11 Official Mother of the Bride Duties in Detail

What exactly is expected of the bride's mom? Here's a rundown of her traditional responsibilities.
by The Knot
Mother of the Bride
JEFF LOVES JESSICA

There's nothing better than having your parents around to lean on for their planning advice, emotional support and helping hands. While the "mother of bride" job title comes with a certain set of expected duties (which we've laid out for you below), your mom should be whatever source of help you need or that suits her strengths. If she's meticulously organized and loves to take the reigns, let her handle some logistics. Is she more laid back about the nuts and bolts but gifted with an eye for design and aesthetics? Tap her for style decisions and mood board input. You know your mom, and she knows you. For a traditional list of mother of the bride duties, read on.

1. Research and Scout Venues 

The mother of the bride often helps the couple check out ceremony and reception sites. Whether she actually accompanies you on site tours or pitches in doing research, calling for quotes or asking friends and family for recommendations, it's up to you how hands on you'd like her to be in the venue hunt.

2. Act as a Point Person for Vendors

You and your partner are only two people (presumably with busy schedules), so the mother of the bride can be helpful by serving as either a main contact or just an extra point person for your wedding pros. This will be a godsend, especially if your wedding is taking place in your home town where she lives while you two live elsewhere.

3. Be Your Wedding Dress Confidante

Depending on how close you are with your mom, enlist her help on all things wedding dress or suit related. Can't bear to make a dress decision without her? Don't. Definitely bring her with you to trunk shows, bridal salons and fittings for her expert eye, good judgement and motherly nod of approval.

4. Take Charge of the Guest List (at Least Partly)

Of course, you and your partner should be the majority vote when it comes to your guest list—but the bride's mom can be super helpful by compiling and sending you all the names and addresses to be included on the master list. In addition, she can connect with your partner's family about who's on their list and manage the tricky task of limiting the number of guests, if necessary.

5. Give Input on the Ceremony Program

The mother of the bride is a great resource to tap for family, cultural or religious traditions to incorporate into the wedding ceremony. If she feels strongly about having you include something in particular—be it an important heirloom or a significant unity ceremony—have her do some research and help you plan the best way to infuse it into the program.

6. Find a Look She Loves

Forget what you've heard about mother of the bride outfits. If she wants guidelines, let her know what you'd love to see her in or what would complement the rest of your wedding details and overall vibe. Other than that, she's free to find a gorgeous gown, suit or other style that makes her look and feel amazing. To be courteous, the mother of the bride should stick to traditional etiquette here: Get in touch with the in-laws to make sure they don't either clash or match exactly (although, if they do, everyone will survive—promise!).

7. Attend or Plan Prewedding Events

It's no longer a faux pas for the bride's side to host the shower (it used to be frowned upon because people thought it made the bride's family look greedy for gifts, but that's pretty much irrelevant now). So if your mom wants to throw you a shower, she absolutely should. The same goes for the engagement party and rehearsal dinner. At the very least, the mother of the bride should attend the shower.

8. Know What to Do and Where to Go at the Ceremony

Your mom can escort you down the aisle herself or with your father. In a Jewish ceremony, both parents often accompany the bride down the aisle. At Christian ceremonies, if the father of bride is processing with the bride, the mother of the bride can take her seat in the first pew directly before the ceremony. You can also make your mom part of the processional lineup, even if your dad is walking you down the aisle. The mother of the bride can process first before the wedding party, or follow the wedding party and come down before you.

9. Stand in the Receiving Line

This only applies if you're having a receiving line, of course. As a reception host, she should head up the line and greet/thank/hug guests as they arrive at the reception (or exit the ceremony).

10. Enjoy the Party

The mother of the bride sits at either parents' table, the head table with the couple or mix in with other immediate family or good friends. Chat with your partner and your parents about how you'd like to seat everyone for dinner. If you're doing a more formal first dance sequence, the mother of the bride typically shares a dance with both the father of the bride and your partner after the newlywed first dance.

11. Be Your Rock

The mother of the bride is just that—your mom. She's a well of wisdom, solid advice and emotional support, and her biggest job throughout the wedding planning process is to be the amazing mom she's been for you all along.

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