficult for you to get done without having a mental breakdown or ending up feeling stressed trying to do it all.

Of course, we don’t get to choose our parents, (smiles) but there are some guidelines as to which family is responsible for what.  Remember, these are just guidelines and all families are different.  Hopefully, this will help you not forget some important things while planning your wedding and help you enjoy the planning instead of stressing while planning.

Responsibilities of the Parents of the Bride and Groom

Mother/ Father of the Bride – Your help will be one of the most difficult things for you to do.  Why?  Because it is your baby girl leaving the nest.  You can assist her in many ways while adjusting to her being the woman you have helped her to become and realizing how wonderful your daughter really is.  This will be one of the most special times in your relationship.

Here is a list of things you may be asked to help her with:

  • Help the couple find a wedding site and reception site, get recommendations from friends and family if necessary.
  • Hold an engagement party for the couple.  Not all families do this but it is the bride’s family that is responsible if it is to be done.
  • Although the couple will prepare the guest list, it is ultimately the bride’s mother who makes the call on the number of guests they can have.  She will call the groom’s parents to find out who they would like invitations sent to and also has the task of saying too many and helping them to cut the list to fit the budget of the family.
  • The bride’s mother will also have the responsibility of talking with the groom’s family to see if there are any family or ethnic traditions that may need to be incorporated into the wedding ceremony or the wedding reception.
  • Talk with your daughter and find out what she wants you to wear on the big day.  Once you know what she wants, talk to the groom’s mother and decide what the two of you will be wearing.  This will make you feel more comfortable with each other and you will make the couple happy.
  • Attend and possibly help the Matron of Honor with the bridal shower.  Remember it is the Matron of Honor who host’s the bridal shower but you can certainly help with the guest list.  Don’t forget to include the groom’s mother in this event!
  • The bride’s parents are also the host and hostess of the reception after the wedding.  The bride and groom have enough to do that day and you will be ultimately responsible for helping things to run smoothly.
  • The mother of the bride help’s her to choose her wedding gown.  Sometimes the Matron of Honor will help with this and it is up to the bride who goes with her to look for the perfect gown.
  • The father of the bride will also help to coordinate his apparel for the big day with the other men in the wedding party.  This will also include the groom’s father.  Usually, the groomsmen and groom will rent their apparel to match the colors the bride has chosen for the day.  It is fairly simple for the dads to place an order for theirs at the same place.
  • The mother of the bride usually keeps track of the gifts received by the couple or the bride.  Sometimes the Matron of Honor will also help with this if there is a shower in which the mother is not in attendance.  The list of who gave gifts and what was received would then be passed on to the bride’s mother.
  • When the couple leaves to go on their honeymoon, the bride’s parents usually stores the top layer of the wedding cake until they come back home.  She will also make arrangements for the brides wedding gown to be cleaned and prepared for storage.  Upon the couple returning, she will deliver them both to the couple.
  • The mother of the bride is the last one to be seated at the ceremony.  She is also the first to leave at the end of the ceremony.
  • The father of the bride is the one who is responsible for delivering his daughter to the wedding ceremony.  If by limo, he would ride with her.  He also gives his daughter away on the big day.  Some families will have both parents escort the bride down the aisle.
  • During the dance at the reception, the bride’s mother will dance with the bride’s father, then the groom, in the mother/son dance.  Remember, you are not losing your daughter, you are gaining a son!
  • If directions are needed to get to the wedding venue, the bride’s father is responsible for making the maps or direction sheets to be sent with the invitations.  This ensures all knows how to get to the wedding venue.
  • The mother of the bride heads up the receiving line and greets the guests.  Traditionally, since she is the reception hostess, she will be first to be finished and go to make sure the reception is as planned.
  • At the reception, the father of the bride gives the first toast to the groom and a little welcoming speech.  This helps set the tone for the reception and helps people to mingle with the couple.
  • They will sit at the parents table if it was planned in the reception plans.

Mother/ Father of the Groom

  • Once you are told of the engagement of your son, call the bride’s parents and congratulate them.  Let them know you are happy with your son choosing their daughter.
  • Have an informal party with your family and invite the bride’s family so everyone can introduce themselves and get to know each other.
  • Prepare a guest list for the couple of your family and friends you would like to invite.  Be sure and ask how many you are allowed to invite.  This is where things may get sticky but remember, it’s nothing personal and expenses must be kept within budget.
  • Make arrangements for your guests that are coming from out of town.
  • Attend the bridal shower and buy a gift.
  • Make sure the bride’s family is aware of any ethnic or family traditions that need to be included in the wedding ceremony.
  • Get the information as to where the couple have registered and pass that information to your friends and family.
  • Consult with the bride’s mother about the outfit she plans on wearing to the wedding.  You may every want to shop together and choose outfits to coordinate with the bride’s colors.
  • Keep track of your RSVP’s and notify the bride’s parents of the number you will have attending.
  • By tradition, the groom’s parents plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner.   Plan that about 6 months before the event.
  • The father of the groom, traditionally, will toast the bride at the rehearsal dinner and the parents will present her with a gift special from them.
  • The father should coordinate his wedding apparel with the other men in the wedding party.
  • Stand in the receiving line with the bride’s father.

As you can see, there are responsibilities for both sets of parents and they are clearly defined.  These are only guidelines of traditional responsibilities but never the less may keep you from going crazy when no one seems to know who should be doing what.

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