A Guide to 17 Mother-of-the-Bride Duties Moms Need to Know About (2024)

Some mothers of the bride are extremely involved in helping to plan their daughter's wedding day, while others prefer to take a back seat. But no matter which category she falls into, there are certain duties the mother of the bride is traditionally responsible for handling—and most of the time, some wedding planning tasks just become considerably easier when Mom is involved. She's organized and steady, and you know she's great in a crisis. So if she's willing to hop on board, be ready with a list of mother-of-the-bride responsibilities she can take on—and take off your plate.

Meet the Expert

  • Colin Cowie is a celebrity wedding and event planner working in Los Angeles, the East Coast, and beyond.
  • Diann Valentine is a Los Angeles-based event maven who has planned weddings for Usher and Toni Braxton.
  • Lynn Easton is the owner of Easton Events in Charleston, South Carolina and Charlottesville, Virginia.

We consulted top wedding planners Colin Cowie, Diann Valentine, and Lynn Easton to put together a list of the ultimate mother-of-the-bride responsibilities. While the majority of these duties lean towards tradition—these are tasks moms have been covering for decades—we also asked them about some additional modern ways moms can lend a hand when their kids tie the knot.

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A Guide to 17 Mother-of-the-Bride Duties Moms Need to Know About (1)

Attend Wedding Dress Shopping Appointments

Traditionally, mothers accompany their daughters in their search for a wedding dress, and they're there to share in the joy of finding the right fit. Mom is definitely one of the most helpful people to have look at different styles with you, and, chances are, she'll be the one with the most honest feedback.

Assist With Venue Selection

Though where you tie the knot is a personal choice, this part of the planning decision is often collaborative: What type of venue makes sense for your family at large? How far is too far if you're hoping to pull off a destination celebration that most of your loved ones can attend? Mom likely has the answers—or, at the very least, some constructive input—to these questions, which is why mothers are typically part of the venue selection process. Whether you need help narrowing down a destination or a second set of eyes as you tour top contenders, she's someone you can (and should) turn to.

Help Wrangle the Bridesmaids

We hope you won't need anyone to step in and run interference if bridesmaid mischief arises, but if you do, your mom can volunteer as tribute. While most disagreements should be resolved solely among the involved parties—we're all adults here!—perhaps Mom can offer to take the less-direct bullets. Is there a last minute issue with a bridesmaid's dress? Ask Mom to help handle it. Is someone getting a little out of hand at the reception? Your mother can be the one to suggest your guest refill their glass with some lovely non-alcoholic punch the next go-around. Never underestimate the value of a mother's self-sacrificing and unconditional love when it comes to awkward and difficult conversations.

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Research Ceremony Traditions and Find Family Heirlooms

It typically falls on your mom to uncover religious or cultural traditions you—or your partner's family—might want to incorporate into the ceremony. She will also help you find the something old or something borrowed, such as a stunning piece of jewelry that's been in your family for generations.

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Perfect Wedding Invitation Wording

If you're opting for a traditional wedding invitation, those technically come addressed from your parents. Since her name is literally in print, it's nice to have Mom's opinion on the wording. She may also offer to chip in and help you afford a nicer style than you had originally planned on. When the invites are coming from her, she'll want people to know she has excellent taste.

Help With the Guest List

If your budget or venue simply doesn't have the room, your mom is a great resource to help you trim down your list. She may also offer to have RSVPs routed her way, which she can then catalog on an online spreadsheet shared between the two of you.

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Track Down RSVPS

Consider this mother-of-the-bride responsibility an extension of guest list creation. Inevitably, there will be several RSVPs you'll need some help tracking down. This is a task you can assign to your mom, if she's willing to take it on. She's the right woman for the job: Chances are, she knows a fair amount of the folks she'll need to contact, which is why it's better handed to her than someone further removed from the family (like a best friend maid of honor, for example).

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Act as a Point Person for Vendors

Your mom should be the one whose name you give to the caterers, florist, planners, entertainers, and venue as your backup to field questions and assist in coordinating. As Cowie suggests, "Set your mom up for success with a list of creative contacts and a message book solely for your wedding day." She'll most likely be the designated point of communication between the bride, the bride's father, and your partner's parents on all things wedding-planning related.

Weigh in on Registry Picks

Mom has been around the home goods sections of department stores for just a little longer than you. She's an excellent source to tap about what you really need and what you don't. What's the one thing she treasures the most from her registry? Which item does she wish she'd had the foresight to include?

Some couples who plan on moving immediately after the wedding often request that gifts from the registry go to the bride's mother's home to avoid any missed packages during the tricky interim time between addresses.

Provide a Second Set of Eyes

Whether you need someone to look over the fine print of vendor contracts, affirming your venue choice, or watching over a hundred other minor details in order to notice and fix problems before you've even become aware of them, Mom is there to help.

Find a Dress She Loves

Moms, it's your responsibility to look and feel your best on your daughter's big day—after all, it's one of the most significant days in your life, too. That involves finding a mother-of-the-bride dress that both suits your personality and your daughter's overarching vision. It's also a good idea to coordinate with the mother of the groom to ensure your ensembles don't clash.

Play Hostess at Pre-Wedding Parties and on the Big Day

Whether she's handling your bridal shower or greeting out-of-town guests once they arrive in town for your nuptials, the mother of the bride is the official hostess and should focus on helping each attendee feel welcome. That applies to the wedding day, as well: While receiving lines are not as customary these days, it's still important to greet or visit with as many guests as possible, explains Valentine.

A Guide to 17 Mother-of-the-Bride Duties Moms Need to Know About (4)

Assist With Day-of Dressing

"Helping the bride into her dress and placing the veil is, and will always remain, such a sweet, time-honored tradition [for the bride's mom]," says Easton.

