In all honesty, when you're the mother of the groom, your behavior counts more than your specific wedding duties. That's because even for modern weddings, most of the planning falls under the domain of the bride and her family. But, count your blessings. You can take the time to focus on yourself before the wedding, and on becoming an ideal future mother-in-law to the bride. Learn how to navigate your way in the sometimes sticky situations you can find yourself in as the mother of the groom.
Traditionally, the bride's family takes responsibility for the finances of a wedding. In many cases, couples are taking on the costs by themselves. However, if you see there's a need for a helping hand, and you're in a position to contribute funding for the wedding, have an open discussion with the couple first. Let them decide if they want to accept help from you. If they do need a boost to their budget, be honest about your expectations in return. Let them know if you'd like to be consulted or included in the decision-making process of how the money is to be used. Handing over funds without any agreements can cause hurt feelings down the road if the money is used for something you don't agree on.
It's Okay to Ask
It's perfectly fine etiquette to make yourself available to help the bride and the bride's mother. Ask if they need a hand in compiling addresses for the guest list, rounding up RSVPs, arranging the seating, or if they need help in launching the wedding website, for example. Picking up slack on the smallest details can save the day for the bride and her mom.
Planning the Rehearsal Dinner
The groom's family has one important traditional and financial responsibility, and that's to plan the rehearsal dinner. Remember that a rehearsal dinner is a secondary event to the main event of the wedding. Chat with the couple to get a sense of how they envision their rehearsal dinner. Do they prefer a casual or formal dinner, for how many people, and where would they like to have it? View the event as a relaxing break for the couple, and especially the bride and her family who've been on the go handling wedding details since day one.
Choosing Wedding Day Attire
After reaching out to the bride's mother to share in the initial excitement, contact her again about wedding day attire. It's common etiquette to let the bride's mother choose her outfit first, so she can shine at the wedding. Ask her what color she's planning to wear and ask if she would prefer if you coordinate colors or if you should choose an entirely different color for your ensemble. Extending this small courtesy is a simple gesture that goes a long way with the bride and her family.
Going Wedding Dress Shopping
If your future daughter-in-law invites you to go wedding dress shopping, to attend the fitting, or to join her for a cake-tasting, make your best efforts to be there. Embrace the invitations as she's attempting to build a relationship with her future family. Remember that for the bride, this is likely the most important thing happening in her life at the moment. Take her feelings into account if you have to decline any invitations by letting her know the details about why you have to miss the event. Honesty is the best policy to avoid any misunderstandings with your future daughter-in-law.
Giving Your Opinions
It's best to keep your boundaries firm and let the bride and her family lead in the wedding planning decisions. That includes everything from the wedding venue and menu to the bride's dress. Stay supportive, never challenge a decision, and if you're asked for your opinion, think before speaking to avoid drama and misunderstandings. Focus on keeping the lines of communication open and agreeable.