The Role of the Mother of the Groom

Newlyweds and grooms parents


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Your son is all grown up and is getting married. Now you're not just mom, you're the mother of the groom. There's a not-so-nice traditional saying about what the mother of the groom is supposed to do: show up, shut up, and wear beige. For most people, that saying is not true and there are some distinct responsibilities of most mothers of the groom.

A Family Discussion

Of course, these duties will vary for each family so the most important thing is to have open communication with your son and his fiance. It's helpful to have a family talk prior to wedding planning to understand what kind of wedding festivities they are imagining. Planning a destination wedding, a large affair, or an intimate gathering all require different details. The setting and wedding details will impact the roles of all the family members. Additionally, if you have not already, now is a great time to meet the bride's family. You'll be sharing in a lot of family celebrations and getting to know each other sooner, rather than later, can help make the planning process easier.

Typical Expectations of the Mother of the Groom 

While customs vary from region to region and even from family to family, these are generally the things expected of the mother of the groom (and often the father of the groom as well). Once you have a sense of the bride and groom's potential plans, have a realistic discussion with them, especially as it relates to budgets, hosting, and guestlists. While wedding celebrations are happy affairs, the planning preceding the event can be stressful and expensive, so open dialogue is best. 

  • Plan and host the rehearsal dinner.
  • Draw up the guestlist for the groom's side, after determining how many guests you are allowed to invite. Focus on important people to you and your son. 
  • Call any of your guests who are late in RSVPing.
  • Attend the bridal shower and bring a gift.
  • Help the father of the groom make a toast at the rehearsal dinner or plan your own toast at the dinner. 
  • If there's a mother/son dance, help choose a song for it, and dance with your son at the wedding.
  • Purchase mother of the groom attire and coordinate with the bride and mother of the bride on all wardrobe choices. 

Optional Responsibilities of the Mother of the Groom:

  • Offer to help research wedding vendors, sites, and resources.
  • Introduce yourself to the bride's family, and help introduce the rest of the families to each other.
  • Help your son with any family traditions and provide any family heirlooms that can be incorporated into the wedding ceremony.
  • Offer to help with such things as craft projects, making welcome bags for the guests, and arranging seating charts. These more time-intensive projects can often use an extra pair of hands, as long as they are supportive and nonjudgmental.
  • Help spread the word about where the couple is registered.

What the Groom's Parents Traditionally Pay for

Depending on the couple, the wedding plans, and other details, the things the groom's parents pay for is variable, based on each family and may include:

  • The rehearsal dinner.
  • Their own clothes and transportation.
  • A wedding present.

They may also help the groom with details he is responsible for, such as:

  • The honeymoon.
  • The bride's engagement ring and wedding ring.
  • The bride's bouquet, and boutonnieres for the mothers and grandmothers.
  • The marriage license and fee for the officiant.

What Happens If You Don't Like Some of the Details at Your Son's Wedding

While mothers of the groom don't really need to wear beige anymore, they should keep most of their opinions to themselves. This may be hard to hear, but it's true. You may have some helpful advice to share, but make sure you stop giving it before it becomes intrusive or nagging.

Like it or not, this isn't your wedding to plan, and your relationship with your son and your future daughter-in-law is far more important than what color the napkins are. The last thing you want is for the bride to feel torn between what she wants and what you want.