Responsibilities of The Bride's Family
Traditionally, the Bride’s family, and more specifically, the mother of the Bride, takes on a majority of the wedding expenses. In today’s society, it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to pay for the wedding themselves, and therefore will need to pick up or share the responsibilities that the mother of the Bride has taken on. Here’s a list of some of her major responsibilities.

Setting a Budget
Discuss with the bride and groom what kind of wedding they would like to have. On average, a traditional American wedding costs somewhere between $16,000 and $20,000. Set a budget and stick with it. Get a notebook or binder and keep tabs on every purchase, and keep in mind the time frame remaining before the engagement. Don’t rush things if you don’t have to, be careful with the purchases that you make, and be sure to keep the receipts, because the bride will change her mind a thousand times before the final decision is made on every single aspect of the wedding.

Picking a Venue
Picking the venue is an extremely important part of the wedding planning. Talk with the bride and groom about what they want out of their wedding. Talk about indoor weddings versus outdoor weddings. Talk about whether they want the ceremony and reception to be in the same place or not. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a fantastic idea. A simple curtain can separate the two areas, and you won’t lose guests in the transition. If you’re part of a church, you may consider having the wedding ceremony there. Often, it will be free, as long as you request that the preacher performs the ceremony. Think about the atmosphere, and whether the bride and groom want a contemporary or traditional wedding setting. Consider how many guests you expect to have. Standing room only is acceptable for a rock concert, not a wedding. Remember, stick to the budget. The venue should not exceed 20% of the total wedding budget.

Other Wedding Ceremony Decor
From the candles and tulle on the walls to the placement of every chair, decisions must be made. The most important thing is to think about the venue. If the venue is already heavily decorated, keep it simple. The bride and groom must decide if they want a simple wedding or a very ornate one. Remember, stay in budget!

Guest List
The guest list need to be compiled as quickly as possible after the wedding announcement. The groom’s parents need to be starting their half of the list also. It’s your responsibility to coordinate the Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations. When inviting the guests, think about the venue that the bride and groom have chosen. Be selective, but concise with the invitations. You’d be surprised who wants to be there to see your daughter to get married. If the venue is small, only invite family and the closest friends. If the venue is big, invite everyone that has ever met your daughter. Keep in mind, about half of the guests that you invite will attend the wedding.

Out-of-Town Guests
Make sure that the guests traveling from out of town have lodging accommodations. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to provide lodging or pay for it, but you should at least confirm with them that they have a place to stay. It is also customary to invite them to the rehearsal dinner.

Connection with the Vendors
You have to be the “go between” from the bride to the vendors whenever possible. You’ve got the checkbook, and therefore, you’ve got the power. The wedding coordinator, florist, cake decorator, and all other vendors should be looking to you and the bride for answers.

Dresses and Suit
You should purchase your dress to match the wedding colors or to match the mother of the groom. The father of the bride should also match the wedding party. Make sure to order all apparel a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks, but preferably 4 to 6 months, in advance. This gives the vendors time to alter them and then for you to try them on and make any final alterations prior to the wedding. More importantly, the bride’s wedding dress should be purchased as early as possible. The mother of the bride should be included in the purchase as a courtesy, if nothing else. Keep the number of people in the dressing room low. Too many eyes is not necessarily a good thing. Always keep the budget in mind, but keep this purchase a little more flexible. The bride needs to be happy with her dress.

During the Ceremony
At the beginning of the ceremony, the parents of the bride are traditionally ushered down the aisle and then sat in the first row or pew of the bride’s side of the venue. The mother of the bride traditionally lights a candle (for a unity candle) or sets the sand (for a sand ceremony) prior to the ceremony, along side the mother of the groom. This symbolizes your blessing and contribution to the wedding of your daughter and her groom. Immediately following the bride’s entrance, the father of the bride gives her daughter away. After the wedding, the parents of the bride and groom are escorted out of the venue prior to the guests’ exit. If the bride and groom choose to have a recession line, it is customary for you to be present for that as well.

During the Reception
The bride and groom will make their entrance following your entrance into the reception. The bride may share a father-daughter dance with her father. During this time, the groom may take the mother of the bride’s hand and dance as well. If the bride and groom choose to do a Dollar Dance, you may be responsible for taking the money from those who participate. The father of the bride traditionally makes a speech during the reception, and occasionally, so does the mother of the bride. When the reception is over, wish them well on their honeymoon and begin the clean up process.