The New Roles of the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom

Today's mothers of the bride and groom often find themselves caught between what they thought their roles were going to be and what they're being asked to do by the bride and groom.
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Today's mothers of the bride and groom often find themselves caught between what they thought their roles were going to be in the wedding plans and what they're being asked to do by the bride and groom.

Things have changed a lot in the past 10 years for Moms. It's not always a given that you, the mother of the bride, will partner up with the bride, being a co-planner involved in every step of the details. Now, that role's been filled by the groom. Even if you're paying for all or part of the wedding.

And if you're the mother of the groom, it's no longer the case that the only part of the planning you get to enjoy is putting together the rehearsal dinner.

The moms and step-moms of the bride and groom are looking at an entirely new world of participating in wedding plans.

In the Past: The mother of the bride called a lot of the shots, since she was seen as the official hostess of the wedding, given that most parents paid for the Big Day.

Now: More brides and grooms are planning and paying for their own weddings, with both sets of parents contributing some part of the budget for the big day. Moms are invited into the plans, but for select tasks chosen by the wedding couple.

In the Past: The parents of the bride hosted an engagement party, inviting the parents of the groom.

Now: The entire group gets to decide what works best. Do they want to skip the engagement party, seeing it as a hassle for their guests to travel a long distance to attend? Or do they want to save the $1,000 from this party and put it toward the wedding? Some groups decide mutually that the parents of the groom will host this party, if they have the desire and the funds to do so.

In the Past: The mother of the groom was the official hostess of the rehearsal dinner.
Now: The bride and groom might ask both sets of parents to host this party together, since it's an equal mix of His and Her side of the family ... and to give the moms a great event of their own to plan together.

In the Past: Moms were not allowed to host the bridal shower. It was considered terrible etiquette.

Now: More moms are joining forces with the maid of honor and bridesmaids to host the bridal shower. They're getting to help plan the details, and bridesmaids say they welcome the moms' financial help. Moms are being listed on the invitation as co-hosts, together with the bridesmaids, and taking on such tasks as organizing RSVPs and getting recipes from shower guests.

In the Past: Moms wore conservative dresses or suit dresses, in neutral shades or coordinating colors.
Now: Today's moms are fashionistas, showing off their fabulous style and wearing runway-inspired designs, bright colors, metallics, and also showing off a little bit of skin. Some shop for their dresses from the bridesmaids' dress section or fashion-forward boutiques, opting out of the sequined jacket and sensible shoes.

In the Past: Moms had a lot of input in the ceremony, such as pushing for a religious ceremony or cultural elements.

Now: Moms are far more likely to step back and let the couple plan their wedding their way.

In the Past: The mother of the groom was escorted down the aisle, followed by the mother of the bride, followed by the bridal party and bride.

Now: The moms often escort the groom and the bride down the aisle, together with the father, or in place of an absent or departed father.

In the Past: Moms didn't give toasts.
Now: Moms are proposing wonderful toasts at the rehearsal dinner, and even at the morning-after breakfast that they may be hosting [This is one area that a step-mom might enjoy planning!]

In the Past: Moms went home after the reception ended.

Now: Moms are hitting the town with the wedding couple and their friends, as part of the after-party, or they're hosting their own soiree for their own friends ... either at their home or at the hotel lounge. This is another gathering they get to enjoy planning, with the added perk of quality time with their closest friends and family.

Sharon Naylor is our Bridesmaids Guru, and the author of The Mother of the Bride Book, Mother of the Groom, and over 35 additional wedding books,

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