The Best Guide to Wedding Etiquette for Parents of the Bride

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With this comprehensive guide, you’ll understand the importance of wedding etiquette for the parents of the bride. Learn everything you need to know to make your daughter’s special day unique, from traditional approaches to new trends. Hence, whether you’re a seasoned wedding attendee or a first-time parent of the bride, this guide will help you navigate the etiquette of this important day. Let’s check with Viva Wedding Photography!

The Roles Of The Bride’s Parents At A Wedding

How involved should parents be in wedding planning
How involved should parents be in wedding planning

When it comes to planning a wedding, one of the common dilemmas that couples and their families face is “How involved should parents be in wedding planning?” Historically, the duties of the bride and groom’s parents were well-defined. The bride’s parents were responsible for the wedding ceremony and celebration, while the groom’s parents were responsible for the rehearsal dinner and other chores.

On the other hand, as weddings have grown increasingly individualized and self-planned, it is no surprise that these traditions have changed over time. Your status of involvement in your daughter’s day of the wedding as a parent or step-parent will vary depending on your relationship with them and their preferences for your involvement. Besides, parents’ expectations and traditional roles have become less important in this generation, and the couple’s needs and requests take precedence.

Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride
Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride – Photo by: Classroom

Although there are traditional roles that parents can satisfy, it’s essential to have open communication with everyone involved to establish clear roles and responsibilities. Doing so can reduce stress for the couple during the wedding planning process. So, below is an extensive list of 27 parents of the bride etiquette guidelines.

Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride

Our list of traditional responsibilities below outlines various tasks typically assigned to the bride’s mother leading up to, during, and after her daughter’s wedding day, related to mother of the bride duties, allowing her to complete them easily.

1. Offer guidance and support as an unofficial advisor

The mother of the bride’s traditionally serves as an unofficial advisor to the couple, providing guidance and support throughout the wedding planning process. Your roles usually include:

  • Selecting and ordering wedding stationery
  • Drafting invitation wording
  • Managing RSVPs
  • Compiling guest lists
  • Coordinating ceremony and reception arrangements
Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride
Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride – Photo by: JJ’s House

2. Serve as a liaison

It’s important to communicate clearly between the bride and groom’s families throughout the wedding planning process, so it’s beneficial to designate someone as the liaison. This person will maintain open communication and ensure everyone remains informed and included in the decision-making process, preventing anyone from feeling excluded.

3. Help the bride find her dream wedding dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a significant and sentimental experience for any bride, and having a mother by her side can make it all the more meaningful. Thus, your presence is especially cherished as you have likely anticipated this day since your daughter’s birth, and your input may be invaluable. Whether the bride needs assistance choosing her dress or deciding on bridesmaid attire, the mother will undoubtedly be thrilled to provide her support.

Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride with Finding Dress
Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride with Finding Dress – Photo by: Minted

4. Have the privilege of choosing attire before others

As per the “mother of the bride etiquette” tradition dictates, the bride’s mother is typically given priority in choosing her attire for the wedding. Once the bride’s mother has selected a suitable color and style that adheres to the couple’s preferences, she should inform the mother of the groom, allowing her to choose an outfit that is complementary in style.

By doing so, both mothers can coordinate their ensembles elegantly, adding to the overall aesthetic of the wedding while adhering to proper dress etiquette.

Key aspects of wedding etiquette for the mother of the bride
Key aspects of mother of the bride etiquette – Photo by: Photo Images

5. Manage and oversee wedding gifts

One of the mother-of-the-bride duties is to assist in managing wedding gifts during and after the day. It is important to keep track of gifts received and the guests who gave them so the couple can send out their thank-you notes after the wedding. The newlyweds will greatly appreciate your help organizing all the love guests give them.

