Wedding

Wedding Roles and Responsibilities of Parents

Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018

After getting engaged it may seem as if your to-do list is already a mile high. With plenty to figure out after your partner pops the question, one of the first items on your list should be calling your mom, dad, and relatives to share your exciting news. Your family will be overjoyed to hear that the two of you are taking the next step and the best part is that you can enlist Mom and Dad to help guide you throughout your wedding journey. In fact, your parents will play a major role in making sure that everything goes smoothly before, during and after your big day. Before deciding on a date, selecting your wedding invitations and assembling your team of vendors, you should begin by assembling team Mom and Dad.

bride and groom holding letters that spell love

Preparing a checklist and determining who will be in charge of what, will help you stay organized and celebrate your start of together. From the small moments and decisions to the advice and irreplaceable guidance, your parents will definitely be a shoulder to lean on throughout your wedding journey and much more. Use our wedding guide and timeline of roles and responsibilities to answer all of your questions, ensure you follow proper etiquette, and most importantly, help everyone celebrate the magic of this special moment.

Whether you’re looking for wedding roles and responsibilities of parents before, during or after the ceremony, we have you covered. Scroll through our entire guide or quickly jump to a specific section below.

sweet moment between mother of the bride and her daughter at wedding

What are the Roles of Parents at a Wedding?

Traditionally, the parents of the bride and groom had very distinct responsibilities. The parents of the bride host the wedding and the reception while the parents of the groom are in charge of organizing the wedding rehearsal dinner, and the list goes on. Although, with it becoming more common for the modern bride and groom to plan and host their own wedding, it’s understandable that traditions are ever evolving.

As a parent or step-parent, your role in your son or daughter’s wedding day will vary depending on your relationship and your involvement in the big day. As we enter a generation with more casual guidelines, your part in their wedding day will be less dependent on your expectations and historic roles and more dependent on the couples’ needs and request for your help. Below, we have listed the traditional roles of parents at a wedding. Whether you follow them or adapt, make sure that everyone involved is on the same page as you establish roles and responsibilities. Doing so will help the two of you appreciate your parents’ gracious help and alleviate some of the wedding planning stress for everyone involved. The specific roles, duties and responsibilities are listed below.

mother of the bride helping bride get ready for her wedding day

Mother of The Bride Responsibilities

There are certain duties that the mother of the bride traditionally handles before, during and after your big day. Use our list of traditional roles below that Mom can accomplish with ease.

  • Act as the unofficial consultant for the bride and groom. The mother of the bride traditionally takes on the role of the unofficial consultant of her daughter’s big day. This role typically includes the following responsibilities: picking out and ordering wedding stationery, drafting wedding invitation wording, keeping record of acceptances and regrets, compiling names and addresses to add to the master guest list, as well as coordinating the details of the ceremony and reception.
  • Act as the liaison between the bride’s family and the groom’s. With so many big decisions to make and details to work out, it’s important to assign someone the role of keeping communication open between both the bride’s family and the groom’s. This will assure that everyone stays in the loop and no one feels left out.
  • Shopping support for the bride. Your wedding dress shopping is most likely one of the most important and sentimental shopping trips you may ever take. This trip is also going to be just as important and emotional for your mom who has been looking forward to this day since you were born. Her opinion may be one of the most valuable in the room. Whether you’re picking out your dress or need help selecting bridesmaid options, your mom will be elated to offer her help.
  • Have first pick of an outfit for the wedding. The mother of the bride usually has first pick of an outfit for the wedding. After selecting a certain color and style, that meets the specifications of the couple, she should then inform the mother of the groom so she can pick a similar style. This way, both of their outfits will complement each other nicely.
  • Help the bride get ready for the big day. The mother of the bride traditionally helps the bride get dressed for her big day. Having your mom in the room as you zip up your wedding dress and get your wedding make up done will not only allow you to feel rest assured that everything will go according to plan, but will also serve as a voice of opinion you trust and value. The mother of the bride should also set aside some time to get herself ready for the big day and then accompany the bridesmaids to the wedding venue.
  • During the ceremony, the mother of the bride sits to the left of the aisle. 
  • After the ceremony and before the reception, the mother of the bride stands in the receiving line to greet guests. In fact, she traditionally stands at the head of the line seeing as she is the hostess of the reception.
  • Take part in the parent dances of the night. After the bride and groom have their first dance, the mother of the bride may be asked to dance with the father of the bride (or other escort) during the “parent dance” sequence. She should also aim to share a dance with her new son-in-law.
  • Look after the organization of the wedding gifts during and after the wedding. The newlyweds will be sending out wedding thank you cards after their big day, so your help with keeping gifts and cards organized will be more helpful than ever.
  • Be a shoulder for the bride to lean on at any moment throughout the wedding planning, the wedding day and beyond. 
  • Remind the bride of just how beautiful she is, stay positive and encouraging. These are important and heartfelt items to remember all throughout the wedding planning.

father of the bride walking his daughter down the aisle

Father of The Bride Responsibilities

There are certain wedding roles and responsibilities that are customary for the father of the bride to take care of. Use the traditional roles below to assign big day duties to Dad.

