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The Role of the Mother of the Bride

The role of the Mother of the Bride during the planning and wedding day is both traditional and practical. Along with the Father of the Bride, she hosts the wedding and reception, paying most of the associated bills for food, beverage, décor and entertainment. As an official hostess, she often helps make decisions about the wedding theme, and offers input on the gown, the attendant attire and the hiring of each wedding professional. As a courtesy, she is offered the opportunity to contribute names to the guest list.

While the Mother of the Bride may host an engagement party for the couple, etiquette dictates that she may not host a bridal shower. She may, however, attend a shower for her daughter that is hosted by a friend or family member.

The bride’s mother often helps choose the wedding invitations, and may even address them herself. She may collect responses and create a master list of guests and works with the couple on the seating chart and table assignments.

Before the wedding, the Mother of the Bride attends the final gown fittings, making note of any handling or bustling instructions from the seamstress. As the wedding day approaches she also attends the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

On the wedding day, the bride’s mother offers personal support. She should keep the bride on time yet as stress-free as possible. She can help the honor attendant coordinate the bridal party as they get ready and helps the bride dress, making sure she has her “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” and sometimes, the “sixpence for her shoe”. She wears a corsage or carries a nosegay, is escorted down the aisle last and is given a seat of honor at the ceremony. She appears in formal photos taken before or after the ceremony.

After the wedding, the Mother of the Bride, in conjunction with the Father of the Bride, usually accepts responsibility for gifts received by the newlyweds, and personal items like cake knives, toasting glasses and the guest book. She follows up with vendors regarding any outstanding balances and coordinates the return of personal items to the bride and groom. She will also usually write her own set of thank you notes to the professionals who served on the wedding day.

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