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Duty Call: Mother of the Bride

Congratulations, soon-to-be-Mother-in-Law! It’s one of the proudest days in a mother’s life; the day she watches her little girl walk towards the altar. On the big day, your daughter will have an army of bridesmaids and a maid of honor tending to her every need. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook completely. As the mother of the bride, there are a few duties that are yours and yours alone. Before, during, and after the ceremony, you’ll be called on to help see your daughter off properly. Here are some of the traditional duties of the mother of the bride.

Help the bride find venues

As someone with more life experience and connections, it’s your job to help guide your daughter as she looks for that perfect wedding venue. Be there to discuss the pros and cons of beach weddings vs. indoor weddings, etc. Just keep in mind that your role is purely an advisory one. Try to be informative and helpful, do the research, visit venues with her, but let her make the final decision.

Document gifts and givers

Between the engagement party, the bridal shower, and the wedding, your daughter is about to be showered in an abundance of gifts. Keep a running tally of who gave what in a google doc (or on actual paper, if you’re that old-school). That way, once the hubbub dies down, you can help your daughter write Thank-you notes. She’ll appreciate the help, and you’ll get to show everyone what a polite young woman you’ve raised.

Attend the bridal shower or throw one

Usually, the maid of honor plans a bridal shower or Jack & Jill party before the wedding. If she doesn’t take on that duty, you’re the next in line to throw the shindig. If the maid of honor does put together the shower, you might be able to help her put together the guest list.

Be the keeper of tradition

There’s something to be said about wedding traditions–not the big societal ones, like “Something old, something new,” but the smaller ones that run in families. When I got married, my wife’s mother showed up as the bride was getting dressed with a bag full of circus peanuts and red licorice. It turns out when my wife’s mother got married, she was nervous and starving before the ceremony, so her aunt went and got the only sustenance she could find: circus peanuts and Twizzlers. Since then, someone has provided the same snack to every bride in the family, passing on the story each time. Those are the sort of quirky family traditions worth preserving.

Help the bride into her dress and put on the veil

This is another duty that’s kind of been taken over by the maid of honor in most modern weddings, but we think the mother of the bride should take it back. You used to change this kid’s diapers and get her dressed for school; it’s only fitting you should help her get ready for the walk down the aisle. It’s one last bit of motherly pampering to get in before she’s married.

Be a mom

When your daughter’s first-choice florist bails on her, the wedding planner forgets to buy wedding sparklers, or the venue burns down a month before the wedding, or she’s having cold feet about making the commitment, just be there to listen and offer support (and advice, if you must). No matter what’s going on in her life, long after the wedding is over, you’re her mother and you always will be.