  • Help the mother of the bride with all of the big day details. Although the father of the bride may have fewer responsibilities than the mother of the bride, that doesn’t mean that he can’t voice his opinion when it comes to things like scouting venues or setting up guest’s travel arrangements.
  • Be available to step in and save the day at any time. Since the father of the bride does traditionally have less responsibilities, this means that he should be available to step in and save the day if anything goes wrong.
  • Before the ceremony, the father of the bride should spend some time with his daughter and then he will accompany her to the wedding venue. 
  • Traditionally, the father of the bride will escort his daughter down the aisle during the ceremony. This signifies the bride’s father giving away his daughter to her new husband.
  • During the ceremony, the father of the bride sits to the left of the aisle with the mother of the bride.
  • After the ceremony and before the reception, the father of the bride stands in the receiving line next to the mother of the bride to greet guests.
  • During the reception, the father of the bride acts as the host. He greets guests, is responsible for making sure that supplies are fully stocked, gives a wedding toast to the couple and writes any last minute checks to the vendors.
  • The father of the bride also participates in the traditional father daughter dance. Before these two take the dance floor for this sweet moment, Dad may also take part in picking out the perfect father daughter first dance song.

Parents of The Bride Responsibilities

There are certain big day responsibilities that the parents of the bride take on together. Use this list to create your own unique wedding roles list.

  • After the engagement, the bride’s parents send out engagement announcements to the local newspaper. Along with helping the two of you inform your close friends and family, it is custom for the bride’s parents to inform the local newspaper of your engagement. If the groom’s parents don’t live in the same hometown, parent’s of the bride should also see if they would like the announcement to appear in their hometown as well.
  • Act as the host/hostess of the wedding and reception, arguably their most important role. Traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding ceremony and reception which is why they take on the role of host/hostess. This responsibility includes determining the final guest count, making guests feel welcomed and seeing that everything goes smoothly.
  • Oversee the closing of the reception. This comes with the role of host/hostess as well. The bride’s parents should be the last two to leave the reception to oversee the closing of the party and make sure the wedding gifts are taken to the newlywed’s home.

mother of the groom fixing her sons tux

Mother of The Groom Responsibilities

The mother of the groom will surely want to add her touch and offer advice when it comes to planning your wedding day. Allow her to give input and share in the planning process by assigning some of these traditional tasks that she can be helpful with.

  • After the engagement is announced, call the bride’s parents as soon as possible to congratulate and invite them for drinks or dinner to celebrate. 
  • Offer to help scout ceremony venues and ideal spots for the wedding reception. Just because the brides mother is helping out with this doesn’t mean that offering your help wouldn’t be a good idea. Kindly let the bride and groom know that you are hear to help wherever needed.
  • If the wedding ceremony is taking place in your hometown and the bride and groom live elsewhere then, you may be asked to take on the role of keeping in contact with the wedding professionals. 
  • Before the ceremony, consult with the bride’s mother on her wedding day outfit to make sure both of your choices complement each other. 
  • Plan on arriving fully dressed an hour before the wedding ceremony. 
  • During the ceremony, the mother of the groom sits on the right side of the aisle. 
  • After the ceremony and before the reception, the mother of the groom stands in the receiving line to greet guests.
  • The mother of the groom also participates in the traditional mother son dance. Before these two take the dance floor for this sweet moment, Mom may also take part in picking out the perfect mother son first dance song.

father of the groom helping son get ready for wedding day

Father of The Groom Responsibilities

Although the father of the groom’s responsibilities may seem to get overshadowed by the father of the bride’s roles, it is still important for Dad to support his son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law on their big day. Below are the most typical responsibilities of the father of the groom.

  • Help the mother of the groom with any of the wedding responsibilities that she may have taken charge on. 
  • The father of the groom may play a role in planning the bachelor party. 
  • Before the ceremony, offer to join your son and his groomsmen to get ready the morning of the wedding.
  • Plan on arriving fully dressed an hour before the wedding ceremony. 
  • During the ceremony, the father of the groom sits on the right side of the aisle with the mother of the groom. 
  • After the ceremony and before the reception, the father of the groom stands in the receiving line to greet guests. 
  • Take part in the parent dances of the night. The father of the groom should aim to have a dance with the mother of the groom and his new daughter-in-lawAfter the bride and groom have their first dance, the father of the groom may be asked to dance with the mother of the groom (or other escort) during the “parent dance” sequence. It will also make for a sweet moment for the father of the groom to share a dance with his new daughter-in-law.

Parents of The Groom Responsibilities

Traditionally, the groom’s parents take more of a back seat when it comes to planning the big day. Below is a list of the traditional wedding roles that the parents of the groom take on after the engagement.

  • If they have not yet met each other, it is the groom’s parents responsibility to reach out and introduce themselves to the bride’s parents. This is the perfect chance to share a formal congratulations and plan a visit.
  • Congratulate the bride-to-be with a warm and welcoming note. The purpose of this gesture is to share the magic of the moment and warmly welcome this special woman to your family.
  • Host an engagement party for the couple. Although it is not a requirement, this party serves as a wonderful way to get everyone together before the wedding festivities and cheers to forever.
  • Act as the host/hostess of the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, the groom’s parents organize and pay for the rehearsal dinner.
  • Help the groom pay for some of the wedding fees. Although it is not a requirement, the parents of the groom sometimes insist on helping out with some of the other financial obligations including the marriage license, flowers for the women of the wedding party, and clergy fees.
  • The parents of the groom are generally responsible for paying for the honeymoon.  

Along with the traditional tasks listed above, the parents of the bride and groom are responsible for giving appropriate advice to the newlyweds as well as showing their love and support. Having clear and concise responsibilities and keeping open communication between each party is a vital component to making this event one-of-a-kind and stress free for everyone involved.