Mother of the Bride
Andi WillisBride Online Columnist

The Roles of the Mother and Father of the Bride

Your wedding day will be amongst the proudest and most special moments for you and your parents. There are many duties that can be done by the parents to incorporate them into your wedding day, making them feel special and needed. Involving your parents during the wedding process can not only can be a huge help for the couple, but, asking for their continual involvement- and, to an extent, their input- makes your parents feel included and makes them aware of your continuous gratitude.  

The father of the bride

Traditionally, the father-of- the-bride's role is rich with symbolism. As the customary head of the household, it is the father who has consented to 'give' his bride away- passing all old responsibilities over her to the groom, as well as to open his family to his new son-in-law. This honorific role is epitomised in his giving his daughter way just before the marriage ceremony. 

The father-of-the-bride's involvement consists of:

  • Sending out the engagement announcement to the local newspaper. If the groom's parent live far away, he should inquire as to whether they'd like an announcement placed in their local newspaper as well
  • Attending the wedding rehearsal
  • Attending any pre-wedding parties
  • Preparing a speech for the ceremony
  • Taking care of final payments of caterers, musicians etc.
  • Escorting the bride from the house to the ceremony
  • Arriving last with the bride
  • Walking with the bride up the aisle, walking on her right hand side
  • Giving the bride away
  • Standing until after the vows and then join the bride’s mother
  • Lighting the wedding ceremony candle with the mother and father of the groom (depending on your religious ceremony)
  • Signing the registry with the bride’s mother, and then escorting her down the aisle
  • Leaving for the reception after the bride and groom
  • Standing second in line at the wedding reception and greet the guests
  • Toasting the newlywed couple and making a short speech
  • Dancing with his daughter
  • Mingling with guests and introducing guests, when necessary
  • Keeping an eye on the food and drink supplies
  • Organising where the wedding presents should be sent
  • Writing any last minute cheques to vendors
  • Generally supervising the winding down of the party
  • Should aim to be the last to leave the party

The mother of the bride

Whilst the mother-of-the-bride's role has less historical symbolism than her husband's (ugh theres patriarchal society for you), she is just as important in practical and modern symbolic terms as the bride's father. Aside from any 'necessary' role the mother-of-the-bride plays, one of her main emotional priorities is to share in this experience with her daughter, and help wherever possible to ensure her day goes as smoothly as possible. 

The mother-of-the-bride's duties include:

  • Helping the bride to compile a guest list, and potentially organising the RSVPs and dietary requirements of the guests
  • Helping to choose and coordinate the wedding invitations
  • Helping to choose the wedding gown and accessories, bridesmaids attire, flower girls and pageboys, wedding reception entertainment, florists, and transport (depending on how involved the bride would like her mother to be)
  • Keeping the parents of the groom informed of wedding planning progress
  • Consulting with the Mother of the Groom about the colour of her wedding outfit
  • Attending wedding rehearsals
  • Attending pre-wedding parties
  • Helping the bride with her dress and veil on the day
  • Walking her daughter down the aisle with her husband (depending on your religion)
  • Again, lighting the wedding ceremony candle with the mother and father of the groom (depending on your religious ceremony)
  • Carrying an emergency kit in case anything is needed by the bridal or grooms party on the day
  • Signing the wedding register and walking down the aisle with the father of the bride
  • Leaving for the reception after the bride and groom
  • Standing second in line at the reception and greeting the guests
  • Acting as a hostess at the reception, mingling with guests and introducing people
  • Helping the bride to change out of her wedding dress and storing it if the bride leaves straight from the reception for the honeymoon
  • Generally supervising the winding down of the party
  • Should aim to be the last to leave the party

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