Weddings have come a long way in the last 15-20 years. Some traditions have remained, while others are fading out, and wedding fashion is undoubtedly ever-changing. Where do the mothers fit into your wedding planning timeline? Traditionally, the mothers have had more specific roles of their own throughout the wedding planning process but now, a lot of that is just simply your preference. Keep in mind how excited your mothers are about this day, too! Typically, they want to be involved every step of the way if you’ll allow it. Let them know right away what you want them to be involved in and what you don’t want them involved in, expect some bumps in the road along the way and ultimately, enjoy your planning with everyone involved!
After getting engaged (yay!), it is proper etiquette to introduce your families if they have not already met. Some traditions state that the mother of the groom should reach out to the bride’s family to organize a get-together, but it is a lot more common for the couple to arrange this or the families to already have met before the engagement. It is also said that the mother of the bride should host an engagement party after the groom pops the question. But do you want an engagement party? Some couples are forgoing this get-together in order to put that money towards other areas of the wedding, while others choose to host one themselves or sometimes a friend will even host.
Next, you should sit down with both of your mothers and discuss the budget. Now-a-days more and more couples are paying for a lot more of their own weddings; it’s not the standard ‘bride’s family pays for everything’ as it used to be. While discussing your budget, this is the perfect time to also go over your guest list with your mothers. Both the mother of the bride and mother of the groom’s duties are to come with their own list prepared, listing their family and friends they would like to invite to the wedding. Help them narrow down their lists if you believe they are too extensive and your budget will not allow for that many guests. After this, assign them each the task of collecting addresses for you and relaying the information back to you. A spreadsheet is always a good way to organize this information!
At this time you can also discuss how involved you would like each mother throughout the planning process. Set your wedding planning timeline and let them know what events and appointments they will need to plan for. This can range from helping to find venues, caterers, florists, or other vendors – there’s a lot to do! Throughout this discussion is also a good time to discuss any wedding traditions your mothers would like to be included in your big day. Some families like to include family or cultural traditions or even the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’, so this is the perfect time to check in.
Typically the bride will ask her mother to attend her wedding dress try-on appointment and fittings with her along with some of her closest friends maybe. This is completely up to you who you want to attend this magical moment. Maybe you feel close enough to invite your future mother-in-law along with you and your mom or maybe you just want your friends there; you decide! Just make sure you invite the people you will feel most comfortable with, and those people who will not overwhelm you while you’re trying on dresses. You want this to be a special moment, so include the most special people to you.
After you’ve selected your dress and your bridesmaid dresses, it’s on to the mothers’ dresses! It is tradition that the mother of the bride picks out her dress first, and then informs the mother of the groom what her dress looks like so that she can pick out her dress in a complimentary color. Mothers should avoid choosing dresses in the same color as the bridesmaid dresses and of course avoid ivory! These dresses should be similar colors that fit into your color scheme that compliment the bridesmaid dresses as well as your bridal gown.
When it comes to hosting showers, the traditions have changed a lot. Traditionally it is said that the maid of honor should host the one (and only) shower for the bride. These days, brides are often thrown more than one shower. While not necessarily easier, this makes more sense to me. If you have a large family, it might be difficult for the MOH to host just ONE shower for you. This is where your moms can come into play. Moms and aunts are now, more often, hosting showers of their own just including relatives, while the MOH hosts a shower including only close friends. One major duty of both the mother of the bride and groom here is to spread the word of where the couple is registered to their family and friends. It is said to be poor etiquette for this information to be included on the formal wedding invitations, so it is up to the mothers (and other shower hosters) to spread the word!
Once those RSVPs start rolling in, you might want to consider having your mother or future mother-in-law (maybe both!) help you keep those organized. Depending on the size of your wedding, this might be a more difficult task than you predicted. Whether you have them help you here or not, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re in contact with both of them regarding any guests whose RSVPs are still missing close to, and past your deadline. It will be their duty to get into contact with them to see if they are able to attend or not and relay this information back to you as soon as possible.
It is also said to be a duty of both mothers to ensure that out of town guests are properly hosted if they are part of their guest list. This means finding lodging and activities while they are in town. Determine if this is something you would like your mothers to be in charge of or if you would like to do the research yourself.
One last thing that is probably still the biggest mother of the groom duty and tradition to date is the hosting of the grooms dinner. While some families are choosing to host this together, it is typically up to the MOG to plan this event. Depending on the venue, it should be planned months in advance in order to secure a venue. She should collect a guest list from the couple well in advance and get invites out approximately 4-6 weeks in advance and it should be hosted following the rehearsal, the night before the wedding.
Duties on the big day? That’s also completely up to you as a couple. Maybe you want your parents to organize family photos before the ceremony or at the rehearsal dinner. Have them discuss when they would like these to take place with your photographer. One other duty you could assign to one of them would be to ensure the tips are all delivered to the vendors. Any little things you can think of that you would like removed from your plate and that you would feel comfortable with them handling on your big day – just be sure to discuss with them ahead of time.
So what IS the big difference between mother of the bride and mother of the groom duties? Not much, actually. Traditions are changing and it is up to you which of those you would like to follow or which you would like to do without. How involved you want your mother and future mother-in-law to be and what you would like them to be included in is completely up to you. My biggest advice here would be to communicate that with them right away and always remember that they are there to help throughout this exciting but stressful time in your life!
What duties did you or are you planning to give to your mom or future mom-in-law? Let us know in the comments below! Happy planning!
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Taking Your Measurements
For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn't be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.
**Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it's not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.
Bust size: Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).
Waist size: While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button.
Hip size: Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.
Choosing your correct size
Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5" (size 12), your waist measures 31" (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5" (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body. Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.