Mother of the Groom Etiquette: How Involved Should the Mother of the Groom Be?

It's essential to define what role and responsibilities your future mother-in-law will have early on

Updated 08/31/18

Getty Images

Figuring out the roles of your loved ones early on in wedding planning makes the entire process run much more smoothly. That way, you know who is responsible for what, when each person has the final say, and exactly when you do (and don’t) want someone’s input. While you might know exactly what you want your fiancé to take care of and where your mom’s strengths lie, what is the role of the mother of the groom in all this?

Traditionally, the role of the groom’s mother is a little more limited than that of the mother of the bride. When it comes to involvement in the planning of the wedding, that’s usually at the discretion of the couple. There’s no expectation that the mother of the groom should be more involved, and she shouldn’t take on any additional responsibilities unless the couple asks her to.

So if you’re wondering what the correct mother-of-the-groom etiquette is and involved the mother of the groom should be, here are a couple of ways she can help take some stress off your shoulders.

Wedding Planning

If she’s got great taste, invite her to come to a meeting with your caterer or florist. While you may decide to keep dress shopping a strictly mother-daughter event, inviting your future mother-in-law to your fitting is a fun moment to share, and it means you’ll have one more person who knows how to work your bustle! You can even have her over to help you coordinate and design how your centerpieces will look or how your table settings should be put together.

If you relationship with the mother of the groom is a bit rocky or you find that she’s trying to completely take over all the wedding planning, it’s key to set boundaries from the start. Let her know the two to three things she can take off your to-do list and let her know that you’ll be in touch if there are more things you’d like her to help you plan. Put your foot down immediately if you notice she’s ordering invitations, booking the caterer, and finding a DJ without asking you first.

Guest List

There might be some back and forth conversations with the mother of the groom when it comes to seeing how many people from their side of the family they want on your wedding guest list. After you’ve sorted through who will make the final cut and you’ve gotten your guest list down to a reasonable number, the mother of the groom can assist you with collecting names addresses for any family members and friends who will be invited to the wedding (and assisting with collecting RSVPs!). As the wedding gets closer, the mother of the groom can also help with seating arrangements.

Planning the Ceremony

Taking the groom’s religion or family traditions into account, you might want to consult with his mother to see if there are any special ceremony readings, rituals or customs that you should consider including in the ceremony. If there’s a poem that’s been read or a tradition that has been passed down and used at weddings in their family for many years, the mother of the groom can give you insight on those practices.

Rehearsal Dinner

Depending on how you’ve delegated the wedding planning decisions and costs, the mother of the groom may offer to host the rehearsal dinner. Just because she’s offered to plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner doesn’t mean you have to be hush hush about the kind of party you want to have. Be sure to help with the planning, the suggestions and recommendations, and also with how to keep the budget down, since the mother of the groom might be so excited to host this event that the planning goes a little overboard.

Rounding Up Guests

When it comes to the wedding day, one of the major responsibilities the mother of the groom can take on is making sure that the people at the wedding she knows (family and friends) are taking their seats at the ceremony on time, all set with transportation to and from the venue, and making sure they just don’t get lost, especially if there are multiple venues for the wedding day. After the ceremony, when it comes time for group photos, she can be a big help making sure that the groom’s side of the family is waiting nearby to pop in and out of family photos.

Reception

After she takes over the dance floor during the mother and groom dance, be sure to remind her that the main thing she can do is spend the rest of the evening having fun. Turn to your bridal party for last-minute help with tasks and pop-up problems. Let your new mother-in-law dive into the celebration and enjoy in the excitement of having you as a part of the family.

Related Stories