Mother of the Bride: Role, Responsibilities, and Duties

Mother of the Bride:
Role, Responsibilities, and Duties

One thing I know for sure: This is an exciting time for you as Mother of the Bride knowing that your beautiful daughter is getting married.

As Mother of the Bride, think of your role as that of an organizer, wedding planner, advisor, and hostess. Because as the wedding planning gets underway, chances are you’ll be in many – if not all – of those roles.

If you’re like most Mothers of the Bride, you’ll spend a lot of time helping your daughter plan her wedding.

You’ll have suggestions and decisions to make.

You’ll contribute an enormous amount of time.

You and your husband might even contribute financially to make your daughter’s wedding a memorable time.

Mother of the Bride Responsibilities and Duties

Here are some key Mother of the Bride responsibilities and duties:

1. You’ll help your daughter plan her wedding

This will include the ceremony but primarily will involve planning the reception.

You will also involve the Wedding MC as the reception is being planned.

You might interact with vendors and be the alternate contact person if they can’t reach your daughter. You might help your daughter choose a reception venue. You might make arrangements with vendors or help with choosing the theme and other facets of the wedding.

2. You’ll help your daughter select her wedding dress

Chances are your daughter will want your opinion on her wedding dress. So you’ll be expected to help her shop for her dress.

3. You and the Father of the Bride might be expected to contribute to the wedding budget

If you and your husband are paying for some – or all – of the wedding then you’ll discuss the budget with your daughter and her future husband.

Traditionally, the bride’s family pays most of the wedding expenses including:

1. Bride’s gown and Mother of the Bride’s dress
2. Flowers
3. Reception venue
4. Catering
5. Musicians (church and reception, if there’s a live band at the reception)
6. Organist gratuity and other church fees
7. Invitations
8. Photographer (and videographer if there’s one)

With destination weddings being more common these days, it’s usually expected that guests will pay their own travel costs.

4. You’ll help create a guest list

You’ll help create the guest list as well as the seating plan. Try to seat guests who know each other together so they won’t feel left out.

5. You’ll organize any pre- and post-wedding parties

You might organize the engagement party.

You’ll attend the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner (where you might give a toast or a short speech – which is totally different from the speech at the reception).

And you might organize a post-wedding breakfast or lunch for guests.

6. You’ll select your own dress for the wedding

Most weddings are relatively formal when it comes to dressing for the occasion.

While you won’t be the center of attention, you will nevertheless stand out in your role as MOB. But don’t outdo the bride on her special day.

The color of the bridesmaids’ dresses is a good starting point for what you will choose as the color of your dress. Avoid showing too much cleavage or your shapely thighs. It’s better to err on the side of being conservative rather than being outlandish or inappropriate for the occasion.

Even though the wedding might be many months away, start shopping (or at least looking) for your dress shortly after a wedding date has been set. In other words, don’t leave buying a dress to the last minute.

This will give you plenty of time to select a style and color that suits and flatters you (instead of taking whatever happens to be available). It also gives you the opportunity to shop for bargains.

Once you’ve selected your dress, inform the Mother of the Groom (another reason to start dress shopping early so it gives the MOG time to select her dress).

You won’t dictate what the MOG will wear. She will pick a dress that flatters her and ideally complements your dress.

And don’t forget to help your spouse choose his tuxedo or suit so he complements your fashionable dress, too.

7. You might be asked to help with DIY projects

If your daughter is a DIY Bride, then chances are she’ll need help on projects which could include save-the-dates, invitations, and anything else she feels brings uniqueness to her wedding.

8. You’ll help the bride on the day of the wedding

You will very likely help your daughter get ready on her big day.

Chances are you’ll also be involved with last minute things including dealing with the florist (who will drop off flowers and boutonnieres) and the photographer before leaving for the ceremony.

This is usually the time when you have a special bonding moment with your daughter and present her with something that is meaningful and that will be remembered by her.

9. You might be custodian of the wedding gifts and money

Some guests might bring gifts or money to the reception. You should ensure that someone is in charge of the gift table and safeguards the gifts and money during the reception to ensure nothing is stolen.

While the MC might gather up the gifts and money at the end of the reception as one of his or her last duties of the reception, they will ultimately have to be safeguarded until the bride and groom return from their honeymoon – which usually will mean taking them to your home.

10. You’ll be involved in planning a celebration

Everything comes together at the reception. The ceremony is over. Your daughter is married. And now it’s time to celebrate and have a fun party.

The reception will, of course, be elegant.

But keep in mind that the guests will want to have fun and be entertained.

That’s where the MC comes in. And you can help the MC be properly prepared with The Bride’s Guide To A FUN Reception – THE comprehensive guide filled with checklists and more than 50 fun wedding games and entertainment ideas that shows Brides and their MCs how to create a FUN and memorable reception.

brides guide to a fun reception


One of the most common questions asked about weddings and planning is, “Who pays for what?”

1. The bride’s family traditionally hosts the engagement party which can be either formal or informal

Fortunately, this is not a mandatory requirement and the groom’s family can host an engagement party instead (or in addition to) if they wish.

