The mother of the bride role is a proud and happy one – watching your daughter get married will be a wonderful experience and is going to leave you with so many happy memories.
The father of the bride has a clear role, thanks to the tradition of a father of the bride speech, but as mother of the bride you may be left feeling unsure about what is expected of you.
You’re likely to be very involved in the wedding planning, wedding dress shopping and on the big day, but it is always a great idea to have a chat with your daughter to decide what makes you both happy.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Roles
Before the Wedding
Talk About Financial Support
Traditionally it used to be expected that the bride’s parents paid for the wedding in full but – thankfully for your bank balance – times have moved on and the majority of couples are footing the bill for their big day.
However, if you do want to contribute financially to the wedding then let your daughter know early on in her wedding planning so she can factor this money into her budget.
If you are offering financial support then you will also want to discuss what this means – are you giving the money as a gift and transferring the full amount to them? Do you want the couple to send you the invoices to pay? Do you expect to have a say in the wedding or the guest list in return for footing part of the bill? These are all things that would be helpful to discuss early on to avoid any confusion or miscommunication and to manage expectations.
Offer Some Wedding Planning Advice
Image: Jordanna Marston
If you have planned a wedding before then you will be in the perfect position to give advice on where to get started. The first thing you will probably do is to give your daughter calm advice on where to start and let her know that you are there to help when she needs.
In addition to this, if you’re paying for aspects of the wedding or the wedding venue is near you, you might want to be the go-to contact for wedding suppliers. Whether that be the florists or the entertainers, to ensure everything goes smoothly you should get all contact details from your daughter as soon as possible.
Image: SW Photography
If your daughter is following tradition, it is the mother of the bride’s job to source the bride “something old and something new”.
If there’s a family heirloom or another specific tradition you think might be nice to encorproate, it is the mother of the bride’s duty to make this happen.
Liaise With the Other Mother about Outfit Choices
Image: Emma Kenny
Although it is the bride’s job to organise the bridesmaids dresses, it is the mother of the bride’s job to liaise with the mother of the groom or other bride about what they’re both going to wear. Just remember, you should follow the lead of the bride as to what colour and formality of dress you pick.
The mother of the bride traditionally buys her own dress before the mother of the groom, and then contacts the mother of the groom to describe her dress. If there are two brides, perhaps you could go shopping together! This way, both mothers can ensure their outfits are complimentary of each other and don’t clash.
Go Wedding Dress Shopping
Image: Jordanna Marston
One of the most exciting things about being the mother of the bride is that you get to go wedding dress shopping with your daughter. This will be a fun and emotional experience that you are always going to remember so be on hand to offer advice, support and to keep your daughter calm throughout the process.
Go to the Hen Party or Bridal Shower
Image: Miracle Moments
Whether or not the mother of the bride goes to the hen party is a common question. It will probably depend on the type of hen party the bride plans on having, because not all mums would want a weekend of clubbing in Ibiza.
If the hen party is a little more low key, then the mother of the bride might want to attend the day activity of the hen do and then make a move before the party starts. Alternatively many brides have a “family hen do” as well as a friends one, the family hen is usually something like afternoon tea or a relaxed dinner with the bridesmaids, mums and siblings of the couple.
On the Wedding Day
Help Your Daughter Get Ready
Image: Miracle Moments
Helping the bride get ready in the morning will be a special time – your daughter will be feeling exciting and nervous and the number one thing she probably wants that morning is her mum.
Whether you are there to help her get into her dress, wipe her tears away or pour the champagne, just make sure you are present on the morning of the wedding. Aim to get ready early so that in the hour or two before the ceremony you are there to help in any way that you can.
Take Your Place in the Ceremony
A mother of the bride is more than welcome to walk her daughter down the aisle if the father is not present, interested or the bride chooses, for whatever reason.
In fact, in Jewish weddings, both the mother and the father escort the bride down the aisle. If you’re not walking the bride down the aisle, it is one of the usher’s roles to seat the mother of the bride in the first row directly before the ceremony. You’ll also leave the ceremony room or church first afterwards.
During the ceremony, the bride might have asked you to give a reading. If it’s down to you to choose one for yourself, we think you’ll love this selection of romantic, non-religious wedding readings taken from books, films, plays and music.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Guide
Stand in the Receiving Line
Image: Sundance Photography
If your daughter has chosen to have a receiving line on the way into the wedding breakfast, it is tradition for the mother of the bride to stand and greet the guests as they take their seats.
Sit at the Top Table
Image: Heni Fourie
If your daughter chooses to have a top table, that is where the mother of the bride will almost always be sat.
Although the arrangements might differ slightly if the couple are having to seat divorced or separated parents, you’re likely to be taking pride of place at the front of the reception room.
READ MORE: 47 Fun and Unique Wedding Table Name Ideas
Play Host at the Reception
The happy couple will be the main focus of the day but they might struggle to mingle and chat with absolutely everyone and this is where their parents can really help. Take the time to chat to guests, thank them for coming, ensure everything is running smoothly and just generally make sure the day is running smoothly.
Take Part in the Second Dance
Image: Cassandra Lane
After the happy couple have had their first dance, it’s time for the mother of the bride and groom (or whoever is to accompany the mother of the bride) to take a spin on the dance floor. Not only is this your time to shine, it’s also your chance to warm up the dance floor and get the party started! Have some fun.
READ MORE: Father of the Bride Duties Explained
Top Tips for the Mother of the Bride
Image: Blue Lily
- First and foremost, you’ve got to be your daughter’s rock. You’re full of wisdom, advice and emotional support which your daughter is going to need when she’s planning the biggest day of her life. Your main job in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself is to tell your daughter how much you love her and be the amazing mum you’ve always been.
- Be careful where you assert your opinions. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all! It’s your daughter’s wedding, not yours.
- Be clear with the jobs you’d like to take charge of.
- Don’t invite guests without liaising with the couple first.
- Be warm and friendly with the other set of parents. Trying to “out-do the other mother” is not cool.
- Carry around a mini survival kit for the bride, with safety pins, tissue, paracetamol and anything else she might need at the last minute.
Now you’re clued up on the mother of the bride duties, why not take a look at our 17 step wedding planning guide? It’s full of pearls of wisdom which you may be able to pass onto your daughter.