6. Share family heirlooms if applicable

As the bride’s mother, you can play a significant role in helping the bride choose something old or something borrowed to wear on her wedding day. This is part of the mother-of-the-bride etiquette, which also involves suggesting a veil, garter, or jewelry, such as a grandmother’s heirloom earrings or a cherished family necklace. If there’s an opportunity, you could lend the bride your wedding dress or a grandmother’s wedding gown that can be incorporated into her wedding day look.

7. Participate in special parent dances

Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride with Parent Dance
Wedding Etiquette For Mother Of The Bride with Parent Dance – Photo by: Brides

The bride’s mother typically participates in the parent dances during the wedding reception. Following the bride and groom’s first dance, she may be requested to dance with her escort, usually the bride’s father, during the “parent dance” section. It is also traditional for her to dance with her new son-in-law to celebrate their newly formed family bond.

Wedding Etiquette Father Of The Bride

Father of the bride etiquette - Be someone the bride can lean on
Father of the bride etiquette – Photo by: Getty Images Signatures

Traditionally, some specific roles and responsibilities are commonly associated with the bride’s father on the wedding day, related to wedding etiquette for the parents of the bride. Consider utilizing the following traditional roles to guide you for various essential duties so you may play an active and meaningful role on this momentous occasion.

8. Crafting and rehearsing father of the bride speech

Giving a moving tribute is not something that comes naturally to everyone. To create a truly memorable speech, try writing down your thoughts and rehearsing them, like you would a dance performance. This shows your love and support, and also your genuine care. Don’t forget, how you say it is as important as what you say. If you need some help, a toast book can be a useful tool to sort out your ideas and craft your final speech.

9. Support the bride’s mother

Offer your assistance to the mother of the bride with all of the important details involved in the wedding planning process. While the bride’s father may have fewer designated responsibilities than the mother, he can still play an essential role in offering his insights and opinions on matters such as selecting the perfect venue or arranging guests’ travel accommodations.

Wedding Etiquette For Father Of The Bride
Wedding Etiquette For Father Of The Bride – Photo by: Wedding Ideas Magazine

By lending a helping hand and providing valuable input, the father of the bride can contribute significantly to ensuring that the wedding day is a seamless and memorable experience for everyone involved.

10. Readily available for any unforeseen issues

As the wedding etiquette father of the bride, one of your main roles is to make yourself readily available to step in and assist with any unforeseen issues or emergencies that may arise throughout the wedding planning process and on the big day itself. Although the bride’s father may have fewer designated responsibilities, this allows him to be a reliable support system for the entire wedding party. By being prepared to step in and help out whenever needed, the bride’s father can help ensure that the wedding day runs smoothly and that all involved can enjoy a stress-free and joyous celebration.

11. Spend some quality time with your daughter

Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride
Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride – Photo by: Brides

Before the start of the wedding ceremony, it is expected for the bride’s father to spend some quality time with his daughter, perhaps to offer some last-minute words of wisdom or share a special moment. Following this, the father of the bride will have the honor of accompanying his daughter to the wedding venue, a meaningful and symbolic gesture that marks the beginning of a new chapter in both of their lives.

12. Escorts the bride down the aisle

Escorts your daughter down the aisle
Father of the bride etiquette – Photo by: Pexels

The highlight moments in a wedding ceremony are when the father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle, signifying the passing of the torch and the bride’s transition from one family to another. This time-honored tradition, one of the father of the bride etiquette, serves as a poignant reminder of the love and support that the bride’s father has provided throughout his daughter’s life and symbolizes a heartwarming tribute to the special bond between a father and his daughter.

13. Participates in the traditional “Father-Daughter Dance”

One of the most memorable moments for the wedding etiquette father of the bride is the traditional father-daughter dance. This dance is a beautiful way to honor the special bond between a father and his daughter and to express the love and support they have shared throughout the years. As they step onto the dance floor, they can share a few words, a hug, or a smile, and enjoy their special moment together.

Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride with Father-Daughter Dance
Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride with Father-Daughter Dance – Photo by: PA Unveiled

Wedding Etiquette for Parents of the Bride

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but it can be made easier when both bride’s parents work together to share responsibilities. Here is a helpful list of traditional wedding responsibilities for the bride’s parents, specifically related to wedding etiquette for parents of the bride. Feel free to offer to help and use this list as a starting point to create your customized wedding roles list.

14. Bride’s parents financial responsibility

When it comes to the wedding ceremony and reception, the bride’s parents often face a big question about wedding etiquette: who pays for what? This is not a simple matter, and it requires a frank and respectful discussion with the couple about their expectations and preferences. Whether you’re able to offer a generous gift or a modest contribution, your honesty and support will be valued.

Parents of bride and groom
Bride’s parents financial responsibility – Photo by: Photo Images

As the ultimate hosts of the wedding and reception, the bride’s parents have a traditional role in planning and organizing the event, following the parents of the bride etiquette. This means taking care of the guest list, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and managing the wedding costs. Your role is to make this day a special and unforgettable one for everyone involved.

15. Sending out engagement announcements

Following the engagement, it is typical for the bride’s parents to inform the local newspaper by sending out engagement announcements. This announcement helps the couple inform their close friends and family and allows the community to share their joyous news. If the groom’s parents reside in a different town, the bride’s parents may also consider submitting an announcement to the local newspaper in their area.

Wedding Etiquette For Father Of The Bride
Parents of the bride etiquette – Photo by: Hitched

16. Ensure the smooth closing of the reception

Ensure the smooth closing of the reception, which is also part of the parents of the bride etiquette as the host/hostess role. As the last two to leave the reception, the bride’s parents should oversee the event’s closing, ensuring that everything is properly taken care of, including wedding gifts for couples transported to the newlyweds’ home.

17. Provide cultural and religious customs

To ensure that the bride and groom are aware of religious and cultural wedding traditions, parents should take the initiative to inform them about the customs and practices included in their wedding. Additionally, they can suggest other traditions that the couple may want to consider incorporating into their ceremony.

Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride with Religious
Wedding Etiquette For Parents Of The Bride with Religious – Photo by: Encyclopedia Britannic

18. Assisting with the guest list and seating chart organization

As part of their duties, the father and mother of the bride may help the couple with seating arrangements for the reception, especially for family members and their friends. Since the couple may not be familiar with all the family dynamics, it can be helpful to have parents’ input on who should be seated together to ensure a harmonious celebration.

19. Stand in the receiving line to greet guests

Traditionally, it is normal for the mother of the bride to stand at the head of the receiving line to greet guests after the wedding ceremony and before the reception. As the reception hostess, you are vital in welcoming guests and ensuring they feel appreciated and valued.

20. Be someone the bride can lean on

wedding etiquette for parents of the bride 12
Parents of the bride etiquette – Be someone the bride can lean on – Photo by: Photo Images

Offer yourself as a dependable person of support for the bride throughout the wedding planning process, as well as on the big day and beyond. Be available for her to lean on whenever she needs someone to confide in or seek guidance from, and let her know that she can count on you to be a stable and encouraging presence throughout all the ups and downs of this important milestone.

21. Boost the bride’s confidence throughout

Make it a point to remind the bride of her innate beauty and radiance, and always strive to maintain a positive and uplifting attitude. Consistently offering encouragement and support to the bride during the wedding planning process is crucial, and the bride will undoubtedly appreciate these heartfelt gestures. By keeping a positive mindset and reinforcing the bride’s confidence, you can help ensure she is ready for the big day and make this special time as stress-free as possible.

22. Traditionally sit on the left side of the aisle

Sit on the left side of the aisle - parents of the bride etiquette
Sit on the left side of the aisle – parents of the bride etiquette – Photo by: Getty Images

As the wedding ceremony commences, the bride’s parents will typically take their seat on the left-hand side of the aisle, related to wedding etiquette for parents of the bride. This seating arrangement is a traditional symbol of support and solidarity as the bride’s parents come together to witness their daughter’s marriage and offer unwavering love and guidance throughout this momentous occasion.

