There's a trend toward more intimate weddings in recent years, with many couples opting for only a best man and maid of honor, in lieu of a large wedding party. It's also been more popular lately to include parents in the actual wedding party, asking dad to stand up as best man, and grandma or mom to be matron of honor.
It's sweet to see a bride standing with the matriarchs of her family, making the next big step in her life. But there are pros and cons to having your mom in your wedding party.
If your mom is your best friend in the world, it's fabulous to have her next to you as you exchange vows with your life partner. There couldn't be a stronger support than what you receive from the woman who raised you.
It's unlikely that your mom will get drunk and disorderly at your wedding, so you can probably count on her to help you out from the time you start getting ready until you say goodbye to the last guest.
Your mom is probably more honest with you than your bestie, especially when it comes to telling you the straight up truth about some of your wedding-day decisions not being the best ideas. Whether it's your wedding dress and she warns you that your gown is slightly unflattering from behind, or predicting that those gorgeous heels you want will feel miserable after 15 minutes, mothers are more realistic about your feelings. They know it's better to tell you the painful truth up front than let you limp around looking less than stellar at your wedding.
Mom can't throw your bridal showers (at least she's not supposed to, according to the most basic etiquette), and she isn't the best choice for planning your bachelorette party either if you're looking to entertain friends your own age. While she can certainly recruit friends to do the heavy lifting for those pre-wedding events, you might find some girlfriends bitter about getting the work when they're not in the wedding.
Your parents are responsible for entertaining their friends who are invited to your wedding. If Mom has to spend a bunch of time doing MOH duties, such as helping you with your dress every single time you need to use the bathroom, she's going to miss far more of the party than she should.
Your mom has a VIP guest of honor role at your wedding, even if she doesn't have a spot on the altar. If you want to involve her more, you have the option of asking her to read part of the ceremony. However, your best girlfriend may get hurt feelings if she's not asked to take a named position beside you. It's important to talk with your BFF and explain your reasoning before you make — and publicize — your decision, to mitigate the damage to your relationship.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.