How to be the best Mother of the Bride

Your daughter is engaged! And you’re beyond excited about her magical wedding day to come. My wish for you is that you adore your future son-in-law like I do! And that you remain connected with your daughter in this rite of passage, and her new chapter…
So on to the wedding, wedding planning, and your role as the MOB…Mother of the Bride…

You want to be supportive and helpful, be appropriate, but not overstep. This is your daughter’s day to shine and to celebrate her union with her new husband, with friends and family, you and the Father of the Bride, her new family, all as witnesses to their love and joy!

As the mother of this human-being bride, this little girl you raised to be a young woman, you have your own dreams, along with questions about logistics, and budget. You want to be as involved and helpful as your daughter wishes. There’s the tricky part…

So 1st, ask your daughter what her vision is and what her perfect wedding looks like. If she’s a modern woman and determined bride, like my amazing daughter, she is already very well-organized plan, with spreadsheets, timelines, an inspirational mood board, and a Pinterest page.

2nd, if there are budgetary restrictions or concerns, discuss those in advance. Just outline this so there are no misunderstandings later. Budget and the guest list often go hand in hand. You or the new in-laws might have envisioned “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”! But if she doesn’t want that huge wedding, then let go of insisting upon inviting “your” friends plus cousins and aunts and uncles who don’t have an active role in your daughter’s current life and social.  As my daughter articulated, “if we haven’t seen or talked to these people in a year, or we literally don’t recognize them, we do not need them at our wedding.” This was helpful anytime anyone asked to add to the guest list or inquired “is so-and-so coming” (which is overstepping). Respect these parameters, be optimistic, supportive, not selfish about attendees. Offer to help with wedding invitations, if she wishes, from choosing the right paper and style, to providing addresses and handwriting envelopes, as customized personalized invitations set the tone for the event.

3rd, wait to be asked to participate in the dress shopping, and in the hair and makeup morning of the wedding. Hopefully your daughter plans and wishes to include you. I was delighted to be invited! It’s a very magical moment seeing your daughter in her beautiful wedding dress and hopefully, she wishes to share that with you, and her closest friends – her bridesmaids – or the new more pc term – wedding party. If you are invited to hair & and makeup, discuss her wishes and vision for you – then find and bring photos as inspiration for the makeup artists and stylists…super helpful for everyone so you can give clear direction, and you are comfortable and happy with the look. (Read: avoid the aesthetic of a drag queen or Tammy Faye for your daughter’s wedding). I recommend a natural aesthetic – just a little glammed up for the big day, which helps make features pop in photos apparently.

4th, let go of traditions that our gen was raised to think are so essential. The bride and groom may wish to see each other prior to the wedding, it’s called “the first look”. While it’s far from our tradition of walking down the aisle for the very first glimpse of each other as bride and groom in dress and tux, this newer protocol actually allows for the couple to have a special romantic moment together prior to the ceremony. Also, they have the opportunity to take bride and groom photos, freeing them up to enjoy their reception immediately following the ceremony (versus an hour + of professional photos while their wedding guests are eating, drinking, socializing without the stars of the show – the guests of honor – the bride and groom). In fact, our daughter and her groom chose to have private vows, before the ceremony. Believe, me, I would love to know how they pledged their love and commitment to each other, but that wouldn’t be by definition “private”, would it?! Funny, my dad-in-law keeps asking to see a copy of their private vows!😉

, follow the dress code, and your daughter’s vision and choice for you and her bridesmaids and guests. You dressed her for years, it’s her turn today … actually, my daughter and I have had fun with her styling me since she was a teen fashionista…. lucky me. As the mother of the bride, you want to be elegant, sophisticated, demure, and appropriate, and embrace the mood deck, colors and style your bride envisions.

6th, be a liaison and best communicator to the guests when they have questions about dress code, timeline, lodging, gift registry, travel plans, etc. This helps alleviate stress and a barrage of questions of the bride and groom so they can focus on their own logistics and plans…and mostly ENJOY! Know which groomsmen and bridesmaids have responsibilities – your go-to people if needed with last minute details. Also, if you foresee or can predict family drama and histrionics, do your best to diffuse that by reminding the parties involved that this day is not about them, it’s about the bride and groom. Encourage attendees to be grown up, be grateful and behave!

7th, be sure the bride and your family members are well hydrated, well rested, not stressed, or over-served. Keep an eye on family and friends. Trust me, I wish I had…. you are a hostess to some degree here… this sounds simple … but it’s so important! Take care of you too… weddings can be a lot! Folks flying in from all over, concerns for weather, catering, tents or the band showing, and the list goes on…

8th, for the ceremony, let the bride decide how she would like to proceed down the aisle. It may be her wish to walk with her dad. It may be her wish to include you both, father and mother on each side. Wedding ceremony traditions have changed too. Often there is no religion, no church – instead modern couples are opting for natural outdoor backdrops – by the water, in the mountains, a field, a rustic barn – with a simple floral altar or arch. Perhaps their officiant is a friend recently ordained online just for this occasion. Also, there is no asking “who gives this woman to be married?” That’s old school, and modern gals don’t view themselves as a commodity to be given away! I applaud that despite being a traditionalist who loves etiquette.

9th, remember the day is all about your daughter and her groom. Be grateful, and gracious, organized too. Have gratuities in pre-made envelopes for the servers, band, and venue, for example. Have any speech or toast rehearsed and printed in your pocket. Don’t over-drink, overdo, or try to break dance and grind with the groomsmen. I’ve seen it… Make a point to greet and chat (at least briefly) with every guest. Now you’re glad it’s a smaller carefully curated guest list. I studied the guest list prior so I knew at least all the names of my daughter and new son-in-law’s attendees… it helped with conversations.  Let the after party be for the wedding party … unless you’re otherwise invited and included. Besides, you’ll feel better the next morning with a curfew when you let the young party animals go big! 😉

10th, treasure every minute! After a year of planning, the wedding day can go by so quickly … be present, in the moment and joyful. Tissues ready, smile, be positive and appreciative. Your daughter has found her soul mate…

I have written this in perspective, hindsight is always 20/20, right?! It’s three weeks after my beautiful daughter’s most incredibly well-choreographed, stellar, magically celebratory day. She thought of everything…

Was everything perfect? Was I the perfect MOB? No… There is a moment I wish I could re-do, or have foreseen, and changed (read #7 again), but I can’t turn back time – so I need to let that go. What matters most is the bride and groom’s celebration and their happiness. They are embarking on an exciting marriage with so much love and support, plus a fabulous fun party to start.

The gorgeous photographic and heartfelt memories they (and you) will treasure of their wedding day – their first day as husband and wife – are precious and priceless too!
Humor: you can’t always comfortably use the terms “wedding” and “priceless” in the same sentence 😉

Enjoy this passage, and your very special time with the bride and your new son-in-law and family! Cheers, The MoB

See more –
How to be a Great Mother of the Groom
My Fave Destinations
Modern Etiquette
Life Changes can be hard
Wide awake in woke