>>> Recommend reading: 115+ Best Wedding Wishes & Messages To Write In A Card

Wedding Etiquette For Divorced Parents Of The Bride

Navigating weddings with the divorced parents of the bride can be challenging, but following proper wedding etiquette for divorced parents of the bride can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable celebration for all. Here are some helpful tips to consider:

23. Communication is key

Open and honest communication is paramount for a harmonious wedding celebration with divorced parents. It is crucial to involve all parties, including the bride, groom, parents, family members, and wedding planners, in proactively discussing the situation and addressing potential issues.

Wedding Etiquette For Divorced Parents Of The Bride
Wedding Etiquette For Divorced Parents Of The Bride – Photo by: haftpoint

24. Be respectful and civil

It is important to set aside any past differences and ensure that the wedding planning process and the wedding day remain respectful and cordial for the sake of the bride and groom, regardless of any prior discord or disagreements. This principle holds significant weight in understanding wedding etiquette for divorced parents of the bride, emphasizing the need for cooperation and harmony during this celebratory occasion, especially if the bride doesn’t want any drama or conflict on her special day.

wedding etiquette for divorced parents of the bride
Being respectful and civil is a wedding etiquette for divorced parents of the bride – Photo by: South Korea Photos

25. Consider separate seating arrangements on the big day

If there is a possibility of tension between the divorced parents, it may be advisable to seat them separately during both the ceremony and the reception. This can help to minimize any uncomfortable interactions or potential conflicts.

26. Focus on the celebration

Wedding etiquette for parents of the bride can be challenging and stressful, especially if there are family conflicts or disagreements. However, remember that the wedding day is a celebration of the love between the bride and groom, so it is important to prioritize their happiness and put any personal issues aside between family members.

FAQs about Wedding Etiquette for Parents of The Bride

Do the parents of the bride give a wedding gift?

Do the parents of the bride give a wedding gift

The bride’s parents don’t have to give a gift if they are footing the bill for the big day. But some parents might want to surprise their daughter and her partner with a present that shows how much they care. The choice is up to the parents, based on their finances, bond, and taste. Some of the best wedding gifts for parents are custom photo frames, sparkling jewelry, wine memberships, or heartfelt cards.

Are there traditional guidelines for the groom’s parents’ wedding gift etiquette?

Groom's parents wedding gift etiquette

When it comes to wedding gifts, there are different expectations and traditions for the bride’s and groom’s parents. The groom’s parents’ wedding gift etiquette suggests that they should give a gift to the couple, regardless of who pays for the wedding. The gift can be monetary, such as covering the honeymoon expenses, or sentimental, such as a family heirloom or a personalized item. The groom’s parents should also give a gift to the bride’s parents, as a way of thanking them for hosting the wedding and welcoming them into the family.

Does the mother of the bride get ready with the bride?

Does the mother of the bride get ready with the bride

If the bride and her mother decide to get ready together, they should communicate clearly about the time, place, and expectations for the morning of the wedding. They should also consider the logistics of hair and makeup, transportation, and photography. Some brides may arrange and pay for their mother’s hair and makeup, while others may expect their mother to pay for her own or do it herself. Some mothers may also want to get ready with the groom’s mother or other family members.

What advice for the mother of the bride feel left out?

Mother of the bride feeling left out

The mother of the bride feeling left out can seek open communication with the couple, express her feelings, and find ways to be involved in smaller or meaningful wedding tasks. Additionally, focusing on the positive and creating special moments with her daughter outside of wedding planning can alleviate those feelings.

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In conclusion, navigating the etiquette of the bride’s parents during a wedding can be difficult, particularly for divorced parents. However, with open communication and focus on the couple’s happiness, the day may be memorable and pleasurable for everybody. So, you may ensure a smooth and successful ceremony by adhering to this wedding etiquette for parents of the bride.

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