2. The bride’s family traditionally pays most wedding expenses

In reality though, expenses are usually shared. Some expenses are paid by the groom’s family and these days with the high cost of weddings it’s not uncommon for the bride and groom to contribute towards some of the expenses.

Mother of the Bride Tips

Here are some helpful Mother of the Bride tips to keep in mind on your daughter’s wedding day and as you prepare for her big day:

1. Avoid fighting and disagreements

Emotions can sometimes run high when planning a wedding. It’s an exciting time. But it can also be stressful with so many things going on and deadlines to be met. Respect the opinions of the bride and groom and others involved in the planning (including planners, day of coordinators, and the Mother of the Groom).

Some issues – especially those that affect the budget – might require holding your ground, especially if you’re paying for the wedding.

But you don’t want to seem like you’re being bossy, controlling, or pushy. (Yes, you’ve been through this process yourself and perhaps you’ve helped plan a wedding with another daughter. But your daughter wants her wedding to be a special occasion and something that speaks to her personality and uniqueness.)

You only want the best for your daughter. And you’re going to be emotional about things too. But try to be flexible and understanding and avoid creating a fuss over unnecessary or minor things that will make the process even more stressful as the planning progresses.

Stay grounded and calm. If your daughter has morphed into a Bridezilla, remain level headed. (If you have to step in because Bridezilla is being rude and disrespectful to people, then you have every right to do so and voice an opinion.)

2. Be on time

Be on time for events. Be on time for the ceremony. Be on time for the reception. Be on time for the pre- and post-wedding events.

Even if you’re involved with planning and coordinating things on the big day, be mindful of your time and when you should get dressed and when you should leave for the ceremony and the reception venue.

The last thing you want is to hold things up because you were late. It throws things off and puts schedules behind.

3. Don’t steal the limelight

It’s an important day for the bride and groom. There will be a lot going on.

The bride and groom should be the focus of attention.

Even when you give your Mother of Bride speech, you should be focusing the attention on the bride and her new husband.

4. Stick to the agenda

The Wedding MC follows his or her run sheet. The agenda has been carefully planned. Timing is critical at both the ceremony and the reception.

The last thing people want is a change in plans that throws the timing off and makes the guests restless and bored.

5. Play the role of Mother of the Bride

You and your daughter might be best friends. You might know her bridesmaids because they’re good friends of your daughter. You may have known the maid of honor since she was a little girl.

Nevertheless, you’re not part of the bridal party. You’re not “one of the girls.”

Instead, you’re the Mother of the Bride. And you’re seen as one of the hosts for the events and the celebration at the reception.

6. Limit Your Alcohol

You want to celebrate this joyous occasion because it’s an exciting time for you.

It goes without saying that your daughter’s wedding isn’t the place to overindulge. So be sure to stick to your limit of alcoholic beverages if you’re drinking alcohol.

After all, imagine how humiliating it would be to be remembered for making a scene or being entertaining (in a bad way) at your daughter’s reception.

7. Be warm and gracious to your son-in-law and his parents

You might not approve of your daughter’s choice of husband. (Hopefully that’s not the case, but it does happen.)

Respect her by being gracious to her new husband. Warmly welcome him and his parents into the family.

Even if you don’t like your new son-in-law, be gracious and classy instead of voicing your opinion of what you (really) think of him. Who knows, as you get to know him better perhaps you will change your mind and come to be fond of him. After all, it’s the way he treats your daughter and how she feels about him that are most important.

And never tell other guests what you really think about him if it’s not something affectionate or admiring.

Imagine your embarrassment if you said something that was overheard and it was repeated to your daughter or to the groom or to the groom’s parents.

8. It’s the bride and groom’s big day

The wedding, of course, is all about the bride and groom.

You and your husband are the “unsung heroes” who are behind the scenes as the Mother of the Bride and the Father of the Bride, no matter how much time you’ve spent planning and helping prepare for this big day.

9. Involve the Wedding MC

The Wedding MC will coordinate the reception. He or she will be responsible for ensuring everything flows smoothly.

Be sure to keep the MC informed of last minute changes or any special requests so they can be incorporated into the agenda and timeline. (Sometimes you’ll make special requests to surprise the bride and groom at the reception.)

The reception will be one of your biggest challenges. Chances are you’ll be involved in planning it – from offering suggestions for a venue to making suggestions for entertainment and fun.

You’ve worked long and hard. And you don’t want anything to go wrong on your daughter’s big day. In fact, your daughter deserves to enjoy her big day and remember it with fond memories.

That’s why it’s so important that the MC be properly prepared with The Bride’s Guide To A FUN Reception – THE comprehensive guide that shows Brides and their MCs how to create a FUN and memorable reception.

It includes wedding games and entertainment ideas as well as checklists and planning schedules to help you, your daughter, and the Master of Ceremonies plan a FUN reception.

I wish you every joy and happiness on your daughter’s wedding day!

Mark Livingston

wedding planning

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