Run Last-Minute Errands

A passport was left at home. Lipstick fell out of the makeup bag. Someone needs deodorant. In all these scenarios and more, rely on the mother of the bride to save the day.

Take Part in the Ceremony and Reception

A mother of the bride is perfectly welcome to escort the bride down the aisle if the bride's father isn't able to for whatever reason. (Both parents accompany the bride in most Jewish weddings). In a typical Christian wedding, the mother of the bride should be seated in the first pew directly before the ceremony, and she leaves the church or chapel first afterward. At the reception, the mother should eventually find a place at the parents' table, if there is one, but only after completing the aforementioned greetings.

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Hit the Dance Floor

After you and your partner have your first dance, then it's time for your mom and her partner to take a spin. After all, your mom deserves her moment to shine, too!

Provide Constant Love

No matter what, your mom is there to support you in whatever you need. There may be tension—between you and your mom or your family and your partner's—but it should pass. Emotions will be high, and your mom is there to be your rock. Remember: Mother may not always know best, but she always has your best interests in mind.

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A Guide to 17 Mother-of-the-Bride Duties Moms Need to Know About (2024)


What should a mother of bride not do? ›

Mother of The Bride: How to Avoid Upstaging or Upsetting the...
  • Consult with The Bride. ...
  • Avoid Being Too Casual. ...
  • Don't Make the Wedding About You. ...
  • Don't Be Pushy. ...
  • Don't Tell Her Who Should Be Her Bridesmaids. ...
  • Don't Compare Her Wedding to Others. ...
  • Don't Be Too Critical. ...
  • Don't Make Empty Offers.

What should the mother of the bride give the bride? ›

Wedding cards, photographs, a special perfume, invitations—so many keepsakes come out of a bride's wedding day. A timeless and feminine trunk to hold your daughter's precious wedding mementos makes the perfect mother-to-bride gift idea for any sentimental bride.

What should the mother of the bride pay for? ›

Traditionally, the bride's family assumed most of the financial costs associated with a wedding, including the wedding planner, invitations, dress, ceremony, reception, flowers, photography, and music.

What color dress is the mother of the bride supposed to wear? ›

Typically the Mother of the Bride's dress should complement the bridal party's color palette. Not necessarily match with the bridesmaids, but choose a color in the color family. The most popular color for the mother of the bride to wear is navy or a royal blue, followed by blush or a shade of nude.

What does the mother of the bride give her daughter? ›

Jewellery has always been a timeless and cherished gift for weddings. Consider gifting your daughter a piece of personalised jewellery, such as a necklace, bracelet, or ring, with her name, initials, or wedding date engraved on it.

Who walks the bride's mother down? ›

The mother of the bride is traditionally escorted by her son if she has one. Otherwise, any close male relative, the best man, or a groomsman walks with the mother of the bride during the procession.

Does mother of the bride give gifts? ›

What should she gift her daughter? The mother of the bride has a wide range of options, depending on what she thinks her daughter will appreciate the most. It could be a customized hanger for her wedding dress or jewelry to wear to the ceremony, for example.

What makes a dress a mother of the bride dress? ›

A: The Mother of the Bride is special. She needs to stand out a bit from the bridesmaids, so her dress should complement rather than match the bridesmaid's dresses. For example, the MOB could wear a dress in a similar color to the bridesmaids but in a deeper shade.

What should a mother say to her daughter on her wedding day? ›

Love you. To [my/our] daughter on her wedding day, you are a vision. You've filled [my/our] [life/lives] with incredible happiness and you're about to do the same for [spouse's name]. [I/We] adore you and can't wait to see you say "I do."

Does the mother of the bride say anything at the wedding? ›

Yes, the mother of the bride can give a speech at a wedding. Traditionally, men gave speeches, but times have changed. The decision is based on the bride and her mother's choice, often reflecting their bond. The speech should ideally last around five minutes, and toasting is expected.

Should the mother of the bride give her daughter a gift? ›

While it is traditional (although not obligatory) for the mother and father of the bride to receive a thank you gift from the newlyweds on the big day, a little memento from the bride's parents to their daughter is also becoming more popular.

What is the mother of the bride speech? ›

A mother of the bride speech should:

Pay tribute to the bride and share stories and memories of her from childhood and today. Talk about meeting their new partner for the first time, getting to know them and welcoming them into the family. Offer wise and funny advice to the couple. Finish with a toast to the newlyweds.

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

Generally if you choose to have bridesmaids they will get ready with you along with of course, the Mother and Father of the bride and any sibilings.

Who pays for a bridal shower? ›

In short, the host is the one who pays for the bridal shower—or at least some of it. Most commonly, this is the maid of honor, but the couple's relatives, friends or even the to-be-weds themselves can all pitch in to cover the cost of the wedding shower.

Does the mother of the bride have a role at wedding? ›

If we've learned anything from these brides, it's that mother of the bride duties can vary in the physical ways she contributes to the day, but there's no doubt that her most important job is to be a guiding light showing her support and love for the bride.

What is the tradition for the mother of the bride? ›

There are a number of traditional duties for the bride's mother such as being at wedding dress shopping appointments, attending the hen party and getting ready with the bride on the morning of the wedding.

Who walks out the mother of the bride? ›

The mother of the bride is traditionally escorted by her son if she has one. Otherwise, any close male relative, the best man, or a groomsman walks with the mother of the bride during the procession.

Does the mother of the bride give a speech? ›

A mother of the bride speech is a significant and memorable moment in the life of your daughter and her new spouse. By following these tips and expressing your love and pride for your daughter, you can create a speech that will be cherished and remembered for years to come.

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