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Mother of the groom role and responsibilities

Everything you need to know about the mother of the groom’s duties during wedding planning and on the big day.

We all know what the duties of the bridal party are, and we’ve written a handy guide to what the ushers actually do at a wedding, but what about the mother of the groom?

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Is there anything she needs to do other than sit back and watch her son get married? Read on to find out. 

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What does the mother of the groom do at a wedding?

Once upon a time, the mother of the groom wasn’t involved in the wedding, as it was traditionally the parents of the bride who paid for and organised the event. Nowadays though, parents on both sides tend to be more involved, both financially and practically.

Here is a list of typical duties for the mother of the groom will do, though these may vary depending on the level of involvement.

1. Funding the wedding. Together with the father of the groom, the MOG will liaise with her son and future daughter-in-law to find out who will pay for what, and how much they can afford to donate. It’s best to be clear about these things from the onset, to avoid any nasty surprises. There are no hard and fast rules as to who pays what. Both sets of parents may wish to split the cost 50-50, however it’s more common to pay for specific things. For example, the parents of the bride might pay for the dress and venue, but the parents of the groom might wish to pay for drinks and food.

2. Planning. This depends how much help the bride and groom need and how involved the MOG would like to be. In any case, it’s always polite to offer. She could for example help scout out locations, or look for a suitable florist. Those more DIY-minded can make favours or bake desserts.

READ MORE: 21 wedding ideas you can ask guests to help with

3. Hosting. Some MOGs wish to host an engagement dinner, or a post-wedding brunch, in which case they need to organise that entire aspect themselves, after getting a guest list from the bride and groom. This will include location (at home if big enough), catering and decor.

4. Drawing up a guest list. The groom might not remember every aunt and uncle he needs to invite, so the MOG usually draws up a helpful list of family members and friends. However, she should never be forceful with who needs to be invited, this is merely an indication.

5. Receiving RSVPs. If the invitations have been sent out under the groom’s parents names (e.g., “Mr & Mrs Smith would be delighted to invite you to the wedding of their son Andrew to Emily”) then their address will probably be on the RSVP details. The MOG will need to keep track of the replies and chase late guests if need be.

6. Outfit coordination. Unless the bride specifically wishes the MOG to wear something similar to the MOB, it’s best to check with her first what is acceptable to wear. The last thing you want to do is clash with anyone else from the bridal party, and it might be nice to match the colour scheme. Naturally, wearing white is a big no no.

7. Attending the hen do. Some brides wish to invite their mothers and mothers-in-law to their hen do, so it’s only polite to attend. However, it is entirely acceptable to leave the party early if it gets too rowdy. If you’re planning a bridal shower, this might be a more MOG appropriate occasion. 

8. Getting a present. The MOG should get a gift list from the couple well in advance so she can get first pick of what to get. However, many couples now prefer cash gifts, so a wedding card and cheque book or cash on the day is a must.

READ MORE: The complete guide to wedding gift lists

9. Receiving line. If having a receiving line, it’s traditional for the mother of the groom to stand after the happy couple to greet guests.

10. Sit at the top table. Simple enough, but the bride and groom’s parents are almost always at the top table, though arrangements may vary if there are divorced or separated parents.

11. Mother/Son Dance. Following the first dance, it’s customs for the bride to dance with her father, while the groom dances with his mother, so dust off those dancing shoes! You could even take some dance lessons together to create a routine, should you so wish, and it’ll be a lovely bonding experience.

12. Speech. This is entirely optional, but some MOGs do choose to make a little speech to thank guests for attending.

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READ MORE: Explained: The order of wedding speeches